We all procrastinate from time to time. That’s a fact of life. But can we afford to procrastinate on our jobs? Being late to a social event as a result of procrastinating is one thing, but what about being late to work? Or late to a meeting with important clients? The consequence of procrastinating in your personal life could result in the loss of your social engagements, however doing so in your professional life could result in you losing your livelihood. Why do we procrastinate at work? What are the benefits of completing our work assignments on time? How can we stop this harmful habit?
Work VS. Life
In my experience, balancing home life with our jobs is one of the main contributing factors of procrastination. There are so many important things that we need to prioritize in our lives: health, family, relationships, friendships the list can go on. Trying to balance our work and personal life takes tremendous effort on a daily basis. What do I mean? Take the priority list I mentioned. How many categories can you divide each of them into? How much time does each one take?
- Health: we need to find time each day to exercise, grocery shop for healthy food items and then cook them, we have to look after our emotional and spiritual health, find time to meditate, conduct our self examinations to be better individuals, etc.
- Family: if you have children, you have to find time to attend their games at school, meet with their teachers, help them study for tests, help with homework, cook dinners, prepare lunches, complete household chores, balance your budget, etc.
- Relationships: if you are married or have a significant other, you have to find time to communicate, have date nights, reconnect or get to know one another better, plan romantic activities, etc.
- Friendships: we need to find time to strengthen the bonds of our friendships, meet new friends, spend time with our neighbors, attend social events with friends, etc.
Where on earth do we find the time to accomplish all of this?? Keep in mind that approx. ten hours per day, five days per week, is spent at work including traveling to and from. I am sure we can all appreciate the reason why some days things feel as if they cannot get done. Besides the stresses of our personal lives, we also have to meet the demands of the workplace.
The main issue here is the guilt we feel when we put our job before other areas in life. Think about it, how many school performances or special occasions have you missed because you have to work overtime? To you, making extra money seems more important than another elementary school play with singing and dancing flowers (no offense to any school plays!) However, your child, spouse or friend that you have let down will not feel the same. In a previous post, I spoke about the negative effects of breaking promises, even when you do not see the seriousness in doing so. The more people we let down in pursuit of our job, the more stress we will experience. Also, when we don’t make time for ourselves and our health, this restricts our productivity at work and our performance level.
We feel so much better when we are able to accomplish the tasks we are assigned in all aspects of life. This is certainly a challenge. A challenge we need to accept and overcome because there are dangers of procrastinating at work.
Job Jeopardy – In The Office Or At Home
The dangers of procrastinating not only applies when we are at the office but also when we work from home. We may think that working from home would be easier but when talking to my friends that do work from home, this is not always the case. They agree that working from home requires more discipline as there are many distractions at home. Whether you work for yourself or are employed at an agency that allows you to work from home, you need to be aware of the pitfalls of procrastinating. Some of these procrastination traps was discussed in one of my latest posts found here.
To quickly recap the article, when we procrastinate at work, we can gain a poor reputation with our coworkers, employers, clients as well as the family and friends we let down. Other consequences include losing our drive to get ahead in our careers, not fulfilling our business goals or being unhappy when we aren’t promoted.
Working at home can also be challenging. If you are used to working in an office environment where there are rules, it may be difficult to set and follow your own work schedule. If your boss allows you to work from home, they may assume you are not putting in the set hours and take advantage of calling you at odd times throughout the day, and night. There is also the perception that when you work from home, especially if you work for yourself, that you have more “free” time than others. Family and friends may expect you to be flexible enough to pick up their children from school or pay a bill for them since you don’t have anyone to report to.
Discipline is essential if you work from home. The distractions leading to procrastination may be different from an office atmosphere, but they still have to be fought. Yes, you have more freedom regarding your work hours, days and location, but you have to balance your time more carefully. The lines of personal and professional may become blurred when you are conducting your professional business in your personal atmosphere. If you are not self-motivated, you may not accomplish everything on your agenda for that day. Think about it, you may have a quiet and separate space for your home office but will that stop the doorbell from ringing? The children from interrupting? The pets from playing? Or you may be tempted to catch up on the housework that is falling behind. Or maybe the house is too quiet after being used to the hustle and bustle of coworkers moving around. Whether we are at the office or at home, we will encounter diversions that will cause us to procrastinate.
Stop Procrastinating – Using Natural Oils
I know what you’re thinking: essential oils can do a lot of things but how can they help me stop procrastinating? The following oils that I have gotten from The Dreaming Earth are proven to help increase focus. I have mentioned the use of these products in other posts and find their website useful. They not only tell you what to use and sell the items, but they also have recipe blends that you can follow to benefit yourself. These oils can be diffused (using a diffuser) or diluted in lotion or massage oil.
- White Grapefruit
- Sweet Orange
- Bay Laurel
Below are some blends you can use that incorporates some of the above essential oils:
- 3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
2 drops Lemon Essential Oils
1 drop basil essential oil
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops grapefruit essential oil
2 drops cypress essential oil
- 1 drop each basil, rosemary and cypress essential oils
2 drops grapefruit essential oil
If working from home, you can try diffusing an oil or blend while working on a project. If you are at the office, you can place a little of the oil or blend on your wrist. Not only do these oils and blends help you focus they also help with memory recall. Doesn’t that sound good for that major presentation you have coming up?
Products from Amazon.com
End Procrastination and Start Being Proactive
Along with natural oils, there are other tips you can try out to stop procrastinating at work:
- Put pen to paper- write down your goals (or type them.) For most of us, we are visual and audio learners. Looking at something and even reading it out aloud helps us to remember what it is we want to achieve.
- Set a target date- if you have a project, give yourself a deadline and make that date and time visible. If we don’t have a cut off point, we may be tempted to put off our work assignment. Like any project, putting it off until the last minute results in stress and low quality work.
- Divide your goals- if you have a big project coming up, don’t try to do everything at once. Break up you assignment and schedule exactly when you will complete each task. Ensure your allotted time is feasible and if you work from home, make sure your work environment is free from unnecessary interruptions.
- Think about the end goal– visualize what you want to achieve. Picture yourself being promoted in your new corner office (or at least an office with a view!) When you can imagine yourself celebrating your success, it will make it easier to focus and you less likely to prolong completing your work.
- Think about the consequences- on the other hand, if you continue to procrastinate, think about the repercussions of failing to complete your assignments. It can cost you your job! If you develop a reputation of being unreliable, no one will want to work with you or help you when you need it. When you imagine yourself being fired, passed over for a promotion yet again or having to work long hours just to catch up on the work that should have been finished, you can utilize those fear for your benefit.
- Be accountable for your actions- in other words, don’t make excuses for not getting your work done. Acknowledge that it is your fault, work towards changing and do whatever it takes to do better next time. If you need help, either from your coworkers or your family if you work at home, let them know. You can get everyone together and inform them that you are under pressure and have a deadline to meet. Then work together to aside times when you will not be disturbed. Take advantage of any support system you can.
- Reward yourself- if you have a problem with stalling your tasks, when you do meet the deadlines you set yourself, reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or big, just something to motivate you to continue on your path of career success.
- Stop procrastinating today- don’t put off implementing these tips and natural oils. Begin right away. It may be difficult at first but it will get easier to manage your time and exercise self-discipline.
I have found a procrastination workshop resource by the Simon Fraser University that can be helpful for you. It is an excellent (and short) tool to help you identify why you procrastinate and give additional tips to help stop this unhealthy habit.
Let’s Get To Work!
There are so many benefits of stopping the procrastination habit at the workplace. Not only will you reduce stress, which can lead to absences from work due to sickness, but it also increases your productivity, office morale and your work commitment.
Remember, quitting isn’t always a bad thing!