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Anti-Procrastination Tips for Project Managers

written by: Regina Woodard • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 11/5/2010

Everyone procrastinates; it's something that can happen from time to time. However, when there is a project on a deadline and you (or your team) can't get it together, it may be time to light a fire. Here are some anti-procrastination tips to help project managers and their teams from losing sight

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    When Procrastination Attacks

    It is not unusual for people to procrastinate. It happens to the best of us, even when we don't want it to happen. Those things on our ToAnti-Procrastination Tips for Project Managers  Do list might seem tasking in themselves and we approach it as we would the plague. But more often than not procrastination can stop us from getting things done - and for a project manager, it is essential to get things done.

    But how does a project manager not only keep their team from pushing tasks to another day or another week, but keep themselves from slipping on tasks that should be done? This article will outline some common anti-procrastination tips in order to help both a project manager and his team.

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    Anti-Procrastination Tips

    So what is procrastination anyway? Basically, procrastination means putting off something that should be done, usually pushing an assignment to the last moment or waiting until you feel 'in the mood' to do it. Procrastinating is a bit of laziness of the part of everyone - it's looking at a task and wanting to do something else, usually something that holds a little more excitement than that of what they should be doing. It happens and the best way to start beating it is to be honest with yourself and admit that you're doing it.

    If you're a project manager, you may not only need to account for yourself, but that of your team members. Fighting your own difficulty in maintaining duties and tasks and then trying to get others to do the same may seem hard, but with help from each other, you can pull off these anti-procrastination tips.

    Lead by Example

    The best way to ensure that your team members aren't procrastinating is making sure you aren't procrastinating. For many employees, it is unreasonable to ask them to buckle down and get things done when you are off not doing your assigned tasks. Of course, if you are suffering from the same feelings they are, you will need to speak with your team members.

    Admit You're Procrastinating

    If an assigned task was due last week and hasn't gotten done by the second, discover why. Don't start pointing fingers - simply admit that the task wasn't done and find out why.

    Discover Why You're Procrastinating

    This is just as important as to admit that you're not doing what was supposed to be done. Often, the task that needs to be done is unpleasant or boring. Remember, procrastination stems from not wanting to do something in favor of doing something else, usually that's a lot more fun or exciting. If the project you're working on is a bit dull, try to find ways to make working on it fun. Schedule meetings with your team that are away from the office; sometimes even a change of scenery can do wonders.

    Perhaps some members of your team feel overwhelmed by the project itself. Try and breaking down tasks into smaller ones or try rotating tasks with members. Always make sure that if any member of the team is having issues that they can speak to the other team members or the project manager for help or even a small pep talk.

    Keep Organized

    Some people find procrastinating easy as they aren't organized within the task presented. If you're a project manager, get your team together to discuss ways in which to keep everyone on track. Many people find To Do lists helpful, others like having schedules. Find ways to keep your team and yourself engaged and organized.


    Employees enjoy being rewarded for their hard work, but even small rewards can rejuvenate someone who feels like they have been working forever on one task. If your team has met a deadline on time or early, treat them to something for a job well done. And treat yourself, too! Take everyone out to lunch one day or throw a party for just the team members; make a point to let everyone know that their hard work is appreciated.

    Overall, be aware, depending on the project or even the team member, procrastination will happen. Make sure the lines of communication are open in order to discuss ways to get back on track.

    Image content @ MorgueFile

Procrastination Resources and Strategies

Learn to analyze and address procrastination with this series of articles that provides tips and strategies to avoid it, examples of good delays, the connection to creativity and more.
  1. How to "Procrastination Proof" Your Next Project
  2. When Procrastination is Helpful: A Look at Some Examples
  3. Can Procrastination Help Improve Your Creativity?
  4. Procrastination at Work: Quotes that Rally Action and Make You Smile
  5. Anti-Procrastination Tips for Project Managers

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