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Effects of Procrastination in Project Management

written by: Regina Woodard • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 11/8/2010

Let's face it - everyone gets a little lazy. While having a 'lazy day' isn't bad if done sporadically, hitting a procrastination wall can have some serious and negative side effects. In this article, we look at the procrastination effects within project management.

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    What is Procrastination?

    Procrastination is essentially when we put off one subject in order to work on something else, usually something that is a bit more exciting and fun than that of what we should be doing.

    For everyone, from students to employees, procrastination can hit at a time when we should probably be working on something of Procrastination Effects importance. This isn't to say that people can't take a day or two to relax and recharge, but when we start putting off important tasks for days, weeks, months, and even years, it actually puts more stress and pressure in a quick hassle to get things done at the last moment.

    In this article, learn about procrastination effects and how waiting around for the last minute actually hurts employees in the long run.

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    Procrastination Effects

    Within project management, procrastination effects may be extremely detrimental, not only for the project manager and their team, but for the project they are working on and thus, for the company and the client they are working on. What kind of effects can procrastination have on project management?

    Morale

    Morale is how employees feel about their work, their co-workers, and their supervisors. When moral is high, work ethic increases and employees and will work harder, longer, and happier if they get the sense that things are going right. When morale is low, employees aren't going to be motivated to work, which can lead to them procrastinating on projects that should be getting done. This is especially worse if upper management is shown procrastinating as well.

    The best way to boost morale is to make sure that tasks are being worked on and getting done. Help to ensure that employees are keeping organized, as well making sure to reward them when they finish the project ahead or on schedule.

    Stress

    Putting things off for a later time can actually add stress to a situation, not remove it. If you procrastinate long enough, your work assignments begin to pile up until you now have several hours or weeks of work to do, sometimes in only a short amount of time. For some people, the adrenaline rush in waiting until the last moment can be exciting; unfortunately for others, this only heightens their already high stress levels, which can be detrimental on your health.

    It seems simple enough to try and get started on incoming projects as soon as possible. Many people find that to do lists and schedules help them maintain a hold on their paperwork and assignments.

    More Procrastination

    The underlying cause of procrastination is being forced to do something that we find boring or unpleasant, hence why we push it off in order to do something fun and exciting. The problem with this is that when we procrastinate in the first place and avoid the task at hand, we continue to avoid it, making it even more unpleasant than before.

    Again, just doing it is the easiest way to stop procrastination from starting. Try and make the project fun, especially when you know that it is a boring task. For project managers, try taking the project team out of the office in order to work. Sometimes a change of scenery is the best way to lighten up an unwanted task.

    Beating procrastination can be difficult, but it can also easily be stopped and even prevented. First, just admit that you (and your team) are procrastinating; then find out why. Is the project boring? Unpleasant? Stressful? Different people will have different reasons, so it's important to implement strategies that will work for everyone.

    Image content @ MorgueFile



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