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There, I said it - "procrastination isn't always bad”

Posted by
30 Jul 2015
I'll be honest, I've been meaning to write this blog for a few days now and it got me thinking…what's stopped me from writing it? Why have I put it off? I've come to the conclusion that procrastination isn't always a bad thing.

I understand that procrastination is not something to be promoted in the workplace. Procrastination becomes a problem when it's not being used productively, for example, when you find yourself putting something off because you don't want to do it, or because you're afraid of doing it. In this instance it can result in missing deadlines and underperformance. This is not the type of procrastination that I am referring to.

What I'm trying to get at is that it is sometimes okay, even desirable, to procrastinate. If it's in the form prioritisation then it's a useful tool for time management. We can't do every single task right this minute. We have to purposefully put off less important tasks to make room for the ones that take priority.

So how can you tell if you're procrastinating in the career-limiting kind of way or if you're just prioritising? I guess it's all comes down to why and what are the consequences;

What are your reasons for procrastinating? Is it because other things are more important or are you actually putting off what needs to be done because it feels overwhelming, or you don't know where to start?

Is your quality of work slipping? Are you putting off important tasks and then finding yourself rushed to complete them on time? Are you failing to give your work the appropriate amount of attention?

It's important you ask yourself these questions; the outcome is what matters so you know your procrastination has gone too far and stumbled into "unproductive territory” when it leads to poor performance results.

If you're plagued by procrastination for all the wrong reasons and it's negatively impacting your work, try the following:

1. Learn to prioritise correctly - Evaluate each task based on importance and urgency

2. Break it down - If you're feeling overwhelmed with the size of a project and putting it off because you don't know where to start, break it down into bite-sized pieces. You'll be able to wrap your head around what needs to be done and you'll experience small successes along the way

3. Quit with the excuses
- People often say if they leave it until the last minute then the added pressure makes them focus and gives them a boost of energy & creativity. NO - stop making excuses! The fact is you could produce even better work given the time to think about what you're doing. No one enjoys working with the stress and anxiety of an impending deadline.
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