Never put off until tomorrow …
Magazine Contact #26
What does procrastination mean?
Procrastination comes from the Latin and, literally translated, means “defer”. Or, as experts in this field like to call it: “procrastinitis”. Although you often hear people talking about “student syndrome”, many people are also affected in their professional lives. Putting off unpleasant tasks and busying yourself with something nicer is completely normal behaviour. Some people have taken this “putting off” so far that they can now only work productively with professional help. If you put off your own work again and again, this can damage the company in the long-term and cost you your job. Constant procrastination also damages your quality of life. Your thoughts wander to the tasks you have yet to complete and your guilty conscience rears its head. Procrastinators mainly begin their tasks much too late and under enormous time pressure. At the end, they are exhausted and the work was no fun at all.
These bad experiences are saved in our subconscious and, when the next task arises, we start to procrastinate again. It’s important to break out of this vicious circle, as it can lead to burn-out and depression. There are many ways of putting off your own work. Here, we’ll show you the various types of procrastinators and have compiled a selection of solutions to match.
What type of procrastinator am I?
- The temporary cleaning maniac
Temporary cleaning maniacs are normally only rarely disturbed by their own chaos. “Only rarely” meaning when there is a tedious task ahead. Suddenly, the desk has to be tidied up, you sort out the old folders and put the pens in the drawer, sorted by colour. At the end of the day, the workplace is clean but the tasks are still waiting to be completed.
Tip: Get organised: assess your planned tasks according to their importance with a points system. Start with the most important and then end your day with the less important ones
- The list-writer
Before the work begins, you have to write a to-do list. If necessary, this can be expanded for the whole week. Often, each task will have its own to-do list. At some point, the list-writer loses their overview and wastes valuable time in creating, searching for, and updating their lists.
Tip: Quality before quantity: instead of writing out every single unimportant point, write down the aim of the task. Fewer points on the to-do list means you have more of an overview.
- The multi-tasker
In principle, the multi-tasker never really puts off a task. They will just never be finished with it. The multi-tasker mostly has several jobs on the go and tries to work on them at the same time. This works out, to a greater or lesser extent, however some tasks will never be complete.
Tip: Keep a list which you divide into three parts: to-do, in progress and done. Write down your tasks in the area according to their current status. You will see how many tasks you have accomplished already, the ones you are working on now, and the ones which are still waiting to be completed.
- The social-media junkie
These are the people who are always online at any time of the day or night. Even during working hours, they are always checking their social media profile. In this case, there’s often not enough time to complete important tasks properly.
Tip: Write a not-to-do list: instead of just planning what you want to complete, you can create a list of things that you DON’T want to do today – browsing online, for example.