This blog is about procrastination (I’d have done it earlier but something else came up). Maybe a poor attempt at humor, but there is a factual basis for the statement. How many times can you think of when you had an unpleasant or difficult task to perform, and you found ‘reasons’ to put off that task?
Charles Dickens is quoted as having said: “Procrastination is the thief of time”.
This is similar to holding a mirror in front of our face hoping to see someone else’s reflection. We are all, at one time or another, more or less often, guilty of procrastinating. Maybe one of your associates walks past your office and stops to talk about something. Perhaps you see an interesting thing on the Internet and take the time then and there to review it. You may even shuffle that vexing matter to the bottom of the ‘stack of things’ to do; maybe you have even shuffled it to the bottom before. Maybe the chit chat at the coffee pot was particularly engaging this morning.
A blog on leaderchat.org laid out the steps one can take to overcome the issue of procrastination:
- Establish your objective.
- Define what you want to achieve in the order of importance of each task.
- Gather whatever information you will require in order to make a decision.
- Consider all the sensible options and then select the best of these.
- Finally, take action.
Getting payroll ready is a task that has a defined end date. There are steps that have to be taken sequentially in order to make that happen. You need specific information to complete the task. There are usually no options since there is one system to use, one date by which it needs to be done, and the usual elements of information such as hours worked, people placed, client positions filled, etc.
While this is a reasonably well-defined task, these same steps can be used in more free-form situations which might lack the definition of doing the payroll.
The more complicated the task, the more time it is likely to require. That might well suggest that this task be placed at the top of your ‘to do’ list since it will take more time to complete and you’ll likely need to be ‘fresher’ to get it done. You might also find that holding off on tasks you enjoy in order to complete the tasks that are more a burden works since you’re rewarding yourself for a job well done by having cleared a less desirable task from your list, and giving yourself the chance to go after a more enjoyable task. It may also stand to reason that the less enjoyable task could well be the more important task.
We usually know when we are procrastinating.
Procrastination once in a while may not be a bad thing, either. It is sort of the forbidden fruit thing, so long as it does not become a habit. Maybe we procrastinate occasionally by taking a walk and re-energizing ourselves. That can have a great effect on attitude.
And, finally, by thinking about procrastinating, we might also find that we are serving others as their excuse to procrastinate by stopping to chat. This is a beast that can be difficult to bring under control, but, as usual, simply concluding that you do procrastinate can go a long way toward curing yourself of the problem.