Countless psychological studies have been conducted into the area of procrastination. In continuing with our series on productivity, I thought it might be a good idea to delve into this issue as well.
One of the main contributors to procrastination is when we are presented with a task or activity we’re not terribly interested is doing, or perhaps are even afraid of. But take for example, if someone said, “Go into this room where there are stacks of $100 bills and take as many as you can carry”, I doubt many people would find procrastination to be much of an issue.
Instant gratification vs future pain
But, when we have a difficult conversation ahead with a colleague or a project which we’re not very excited about, we can find ourselves watching old America’s Funniest home videos on YouTube or doing mental gymnastics as to why today isn’t a good day for that talk with a colleague. We may feel better about ourselves in the short term but in the long term we think that once again we’ve given into procrastination.
When we do this, we’re simply making a trade-off between feeling better right now and feeling worse about ourselves in the future. Imagine someone eating way too much chocolate. It might feel awesome in the short term. Now imagine their future self from 10 years comes to visit and says, “Stop eating all that chocolate”! “I can’t fit into my clothes and I am at risk for diabetes!”
Welcome to the state of denial
There are other reasons for procrastination, such as denial. You have a toothache, you know that in all probability you have a cavity, and yet you’re in denial, so you procrastinate that visit to the dentist. This can be true at work as well. The numbers for that monthly report probably aren’t going to change now that the month is over but you’re in denial as to how could the sales possibly be so low. So you put off creating the sales report one day after another, hoping that the situation will miraculously change.
Don’t turn it into a hobby
True procrastination can indeed sometimes be fun. Instead of doing your work you watch some old TV show you used to love or look at the adorable picture of your kids on your phone. It’s ok to procrastinate now and again, but never turn it into a hobby, because then you are known as a procrastinator!
So far we our calendar app and CRM app have no built in function for procrastination but maybe we can add it to the features backlog!