Procrastination, the mother of all, ‘When is the deadline? [A week] Oh, no worries we still have 6 days left.” Or as Merriam-Webster puts it: to put off [voluntarily] intentionally the doing of something that should be done. According to Joseph Ferrari, Professor at DePaul University, the cost of procrastination for businesses in 2012 were $10,396 per employee. Info-graphic by Agil8 states that there are a number of factors working away behind the scenes in your subconscious, driving you towards procrastinating:
Rebelliousness – The assertion of one’s free will against an imposed task, refusing to be told what to do.
Timing – How long before the task is rewarded/punished.
Impulsiveness – When something more fun pops up, you can’t help but be distracted by it. [This can’t be true because our work in fun, right?]
Neurotic-ism – How unpleasant the task seems in itself.
Aversiveness – Worrying about a task or its outcome can delay working on it.
Furthermore, info-graphic reports what you can do to be counterproductive and stop procrastinating:
Change your perspective — instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a task, try to find something positive or worthwhile about it, rather than viewing it as a punitive chore.
Goal! — Set yourself sub-goals and progress checkpoints to chart your progress in an affirmative manner. But remember, keep them realistic.
A glass of juice a day, keeps you focused? — Researchers have purportedly found an association between poor self-regulation and the depletion of blood glucose levels.
Reduce the uncertainty around a task — our brains read uncertainty as danger.
Sprint! — Just like interval training, concentrated work in periodic sprints (e.g 2-3 weeks) can keep your mind focused on a task.
Buddy Up — peer monitoring can help to stop yourself and others from wasting time; try to keep one another motivated!
Establish fixed daily routines — [self-explanatory] include leisure periods.
Chop up a task into smaller assignments — this makes a task much more manageable and much less daunting.
Personally steps 2 and 8 helps me to overcome my procrastination, Goal! and Chop up a task into smaller assignments respectively.
Both are similar so I purge them into one and call it the List It method.
This method helps you to become self-authorize it means that listing gives more control over yourself to complete a task. It helps you to stay organized and stay focus on the task at hand. This method prioritize your subset goals in order to achieve the main goal.
If you need convincing then here are the list of reasons to make a list (whoa, listception):
Foremost, the most important aspect of listing is that it make your work more manageable. By organizing your goals with list you have a clear view and a defined path to follow which indeed leads you to achieving your task. Making a list lets you to create a plan and executing it will save time allocated to the main task.
Well, this is important for a Creative Manager as this helps to discover more creative ideas. By writing your executions and designs in a list form you become more open to ideas; it is like brainstorming but with a predefined subsets and definite executable.
There was a tip from my teachers and professor to help us remember the definitions and concept; which was to write them down on a piece of paper. By writing your tasks down, you’re subconsciously storing it in your memory. So when you’re taking a break it or done for the day, this will help you to remember what you need to accomplish when you get back on track; or, you could just look at the list.
Once, you finish a task on the list, what you do? Cross it off right. Well this sense of progression helps you to want to do the next step and cross it off. It’s like completing a mission and unlocking the next mission. Bonus point, if you can associate crossing off an item as your accomplishments; the brain releases dopamine and makes you happy and you motivate yourself to keep progressing. Hence, why these mobile games are so addictive because you’re awarded when completed a mission
There are many diversions when we starts doing tasks, one of my co-workers procrastinates by searching odd questions on Google like, ‘Why Giraffe neck is long?’ and divert his attention away from the work. Therefore, listing helps you to be more productive and efficient by prioritizing focus towards the task. If you start to divert just refer to the list and thus you will refocus your attention to the task at hand.
Let me know below in the comments, how you avoid procrastination?
If you’re procrastinating on starting a list well this rule will get you on track: 10-Minute Rule