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Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

We are all guilty of procrastinating from time to time—there’s always something more interesting than the work in hand. We usually think it’s no big deal since deadline is our biggest inspiration, and we do our best work when we’re inspired. We may even joke about it.

However, procrastination is a massive waste of time as it turns out.

A survey in 2015 found that on average, a person loses over 55 days per year procrastinating, wasting around 218 minutes every day on doing unimportant things.[1] Here’s the maths:

218 minutes/day x 365 = 79570 minutes = 55.3 days

That’s a lot of time wasted!

We must fight procrastination to its core.  And we can do this if we become more aware of ourselves and this bad habit called procrastination. Only then can we succeed to crush it and reach our goals.

5 Types of procrastination (and how to fix them)

There’re mainly 5 common reasons why people procrastinate. To help you identify the reason why you put things off easily, here’re 5 types of procrastination. Let’s see which one you find yourself more relatable to:

Type 1: The Perfectionist

    They are the ones who pay too much attention to the minor details. The perfectionist is afraid to start a task because they get stressed out about getting every detail right. They can also get stuck in the process even when they’ve started since they’re just too scared to move on.

    Advice for the Perfectionist:

    Instead of letting your obsession with details take up all your time, be clear about the purpose of your tasks and assign a time limit to each task.[2] This will force you to stay focused and finish your task within the time frame.

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    For example:

    If you’re going to write a report, be clear about the purpose of the report first.

    If the goal of having the report is to clearly present the changes in data over the past few months, don’t sweat too much about writing up a lot of dainty words; rather, focus more on the figures and charts. Just make sure the goal can be reached, and there’s really no need to work on things that don’t help you achieve the ultimate goal.

    Type 2: The Dreamer

      This is someone who enjoys making the ideal plan more than taking actions. They are highly creative, but find it hard to actually finish a task.

      Advice for the Dreamer

      To stop yourself from being carried away by your endless imagination, get your feet back on the ground by setting specific (and achievable) goals for each day based on the SMART framework. Set a goal and break down the plan into small tasks that you can take actions right away.[3]

      For example:

      If you dream about waking up earlier every day, set a clear goal about it – “In 3 weeks, I will wake up at 6:30am every day.”

      Then, break this goal down into smaller tasks:

      • From tonight onwards, I will go to sleep before 11:00pm.
        • Set alarm to remind me to go to sleep
        • Schedule earlier friends gathering so I can go to sleep early
      • For the 1st week, I will wake up at 7:30am even for non-working days
        • Go jogging or swimming in the morning for weekends

      … and the task list goes on.

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      Also, you should reflect on your progress while you work. Track your input and output for each task, so you can easily tell which tasks are only a waste of time with little importance.[4] This can help you focus on doing the things that bring positive results, which will improve productivity.

      Type 3: The Avoider

        The worrier are scared to take on tasks that they think they can’t manage. They would rather put off work than be judged by others when they end up making mistakes.

        Advice for the Avoider

        I know checking emails seems tempting, but don’t make answering emails the first thing on your to-do list.[5] More often than not, emails are unimportant. But they steal your time and mental energy before you even notice.

        Instead, focus on the worst first.[6] Spend your morning working on what you find the most challenging. This will give you a sense of achievement, and helps you build momentum for a productive day ahead.

        Try to break down your tasks into smaller sub-tasks. Understand how much time and energy is really needed for a given task. Make realistic calculations.

        For example:

        A 2000-word report does seem to take a lot of time and effort, it does seem scary to just start working on it. But is there anyway to break this down into smaller pieces so it’ll seem less scary? What about this:

        • Introduction: around 100 words (15 min)
        • Table of content (5 min)
        • Report on the financial status: a chart with 100 supporting text (20 min)
        • Case study: 3 cases based on the new business model with around 400 words each (around 40 min each)
        • Conclusion: around 800 words (30 min)

        Does it look a lot more easier now?

        Type 4: The Crisis-maker

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          Now the crisis-maker deliberately pushes back work until the last minute. They find deadlines (the crises) exciting, and believe that they work best when being forced to rush it.

          Advice for the Crisis-maker

          Being forced to rush the work will perform better is just an illusion because it actually leaves you no room for reviewing the work to make it better afterwards.

          If you always leave work until the last minute, try using the Pomodoro technique. Literally the ‘tomato technique’ developed by Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo.[7]

          It focuses on working in short, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break to recover and start over.

          For example:

          Use a timer and divide your complex work into small manageable sessions. In between the small sessions, give yourself a break to recover.

          While giving your brain a regular break can highly boost your performance by recharging your brain’s energy;[8] having completed the tasks earlier allows you to have plenty of time to go through your work again to make it even better.

          Type 5: The Busy Procrastinator

            This type of procrastinators are the fussy ones. They have trouble prioritizing tasks because they either have too many of them or refuse to work on what they see as unworthy of their effort. They don’t know how to choose the task that’s best for them and simply postpone making any decisions.[9]

            Advice for the Busy Procrastinator

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            You have to get your priorities straight. Important tasks should take priority over urgent ones because ‘urgent’ doesn’t always mean important.[10] You only have so much time and energy, and you don’t want to waste that on things that don’t matter.

            Identify the purpose of your task and the expected outcome. Important tasks are the ones that add value in the long run.

            Replying an email that’s written “please get back to me asap” seems to be urgent, but before you reply that email, think about how important it is compared to other tasks.

            For example:

            Imagine the email is sent by a client asking about the progress of a project and she wants you to reply her as soon as possible; at the same time you have another task about fixing the logistics problem that is affecting all the projects on hand. Which one should you handle first?

            The time cost for replying an email is as low as just around 5 minutes but the benefit is also very low because you’re just satisfying one client request. Fixing the logistic problem probably takes a lot more time but it’s also a lot more worth it because by fixing the problem, you’re saving all the projects on hands, benefiting the whole company.

            Beat procrastination now!

            You may notice most of the characteristics of procrastinators have to do with their mindset. People keep delaying work because of fear. This is exactly why tweaking our attitude towards work can help us stop procrastinating.

            Changing your mindset may seem a lot of work. But by doing the smallest things every day, you’re getting used to the way you handle works — from setting goals, to breaking down tasks, to evaluating each task’s values.

            There is no tomorrow when it comes to this particular habit.  You just have to beat it now!

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

            More by this author

            Leon Ho

            Founder & CEO of Lifehack

            If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can? How to Delegate Work Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide) Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone? How Journaling Can Improve Your Life The Lifehack Show Episode 7: Following Your Calling

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            Last Updated on September 18, 2019

            15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

            15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

            You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

            Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

            A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

            Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

            So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

            1. Purge Your Office

            De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

            Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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            Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

            2. Gather and Redistribute

            Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

            3. Establish Work “Zones”

            Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

            Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

            4. Close Proximity

            Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

            5. Get a Good Labeler

            Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

            6. Revise Your Filing System

            As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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            What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

            Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

            • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
            • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
            • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
            • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
            • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
            • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
            • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

            Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

            7. Clear off Your Desk

            Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

            If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

            8. Organize your Desktop

            Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

            Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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            Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

            9. Organize Your Drawers

            Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

            Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

            10. Separate Inboxes

            If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

            11. Clear Your Piles

            Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

            Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

            12. Sort Mails

            Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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            13. Assign Discard Dates

            You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

            Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

            14. Filter Your Emails

            Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

            When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

            Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

            15. Straighten Your Desk

            At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

            Bottom Line

            Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

            Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

            More Organizing Hacks

            Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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