The Power of Procrastination, part 1 of 5

We all procrastinate. Fundamentally, procrastination is a decision one makes, consciously or unconsciously, to delay getting into action due to some underlying roadblock, diversion, fear or concern.

Some people are naturally starters while others are finishers. In either case, procrastination can cause problems. Persistent procrastination can drain one’s energy and result in nagging feelings of guilt, diminished self-confidence, missed opportunities and anxiety. 

Procrastination is common reason for performance problems in the workplace, and persistent procrastination can restrict one’s career progression or even pay raises. Moreover, the cumulative effect of procrastination on an individual and organization can negatively impact the bottom line, considering today’s fast paced business climate and the need to continually improve the organization’s products and services.
So, why do we procrastinate?

There are a number of reasons people procrastinate, and a person who procrastinates will do so for more than one reason. A few of the most common reasons are:

  • Stop-It!  - there are simply too many things on the agenda to do, so it’s hard to get started on any one of them. The thing to "start doing" is "stop doing something."
  • Task Complexity – the task seems daunting, and one doesn’t know where to begin.
  • Under-Developed Organizational Skillsthe skills required to plan and orchestrate the sequence of activities’ needed are absent.

  • Resentment about complying with the wishes of othersif it’s not one’s own idea or if the task is not a result of willing participation.
  • Perfectionism – afraid of making mistakes, hold unreasonably high standards, and being fearful they might not be met. Any thing worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well.
  • Time Crunch - the task will require the commitment of large blocks of time, and these are not easy to arrange.
  • Fear (Failure or Success) – either way, fear gets in the way of getting started and/or finished.
  • Here-Kitty-Kitty Syndrome (Diversions and Distractions) – focus and attention are difficult to sustain because the environment is not controlled.

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