How does procrastination affect my work life?

Many of us procrastinate once in a while at work but when we approach a work-life balance perspective, procrastination might lead to stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, mistakes, and errors in tasks. Here are some effective ways to help you deal with it!

When we approach a work-life balance perspective, procrastination might lead to stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, mistakes, and errors in tasks. As a result, we can end up working longer hours, with decreased productivity, motivation, and quality of work, thus having a hard time maintaining work-life balance. 

Peace of mind for your colleagues

Research shows that procrastination is often linked to lower levels of job performance, job satisfaction, and career development. A study of more than 20,000 individuals showed that high levels of procrastination are related to lower income, shorter durations of employment, and higher levels of unemployment. We can conclude that if we procrastinate over a long time, it can affect our lives negatively, causing time and financial loss for both the employee and the employer. It seems like there are many reasons to stop. 

How can we deal with procrastination at work?

Once you find the root cause, it becomes easier to figure out the relevant ways to reduce or stop procrastination. Here are some effective ways to help you deal with it. 

Start by making tasks and goals crystal clear

Lack of clarity in tasks and goals creates stress and tiredness. Defining what needs to be done by whom and when is a great step to have clarity. You can start by writing down what durations, deadlines, specific resources, and collaborators in tasks would be helpful. This would also enable you to plan your days. Also, having a to-do list would keep you organized and focused. 

writing a to-do list

Transform long-term into short-term

Studies show that people who procrastinate prefer easy-to-accomplish goals and focus on the short-term. It’s okay. Sometimes concentrating on large projects and long deadlines can be challenging. Try breaking large tasks into smaller ones. Small tasks might seem easier to accomplish and not overwhelming. Also, putting intermediate deadlines before the actual deadline might motivate you to proceed and help keep track of your progress. 

a calendar

In addition, consider rewarding yourself after completing a task on an intermediate deadline. Instant gratification with small rewards can motivate you to keep completing other ones. Make a contract with yourself like “Once I finish this report, I’ll grab an iced latte.”

Make your work more appealing

We tend to postpone unappealing or less enjoyable tasks. Try to make your tasks more appealing and enjoyable by working with your co-workers, listening to your favorite songs while working, adding scents to your workspace, and taking regular breaks. 

Working with friends

Arrange your work environment 

Sometimes there might be too many distractions, preventing you from concentrating on your tasks or making decisions. So, you might find yourself procrastinating. Try to eliminate distractions. An organized workspace with minimum visual and auditory stimuli would help you focus. Turning off notifications, blocking social media sites or apps during work hours, putting on headphones to block the noise, and finding a quiet place to work might be helpful. 

work desk

Practice self-compassion

Research shows that people who aren’t forgiving of their failures procrastinate more. Don’t blame yourself too much. Blaming or harsh inner criticism might consume your energy by occupying or overloading your mind. Instead, self-compassion and being kind to yourself can help you calm down and reduce procrastination. You can apply self-compassion meditations in daily life. 

These are simple but effective steps. There might be other ways you think will work for you. You can start one step at a time. Even a small step can help you progress. So let’s take that small step now, not later. The feeling of getting things done is much better than the feeling of “should have done.”

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