Management Tips··5 min read

5 Steps to Overcome Procrastination in the Workplace

5 Steps to Overcome Procrastination in the Workplace

It’s no secret that most people struggle to avoid distractions. Here’s a quick look into why people are so easily sidetracked and how to overcome losing focus.

What is procrastination?

Before you can figure out how to stop procrastinating, it’s worth defining what the issue is in the first place.

Procrastination is when people delay or get distracted from something, sometimes up to the very last minute. Some people may end up procrastinating to the point of postponing tasks until past their deadline. The worst part is that there isn’t usually much benefit to putting things off, and there could even be consequences to delaying things that need to be done.

Unfortunately, it can be rather common in the workplace – and with so many distractions, it’s not hard to see why so many employees find it difficult to stay on track. Simply put, procrastination is the easy way out and sometimes, it’s difficult to even recognize that you’re wasting time.

There are some great tools out there, though. For example, making use of an application like Online Work Schedule Maker could be perfect if you feel that a little structure and organization will go a long way.

Why do people procrastinate at work?

One of the key reasons why many individuals procrastinate while working, even if they don’t intend to do so, boils down to the fact that it’s so easy to be entertained elsewhere. This is especially true when workers feel anxious and exhausted, which will often lead to a lack of motivation and a need for instant gratification.

On the plus side, for anybody who struggles with getting sidetracked (especially by meaningless things) is that there are usually many ways to encourage yourself to stop procrastinating. Here are just a few tips that you could implement to deal with overcoming procrastination:

  • In some cases, willpower will only get you so far. If you’re struggling to keep yourself motivated and focused, do your best to remove any distractions that may keep you from getting your work done
  • Try not to focus on perfection, as this can sometimes make a task seem far more complex and daunting than it needs to be – which will only make you more likely to find ways to procrastinate
  • Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just get right into it. Start by simply getting to work on your project and aim to keep your mind on the task at hand. Even if you only aim to focus on it for half an hour, that’s better than nothing

Looking for advice better suited to those looking for something useful on a professional level? There’s a lot that you could do. Remember, in many cases, procrastination is an issue of motivation and urgency – and you can use that knowledge to your advantage. Here are some more tips that organizations and managers may want to consider

  • Think about how tasks are assigned and how the current structure could be improved, such as introducing check-ins more often or splitting projects into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • Find ways to incentivise productivity and encourage employees to not just finish their work by the deadline, but even ahead of time to ensure that everything is taken care of without delay
  • On a similar note, make sure that each employee has a sense of responsibility for the tasks that they’ve been given. A good way to do this is to regularly ask about progress, especially for those who typically miss deadlines or hand in low-quality assignments at the last minute

Take a quick read of this post - eat your frog get more done with smart prioritization - for more ideas on how you could avoid delaying the things you need to get done.

What are the main causes of procrastination at the workplace?

So, what causes procrastination, specifically in the workplace? There are many things that can result in low productivity – a wide variety of which can be linked to personal issues, like fear of failure. However, there can be aspects at work that influence procrastination and it’s these things that could be the biggest challenge for employees.

  • If somebody feels overwhelmed with the work on their plate or even feels the need to perfect everything, they may be more likely to get distracted
  • Not having a clear idea of what needs to be done can be de-motivating, which will often result in employees being less likely to get their work done

As you can see, there are quite a few factors that can cause procrastination at work – but on the plus side, there are certainly ways to prevent it.

When it comes to a struggle with managing time, some managers may find that utilising a tool like Work Time Tracker will be a good option. Of course, there are many more great apps out there that could assist you in different ways, which only makes it easier to boost productivity in the workplace.

For anybody who’s interested in helping their employees to improve their focus and efficiency, could be an excellent read.

Five reasons why you should stop procrastinating

If you need any more encouragement to look into how to avoid procrastination, here are just 5 key reasons why it can be essential for pretty much anyone:

  1. Procrastination may provide short-term gratification, but this doesn’t really do anything good in the long run. Your time could be better spent later, on things that you enjoy
  2. Avoiding necessary tasks in the moment can lower your productivity and motivation, and hinder your ability to pursue and achieve your goals
  3. There are better ways to spend your time; from focusing on making the best of your work hours, to getting to enjoy your downtime and relax as you want without having the burden of work on your shoulders
  4. There are many better alternatives if you need a break; simply focusing on the task for a set amount of time and allocating even just 10 minutes to rest could be all you need to reset
  5. If you need any more reason to keep your mind focused, there are many people who feel down and depressed when they procrastinate – which certainly doesn’t benefit anyone.

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