Procrastination (from Latin’s “procrastinare“, that translates in to: the prefix pro-, ‘forward’, and suffix –crastinus, ’till next day’ from cras, ‘tomorrow’) is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline. Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of life—putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment or broaching a stressful issue with a partner. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.
We are all guilty of procrastinating at some point or other; no one is a stranger to it, right? Some of us might be lucky enough to identify it in time and still do something about it. Unfortunately for others, it steals dreams and can even destroy lives. The reason people procrastinate varies from person to person and is not always obvious. Sometimes it is a hidden fear that people don’t want to acknowledge, or it could even be as simple as not wanting to do something because it just doesn’t motivate us. Whatever the reason may be, procrastination has far more damaging effects than you may realize.
As a leader, the traits or habits of procrastination needs to be dealt with in order to avoid the following damaging effects.
A leader engages in procrastination wastes the time of himself and his followers. The time allotted to fulfilling a particular task, duties or assignment would be squandered on frivolities and thus wasting the overall time frame of the organization in producing effective results.
How many opportunities have you wasted because you didn’t take advantage of them when they were there? This is when you really want to kick yourself. What people don’t realize is that the opportunity could have been life changing, but you missed out on it. Most opportunities only come around once; you are never guaranteed at chance. Opportunities are the world’s way of giving you more, do yourself a favor and grab them with both hands! A leader who procrastinate loses opportunities which would have moved the team forward.
Procrastination seems to come on with full force when we entertain the thought of goals, of wanting to achieve or change something. One might have a strong desire to change, but you just can’t seem to take the first step forward. This is normally really confusing and perplexing; you might find yourself thinking, “Why is it so hard to go for something that I want so badly?” Only you can answer that; you’ll have to explore a little deeper into the resistance.
The way you work directly affects your results, how much you achieve and how well you perform. Perhaps procrastination prevents you from meeting deadlines or achieving your monthly targets. What consequence will this eventually have on your career? You might miss out on promotions or worse; you might even be at risk of losing your job. You can try to hide it for a while, but don’t doubt that long-term procrastination at work will almost certainly ruin your career. Don’t undermine your own performance unnecessarily.
Having low self-esteem destroys lives in many ways. When we have low self-esteem we hold ourselves back, we feel less than we should and it leads to self-sabotaging acts. Procrastination eats away at your confidence, slowly but surely. If this resonates with you, focus on building your self-esteem instead of holding on to the illusion that you should be able to do something, as this makes you force yourself when you are not ready. A procrastinating leader have low self-esteem in evaluation of himself.
When you procrastinate and make decisions from this standpoint, they are almost always going to be poor decisions because of the place you are coming from. When you procrastinate, you make decisions based on criteria that most likely wouldn’t be there if you didn’t procrastinate, like pressure to finally make a decision because time is running out. Emotions heavily influence the decisions we make and procrastination affects how we feel to a large degree. Poor decision making has huge negative effects on our happiness, results and life.
When you keep saying you will do something and you don’t, your reputation inevitably gets tarnished as a leader. Nobody wants empty promises. Besides damaging your own reputation, you are damaging your self-esteem and self-confidence. You will find that it gets easier to procrastinate each time because you are not surprising yourself anymore. People could stop depending on you and hold back on offering you opportunities because they could be worried that you will simply procrastinate and they will be left to clean up the mess. A bad reputation has multiple, underlying negative effects.
Procrastination is linked to stress and anxiety, and these in turn are linked to health issues. If your procrastination leads to feelings of depression, over time this depression will start to affect other areas of your life. If you procrastinate too much with something, it will most likely start to stress you out and cause anxiety, especially when other people or things are involved. Studies show us more and more how damaging stress and anxiety are for us, with stress being the silent killer.
II. SOLUTIONS TO PROCRASTINATION