Time’s a-wasting

Stop procrastinating and get back to work

Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” It’s an adage that should be adopted as the unofficial slogan of the workplace-a catchall phrase used to encourage people to stop procrastinating and get down to business.

What’s behind procrastination? Simply put, people put things off because “they just don’t feel like doing them,” says Jeffrey J. Mayer, author of Time Management for Dummies (IDG Books Worldwide, $19.99). Mayer believes this is what allows many people to adopt a lackadaisical attitude and continuously shirk their responsibilities.

Tasks people are most likely to postpone are those they deem “no fun.” Unfortunately, work isn’t always fun. It’s just what has to be done. Getting the job done means keeping supervisors and customers happy.

Mayer offers a few tips to beat the procrastination slump and get busy:

  • Change your attitude. Don’t kid yourself by thinking that you “work better under pressure,” chides Mayer. Such a belief, more often than not, is really self-delusional. Changing your attitude is crucial to changing the way you work.
  • Set pre-deadlines. Instead of rushing at the last minute to get a job done by its given deadline, create an earlier one. This helps eliminate pressure, allows a margin for error and gives time for more thorough revisions.
  • Strive for excellence. “The goal is to have a great finished product, not a great first draft,” says Mayer. When you concentrate on producing an excellent product, you’ll be more inclined to do whatever it takes-including “starting a project with plenty of lead time”-to achieve that end.
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