Procrastination in the Digital Industry
At SiteVisibility I always make the most of all of our internal and external training sessions so when they come up, I’m usually first to wave my hand in the air shouting me me me! Something brilliant about SiteVisibility is the R&D program in place and how they invest huge amounts of time into each employee giving us the chance to learn new skills both to help us in work and in our day to day lives.
Procrastination is an interesting topic and many of you may think, “I never procrastinate”. Well the answer to this is, yes you do. Everyone will procrastinate to some extent whether it is in work or out of work, you will always put something off because it isn’t necessarily what you want to do. A great example of this could be doing the washing up at home, I know for me this quite often happens as I would rather spend time outdoors being active with my fitness and having fun.
In the digital industry social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter often pose as easy ways to get side tracked away from doing the more important areas of work. Luckily, it’s not a massive problem here at SiteVisibility but I do know it happens in other work places and it can have a negative effect on company tasks.
So the question is… “What is procrastination and how do we avoid it from taking over our lives and better our time management?”
What is procrastination?
- Procrastination is a habit that anyone can pick up and generally means putting off or delaying an action to a later time
- Everyone will procrastinate from time to time whether it be in or out of work
Signs of procrastination
- Leaving things until the last minute – “This task should have been started a week ago, its due today”
- Busy being busy – “I’m just too busy doing not much at all”
- I’ll do it tomorrow – “Ahh, that can wait until tomorrow”
- Hope it will all go away – Sitting there thinking, “I hope this task goes away and leaves me alone, I’m just going to leave it and hope for the best”
- Put off making a decision – Important question comes in – “I’ll answer that later because I don’t quite know what to say back”
- Put off important tasks – “The other tasks are so much more fun”
- Wasting time – Looking through your photos on Facebook – “Oh, I was just checking out this really cool photo on Facebook”
- Lost opportunities – “We lost the deal because we didn’t act fast enough”
- Wasted time and effort – “We left it until the last minute and didn’t do a great job”
- Financial impact – “We didn’t meet our objectives and as a result we have lost the job”
- Stress – “I’m so stressed because I should have completed this task weeks ago”
- Guilt – “I feel so bad that I never achieved what I set out to achieve in the first place”
Reasons why we procrastinate
- Lack of motivation – “I’m not motivated enough to do this”
- Boredom –“But that is such a boring task”
- Lack of skill – “I’m not quite skilled enough to complete that task, I’m out of my comfort zone”
- Overwhelmed – “That is such a huge task, I just don’t know where to start”
- Poor time management – “My work load is just too much and I don’t really know what do with all of these tasks”
- Personal problems – “My girlfriend dumped me, I just want to look at her Facebook and wish I could get her back”
- Self-doubt – “I’m not good enough to do the job”
- Fear – “I’m scared of doing that task because I feel like I’m going to fail”
- Distractions – “Have you seen this video of the dancing dog who can do back flips whilst spinning plates on his paws”
- Perfectionism – “It’s not done yet, it isn’t up to a good enough standard so I need to spend 10 more hours perfecting it instead of doing that other task”
- Any one that says – “I don’t have time to do that”
A great comment from my procrastination training session was “Last week I didn’t get my friend a birthday card because I want to live on the edge” this is most definitely a sign of procrastination, but using comedy to showcase your issue with it.
Something interesting that I learnt from the day is that procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you can have good procrastination and this can benefit you because at the time you did have a lack of information which you may now have gained. This therefore means that your results were better and overall you did a better job.
Key strategies to beating procrastination
- How do these tasks fit into the bigger picture?
- How are we going to break down these tasks to get the job done?
- What is the most important task and therefore what needs to be completed first
- Write the tasks down and organise how you might get it complete in a timely manor
- Schedule time slots to get tasks complete on time
- Chunk up your time – This is called chunking, quite an interesting task management method to organise all of your important tasks
- Break tasks down into smaller more manageable tasks
- Delegate the work load to help you get the task complete
- Take things one step at a time
So I previously mentioned that procrastination is a habit and moving forward you should take these learning’s and create an action plan that reviews your progress and results.
The best way to beat procrastination is to just do it. You can do it and if you apply yourself you can achieve anything. I am a firm believer that if you want to achieve something in life you need to have a clear strategy to help you do so and using these techniques above you can actually shock yourself in how proactive you can actually be.
A great quote that I like to live by is “The world does not reward perfectionists; It rewards those that get things done”. Perfect when on the topic of procrastination!
On the training day we were shown some great free tools that can help you with busting procrastination especially if you are quite often working online throughout the day.
I would like to send a special thanks to @clareevans who spoke at our training day and helped us to understand procrastination and how to beat it. You can check out her website if you are also interested in learning more about procrastination.