A study just a few years ago found that the average employee spends around 2 hours a day engaging in non-work related activities. This could be logging into your Facebook and Twitter accounts, making multiple trips to the break room to make yourself a cup of coffee, or just spacing off. In all, procrastination costs companies around $10,000 a year per employee! That’s a lot of lost productivity! If you aren’t getting your work done on schedule, here 7 possible reasons for it, along with suggestions for overcoming the problem.
1. Your Time Management Skills Aren’t Up to Par
So you’ve got a project due next week. “That’s seven full days! No problem,” you say. Then seven turns to six as you spend the evenings watching Netflix, socializing, or working exclusively on secondary projects of lower priority. Still plenty of time. Then five days become four…and you still haven’t started or are woefully behind schedule. “Let’s not forget that I’ve got the weekend as well,” you tell yourself. As the deadline approaches, your stress levels increase and since it is now a rush job, it affects the quality of your work.
How to fix this: Develop a schedule and stick to it! If you have a relatively lengthy time frame in which to complete the task, pace yourself. For instance, select a 2-hour period each day in which you will dedicate yourself entirely to that particular assignment, don’t diverge and don’t try to justify putting it off.
2. You Are an Extreme Perfectionist
As you’re tackling a task, you expect to be satisfied with the outcome. However, if you’re too much of a perfectionist, this often means you won’t even get started until you are confident that it will turn out the way you expect. This problem is especially common if you’re working on something new or different from what you typically do. As a result of your concerns, you put off the work, which in the end will guarantee that the task doesn’t live up to your high standards.
How to fix this: It is important to accept that you might not achieve perfection. Go in with the mindset that you are doing your absolute best, and if you are sincerely putting in the effort you should never be disappointed with the outcome.
3. You Don’t Have the Right Skills or Knowledge For the Task
Whether you are a people pleaser who can’t say “no” to a project or are convinced that you can succeed in every task no matter the requirements, you will often find yourself in a situation where you’re way over your head. It’s obviously impossible to work on a project if you don’t know where to begin or lack the knowledge to complete it. Of course, once the deadline passes and you still haven’t finished the job or turn in something incomplete, your organization will not be very happy.
How to fix this: Chances are, your employer won’t give you a task if they aren’t certain you’re up to it. So don’t try to convince them otherwise. Be honest with yourself and understand what you are and aren’t capable of. Ask them for projects that are more suited to your skill set and experience. If you are looking to improve your abilities, offer to assist a more seasoned colleague and learn the ropes before taking on similar assignments yourself.
4. You Have a Fear of Failure
This problem is similar to the issue of perfectionism. You don’t want to hand in work that makes you look incompetent, and in the end it becomes a self-fulfilled prophesy when you finish the project at the last moment and it proves that you’re not up to the task.
How to fix it: Recognize that we all make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process throughout all stages of life. You might indeed find that your project needs improvement, but don’t see this as the end of the world. Accept whatever negative feedback your supervisor provides and use this as motivation to do better next time.
5. You Resent the Task
The issue in this case isn’t about your inability to handle the task, it’s that you’ve been given an assignment that you don’t want to do because you absolutely hate it. There could be many reasons for this, such as disliking the nature of the work, the topic, or the sense that it’s below your capabilities.
How to fix it: Don’t be a rebel! The last thing you want to do is sabotage things at the office and make life more difficult for the rest of the company. Communicate honestly with your supervisors and explain why you dislike the assignment. If possible, offer to do an alternative that you enjoy more. But let’s face it, from time to time we are all forced to do things that we don’t like; that’s just life. So if you have no choice, keep in mind that you’re getting paid to do it.
6. You Have Low Self-Esteem
This problem has less to do with the task and more to do with your psychological state. Believing that you aren’t good enough results in stress and depression. When you have an important job to do, you don’t need any distractions.
How to fix it: Gain confidence in yourself. Avoid negative thoughts. This doesn’t mean you have to imagine that life is nothing but sunshine and rainbows. But the truth is, if you are constantly finding reasons to prove you are unworthy of success, you are guaranteed to fail at your work.
7. You Lack the Energy
Constantly feeling tired is bound to have an adverse effect on your performance. If you are taking part in a major project that requires a clear mind and a great deal of effort, it will be impossible if you never have the energy.
How to fix it: There are several possibilities here. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating a proper diet? It might be necessary to make some lifestyle changes in order to boost your energy levels. If you have health concerns related to persistent fatigue, it might be time to consult a doctor.