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About procrastinators - rags and good fellows

At a meeting of procrastinators, the most important question is "How to deal with procrastination?"

The Internet is replete with the right thoughts of the right people: "Putting off difficult things makes them impossible," writer George Lorimer admonishes us with a stern face. "Do not wait. The right time will never come, ”echoes self-help guru Napoleon Hill. “Procrastination is what unsuccessful people often do. They know they have to do something, but they let their feelings take over, ”says entrepreneur Peter Jenner. This is how unsuccessful marginal obscurantists in rags are seen, sweetly indulging in the vice of procrastination. Something alien, however, is in this picture, is not it?

About procrastinators - rags and good fellows

Olga Zbarskaya

business coach, social psychologist

When we talk about procrastinators, most often you imagine the average “white collar”, on which from all sides one another urgent and more important tasks fly. Line manager, middle manager, freelancer - this is who you can most likely see procrastinating - and then only if you look closely: the manager will peer at the report grid on the monitor with a focused face, while his thoughts will be somewhere on the white beaches of Koh Samui; the leader will pretend to distribute instructions through the chat of his team, while he himself will drive "tanks" or read an opus about a fashionable vinyl; the freelancer will pretend that at the moment there is nothing more important than the dust accumulated on the desktop, and will grab a rag, just not to deal with a harmful client's project.

None of these heroes ended up in their careers just like that. The manager was entrusted with his work thanks to his education and improved skills, the manager was promoted because he knows how to produce the desired results, the freelancer became such because he knows how to show miracles of self-organization.

Procrastination is a disease of people who have something to procrastinate on... Busy, hardworking, efficient people.

Then why?..

Let's deal.

Procrastination is a voluntary delay in the implementation of the planned, despite the possible negative consequences... Simply put, it is putting off important and necessary things for later.

What negative consequences are we talking about? It is easy to imagine the deadline as the worst outcome - but procrastinators know how to get out: they hang for a long time, and then suddenly pull themselves together and do everything quickly. Maybe not excellently - but at a sufficient level.

The most common negative consequence is a rush and stress due to this rush. At a deeper level, only current operational work is done, and strategic, creative, from the category of "important - non-urgent" is often pushed back to infinity, and because of this it hinders the development of an employee.

It is believed that procrastination is inherent in those who are engaged in "not their own" business. Like, get motivated and forget about procrastination.

This is true, but only partially. Yet the ability to focus on a matter depends not only on the love of the matter, but also on discipline.

But still: Why do adults, conscious people, successful employees procrastinate? Understanding the reasons is important because inside these reasons lies, perhaps, the key to defeating procrastination.



In a world of universal workaholism the main reason for procrastination is, perhaps, fatigue. In the average organization, the average worker is overwhelmed. In the description of each first vacancy, one of the main requirements is the ability to work in multitasking mode. The 9-18 mode is not considered comme il faut: you need to come to work early in order to have time to do important things that require solitude and concentration, and how long have you heard of someone who leaves work at 18? Either the boss is sitting at work - and everyone, out of politeness, is sitting with him, or the flurry of tasks is such that, no matter what time you leave, you still can't change it.

The main reason for procrastination is fatigue.

People love to compete who has not been on vacation longer. Having 2 days off a week also became indecent. The conviction is growing among people that it is good to work for wear and tear, and it is a shame to rest.

But our body is a smart and cunning bastard. - Would you like to have a good rest? - as if he asks. - So, you will rest the way I thought of for you. - And includes procrastination.

So it turns out that for most workaholics, procrastination is almost the only way to take a breath. Well, how could it be otherwise? After all rest is essential to stay effective.

So my first tip for countering procrastination is to start by calculating how many hours your average work week is. And, if there are 55 or more of them, find a way to unload yourself, at least for a while. After all, procrastination is only the first, easiest, symptom of overwork. Further - burnout and, possibly, a hospital bed. Or dismissal due to loss of efficiency.



Another common cause of procrastination is fear. We are afraid of certain tasks, and therefore we subconsciously avoid them. At the same time, we can be afraid of different things: punishment in case of failure, high responsibility in case of success, heavy workload, inability to control everything ... A variation of this reason is the complexity of the task that we have undertaken to carry out. The task is scary, because it is difficult - you don't know which side to approach. There is only one outcome - procrastination. It's amazing, but ultimately that same fear becomes the engine that prompts us to pull ourselves together and still complete the task on time.

Fear is another common reason for procrastination

Fear, especially before work tasks, is an emotion that is ashamed to admit (“If I’m afraid of my job, then I’m unprofessional, it means I’m not in my place”). Procrastination is the mechanism that protects us from this unpleasant realization.

The recipe here is the development of the ability to track and identify your emotions, to understand their cause. Once you realize that you are procrastinating because the task scares you, you can work with it further.

It's okay to be intimidated by a challenge.

What exactly can be thought of as a recipe: to separate in a task what is understandable and easy from what is scary and incomprehensible. And understand what exactly causes anxiety. And figure out what you can do about this scary, what resources to attract: ask for help from a colleague, read a couple of articles or watch a webinar on an unfamiliar topic, break the scary task into smaller and less scary ones, ask the manager to delegate this part of the work to a more competent employee, or find yourself a mentor ...

Fear as a reason for procrastination also has the following meaning: it allows you not to chop off the shoulder, but during a forced procrastination pause, you should thoroughly think about all the risks. dreadful task and think about how to neutralize them.



Lack of meaning or misunderstanding of the value of a task is another common cause of procrastination. You understand that the goal is “not yours,” or that it is not clear to you, and you hang the task on the hook, preferring to do more meaningful and enjoyable things. As a result, the work is done, but not the same. People who don't like their job are procrastinating. Or they love, but some part of it is devoid of any meaning to them... So teachers who have released more than one medalist, instilled love for their subject in more than one hundred children, conducted countless interesting and useful lessons, desperately procrastinate at all sorts of paperwork.

There is only one recipe - to look for a business to your liking.. Or look for a component in your business that is valuable to you... So one of my acquaintances, a civil servant, filled up with a huge amount of all kinds of papers and dreaming of doing a great useful thing at the same time, learned to see the fate of a person behind every piece of paper.

Over the past year has been updated a subset of this reason is the unpredictability of the result. The pandemic has changed the world and crippled the economy. It became unclear which work tasks require our active participation and which ones would be better to postpone. And will the redoubled efforts that we have made now bear fruit.

And so: when you work, and it is not clear whether the result will be, procrastination also tends to flourish. Is there any sense in efforts that may not lead to results in the form of money and the need for our cause for others?

It is clear that the way to deal with this type of procrastination is by honestly talking to yourself or someone you trust. In this conversation, it is important to answer the questions:

· Do I love what I do?

How important is what I do to someone?

· What is the point of this for me, what value does it have? (and "money" is the wrong answer. Look for some moral values)

If it turns out that you are busy with something other than your own business, think about why you are still here? This unconscious choice is also about some kind of value.

And if there is no way to leave an unloved job, then here is another important question for you: what is still important, valuable and interesting that I can find in what I am doing now?


While I was preparing this material for you, I experienced bouts of procrastination twice. I love my procrastination and I understand: this is a signal for me carefully re-read the article and estimate how intelligibly it expresses my thoughts for you.

Love your procrastination and you. After all, it is not a disease, but a trick of our psyche, which helps to regulate those things that we, for some reason, do not want to recognize and realize. And don't forget that procrastination is a symptom of effective people.

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