The P Word

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on January 31, 2009 in: Project Management, Time Management Strategies

Let’s take a moment to talk about the dirtiest word in project management – the “P” word! – PROCRASTINATION.

In those everyday life management situations, procrastination is a common failing. New Years Resolutions (or any-time-of-year resolutions, for that matter) are delayed because of procrastination. New projects, unloved assignments, annoying chores… they all stack up because of it. Unfortunately, the world of business is not free from procrastination. Quite the opposite! People delay starting projects all the time. In fact, as a project manager, I’m brought in to situations that have often been pushed further and further back because of procrastination.

So, how do we solve it?

First, it’s important to know that procrastination is a symptom, not a cause. Identifying the cause of procrastination can help to end it. Are you procrastinating because you’re busy with so many other things? (In fact, it’s probably easy for many of us to say that we’re NOT procrastinating, we’re just too busy with other things!!!). Are you procrastinating because the project seems overwhelming? Are you procrastinating because the project is not really something you’re interested in doing?

Once you’ve identified the cause of procrastination, you need to address it. That seems obvious but it’s rarely done. Addressing that procrastination takes two forms:

1. Negating the reasons that you haven’t started. For example, if the project seems overwhelming, why not break it down into ridiculously minuscule chunks.

2. Starting. Yes, starting. Set aside 15 minutes and just begin. At the end of 15 minutes, stop. You might not have gotten very far but at least you’ve started and that helps to break the procrastination cycle.

Bonus Tip: If you’re wondering why you need to break down your project into ridiculously minuscule chunks here are two reasons: First, to create a list of tasks that are made up things that you might think “I’d be silly not do that right now”. (One example might be: “Move stapler to the table”). And second, to create several consecutive “wins” by accomplishing a bunch of easy tasks all at once.

Bonus Tip 2: I find two resources particularly helpful in order to track tasks and goals:

Wishing Best Success,

Heather Villa

Heather Recommends:

If you are a coach, freelancer, or entrepreneur who wants to succeed like a pro, I can help.

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