Six reasons you may be putting off completing that important task.

We all have those times in our personal and working lives when the task that needs to be done the most just keep getting put on the backburner.

You know that little message your computer displays when it wants to restart after an update. It keeps popping up saying ‘would you like to restart now to complete the update’ but inevitably we hit the ‘remind me in 15 minutes’ button because there are other things to do.

We know that at some point that computer will have to restart no matter how many times we put it off.

Some will call it procrastination, some call it ‘putting off the inevitable’ and others may see it as being unorganised or lazy. Procrastination is not a disease but if you are a chronic procrastinator then it can affect your dreams, productivity and effectiveness and you should seek assistance.

For many of us though putting off tasks and postponing action can be symptomatic of underlying issues or fears we build around the task itself or perceived outcomes. In the workplace we can be seen as not being effective, good at our job or even incompetent. In the long term this can impact on how we enjoy our working life.

The next time you are putting off a task ask yourself why? Your answers may enlighten you.

I absolutely hate doing this. We all have those tasks that we just hate doing. Mine is typing up minutes and notes. I get agitated and restless when doing this and it inevitably takes me twice as long to get it done. Firstly look to see if is there a way of learning to do this more efficiently or is it a skill you can acquire. If not then ask yourself is it something that can be delegated, swapped with someone else in the office or outsourced?

It’s a really tough decision that I don’t want to make. If the decision is essential then drawing up a list of options and evaluating the pros and cons of each can help. Working through some contingency plans of the worst case scenarios can also help you feel prepared. If the decision has dire consequences then talk your reasoning or thinking through with a colleague or friend. Quite often the act of verbalisation can be effective in rationalising and sorting ideas.

I have no idea what im doing and now everybody will know. We all have these moments of panic when we are asked to go that extra mile or operate outside our comfort zones in the workplace. Try and look at these moments as learning opportunities and research or ask the experts for help. If you don’t want to be found wanting ask others their opinion on how they would handle it, telling them you are looking for innovative ways to work. If all else fails be honest and talk to your boss.

Wow this came out of the blue and I have better things to do. Whether you are an organised or unorganised person things can come out of the blue to test our resolve on a daily basis. Don’t get angry with the task it isn’t out to get you. Whether the task has been delegated to you or is a left field customer request you probably still need to see where it fits amongst your priorities. Being seen as unresponsive can be damaging.

That’s not my job! Quite often we get delegated or allocated tasks that we just don’t see as ‘my job’ or they are delegated because others are less efficient. These moments can breed resentment in the workplace, so don’t let it take over your thoughts. If it’s urgent, try and complete the task as required and book a time with your boss to look at alternative ways to skill up the team or better distribute the work.

It’s just not that important. Then there are the nice-to-do projects and tasks that we hang onto hoping to find a window of opportunity. If they aren’t essential to your job they are probably fogging your ability to prioritise and concentrate on important tasks objectively. Get them out of your field of view by dumping them metaphorically or literally into the bin.

So the next time you notice that task hanging around and not being completed, take it in both hands and ask “why why why am I avoiding you?”

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robert @ leadingforpurpose . com . au

Amplify Me Pty Ltd trading as

Leading For Purpose