Avoiding Procrastination in the Workplace

"Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator." – Joseph Ferrari, Professor of Psychology.

We’ve all been guilty of procrastinating in the workplace at some stage. Delaying, postponing or putting off a piece of work. This has become the cause of many problems for businesses, especially when important tasks that require immediate attention are being delayed.1 However, research has shown that only 20% of people are chronic procrastinators.2

Most of the time, people don’t want to or don’t plan to procrastinate, but can still find themselves caught up in this bad habit unknowingly.1

This can tend to happen at times when we’ve promised to deliver without the right planning, or if the activity isn’t purposeful.

At Impellam Group, we’ve found that the world of work is changing rapidly: the demographics of the workforce are shifting, and new generations are demanding work with more purpose and meaning. If workers have a sense of purpose, they feel more motivated to do their jobs and will therefore less likely procrastinate in the workplace.

Ways to overcome procrastination include1:

  • Starting your day with the difficult task, and tackle the tough obligations first rather than doing the minor tasks;

  • Becoming more self-aware – acknowledging the problem is the first step to overcoming the habit;

  • Letting go of perfectionism – perfectionistic tendencies tend to make you think the task is harder than it actually is.

Rory Vaden, a Self-Discipline Strategist, always refers to research that shows individual employees admit to wasting 2 hours a day on non-work tasks due to procrastination. Add up all the wasted time of your team and you’ll realise how much could have been accomplished if employees actually performed credible work during the hours they’re being paid to do their jobs.

According to The Irish Times, a 2013 study stated that managers need to be open minded and assess whether the company or team’s culture triggers this behaviour in employees. Managers should give regular feedback to employees and ensure that they have the right skills to do their job, and that they feel motivated.

As mentioned above, having a sense of purpose and feeling motivated in the workplace is key to delivering on the job. If you find yourself still delaying, putting off or generally daydreaming about the Game of Thrones ending – it might be time to look at the job you’re doing. Do you feel that your team has a sense of purpose and fulfilment in the workplace?

If you’re a manager, you can provide your employees with a sense of purpose by3:

  • Offering opportunities for self-development: members of your team will feel more valuable to your organisation, and to themselves, when they have opportunities to learn new skills.

  • Set clear goals: as a leader it’s your job to work with members of your team to set clear goals. Once you do that, make sure everyone knows what the team’s role is in reaching these goals.

  • Encourage team collaboration: make sure you ask everyone questions, listen to their answers, and implement their solutions where possible.

Our mission at Impellam Group is to provide fulfilment and a sense of purpose for our people, and we have put programmes and initiatives in place to assist our people track and deliver on their work promises, despite all of the distractions and procrastination that may arise. We also strive to work with customers who value engaged, fulfilled and purposeful people, as we help them build better businesses.

We’ve grown our network of engaged and motivated people and candidates - click here to get in touch to discuss how we can help you build a better business.


1   clarionledger.com
2   apa.org 
3   inc.com
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