Procrastination and how it affects our daily tasks

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Surely many of us at some point have had some conflict between what we think we have to do and what we actually do. Well, labor procrastination is understood a little bit like this. It would be like the tasks that are in my hands, that I have to do, and the fear that I face before doing them. One of the main characteristics is that it affects us on an emotional level, we accept tasks that are irrelevant but of immediate gratification, for others that produce negative emotions and we avoid them. It is also common for us to postpone tasks without having thought ‘how easy’ it may be or which feelings we get from starting that task.

‘We can say that procrastination is a matter of regulating emotions.‘

What are the reasons why this happens to us? 

It may have happened to us that we have postponed a task because at that moment we didn’t feel like doing it or because it didn’t create ‘good vibes’, even if it was an important task. The situation is that at some point we are going to have to fulfill our responsibilities anyway. If, for example, we feel anxious or stressed by the thought of doing it, when we return to it, that stress and anxiety will be increased. Even feelings of low self-esteem may come, so we can say that procrastination is a matter of regulation of emotions.

In addition, we must take into account our obligations, sometimes we are not motivated to do something that we are ought to do, either out of fear, insecurities or simply because we are not in tune with that task that needs to be done.

Why do some people procrastinate more than others?

The people who delay these tasks the most are usually people who prefer immediate reward, people who avoid short-term stress or anxiety. However, what is more common is that by continuing to delay that task, people experience more anxiety and more stress when it comes to dealing with it. It can be felt that the chosen task (the one with which important tasks are avoided) has ‘succeeded’ and that everything is going well. But in fact we keep avoiding what makes us experience negative emotions.

In addition, our personality influences whether we make important decisions or not and how we choose a task. Therefore, some of these aspects can be related to how we deal with the situations we encounter in the workplace. 

...we have this false belief that by working under pressure, we give our best…

Why do we feel bad about procrastinating and still do it?

Why do we not tolerate that discomfort? When do we start taking responsibility for what is happening to us? There are some studies that show that people who know they have to do something but don’t do it are often more anxious about the negative consequences they may have in deciding whether or not to do the task that causes them the discomfort.

Sometimes it can happen to us that we have this false belief that by working under pressure, we give the best of ourselves because we are afraid of not completing the task successfully. 

How to minimize these negative emotions:

First we must ask ourselves if that task is important or not. If we see that it is difficult to reach the goal, we can divide it into smaller tasks that are easier to get done.

Another measure proposed is to take small breaks at work, they are essential and they helps us relax our minds. This way we are able to have focus for a longer time and avoid distractions.

After all, it’s all about priorities, controlling emotions and sometimes knowing how to say ‘no’. If we do not control our negative emotions, we may end up having chronic procrastination. This happens to people who procrastinate, they can become involved in a circle and postpone tasks for fear of disappointment. However, they end up meeting the deadline, but the failure or fear and poor performance of the task is reflected in the task.

At Erudit we want to help you taking care of your workers in these challenging times, monitoring their levels of engagement, burn out and friction (without the need of applying a single survey) and finding ways to maintain a healthy and productive team of collaborators.

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