Not now, later! Many of us postpone a task once in a while at work. It’s normal, but what if it becomes habitual or constant? We frequently hear people say “I can’t stop procrastinating.” Procrastination has become a popular word in work life, so let’s explore it in detail.
Procrastination at work can be defined as postponing work-related tasks that should be done right away, without the intention of harming others or the organization. It is like a snooze button on tasks at work. It can come out in different ways such as delaying an important task and dealing with unimportant, less urgent, or more pleasurable ones, like gossiping and taking long breaks. Another form can be engaging in nonwork-related activities such as scrolling on social media, online shopping, and playing games during work hours. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It is not a mental health problem either. Yet it can affect our wellbeing and work performance. Both employees and companies can face high costs and losses due to delayed work.
Instead of getting the work done on time, what is the reason behind delaying it? Many of us may find ourselves asking what is keeping us from calling back that customer? Why do we keep cleaning our desks and deal with unimportant issues instead of a presentation due Monday? The reasons behind procrastination are often considered personality traits, stress, anxiety, lack of motivation, fear of failure, and self-regulation or self-discipline. Even though they can affect getting tasks done on time, procrastination at work may result from many other factors. It can be a mistake to attribute them to individual factors only. A reason can be the task itself, or its:
Besides the nature of the task, there may be organizational factors:
First, the root cause needs to be identified. It can be personal, non-personal, or both. After finding out the “why,” we can find how to end it and work more productively.