Fanak Baarmand of Florida is an entrepreneur in the technology sector. In the following article, Fanak Baarmand discusses how business professionals can boost productivity and overcome procrastination for success in business.
From big corporations to entrepreneurial self-starters, businesses of all shapes and sizes lose countless work hours every year to procrastination. Even students and those hunting for jobs may fail to meet their obligations as countless small delays pile up into hours of lost productivity. What can they do?
Fanak Baarmand of Florida says that overcoming procrastination first necessitates self-awareness of which behaviors constitute unnecessary delays. Procrastinators must furthermore learn the causes of these behaviors and how to correct them as they arise. Then, they can further boost productivity by proactively preventing these postponements before they occur.
These three broad strategies comprise several smaller steps, each of which can be better understood by addressing the three core umbrella strategies one by one.
Gaining Self-Awareness of Procrastination
Dr. Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University tells the American Psychological Association that roughly 20% of individuals procrastinate chronically. This outranks the number of Americans suffering from chronic depression. However, Ferrari does not blame brain chemistry, nor does he follow suit with those who blame modern technology.
Instead, Ferrari blames procrastination on sheer maladjustment. While there might be some overlap between chronic procrastinators and those with various disorders such as OCD or ADHD, many simply deal with excess stress, laziness, complacency, poor time management, or ambivalence.
Fanak Baarmand explains that absent from the list are those who struggle with indecision or perfectionism. Ferrari defines procrastination not as a mere act of postponement, but rather a deliberate preference toward inaction. Fortunately, this means that those who don’t fall under the banner of chronic procrastinators can self-correct when they recognize procrastination behaviors such as:
- Prioritizing unimportant tasks over more urgent ones
- Repeatedly checking or refreshing their email inbox
- Taking excessive coffee or smoke breaks
- Delaying work to check social media
- Dismissing work altogether to binge YouTube videos
- Redefining inactivity as “achieving the right headspace”
- Making checklists and schedules yet never working through them
Correcting Procrastination When It Surfaces
Fanak Baarmand of Florida reports that although only one-fifth of the population procrastinates chronically, as many as 95% admit to doing it occasionally. In fact, a 2015 study cites procrastination as a leading motivation for watching cat videos. While the top 75% may combat their procrastination simply by identifying it for what it truly is, the remaining 20% will require deeper strategies.
First, they can try breaking larger projects into smaller tasks. One reason many procrastinators prioritize low-stakes tasks over greater obligations is so they can experience the pride of success without subjecting themselves to what they’ve falsely come to see as Sisyphean efforts. Checking off smaller goals exploits this mindset to achieve greater productivity.
Secondly, Fanak Baarmand of Florida explains that procrastinators can rework their postponement behaviors into rewards for a job well done. Instead of chronically binging dopamine, they can decide to save the caffeine, nicotine or social media until after crossing so many goals off their checklist. As they repeatedly bask in the glow of productivity, they may even find they go longer without needing a reward.
Overcoming Procrastination Before It Starts
While setting small goals can help boost productivity, true procrastinators may not perform at their best when flying by the seat of their pants. Proactively making a to-do list starts the day off on a productive note while preventing time lost due to indecision. It’s simply important to keep realistic expectations, so as not to succumb to negativity when goals go unmet.
Fanak Baarmand of Florida says that procrastinators should also block off certain times during which they choose to remain dedicated to their work. During these blocks of two or more hours, they should be sure to close unnecessary tabs and keep their phones on silent. Even spending a few hours at a time in a distraction-free workspace can prove wondrous in preventing delays in productivity.
Finally, it may help for these postponers to assign themselves an accountability buddy explains Fanak Baarmand. Ferrari estimates that 70% of his students who make excuses for not finishing an assignment are lying through their teeth. Being honest with someone when they find themselves distracted allows that person to get them back on track.
This can be seen as an external practice of the self-awareness principle. By practicing honesty upfront with both themselves and others when they catch themselves actively postponing their work, procrastinators save themselves the embarrassment of dishonestly masking their guilt later when their procrastination leaves vital obligations unfulfilled.
Fanak Baarmand says that procrastination can mean drastic personal and professional consequences for those who leave their behavior unchecked. With a little self-awareness and preparation, however, those prone to chronic procrastination can boost their productivity as they learn proper strategies and time management techniques to develop a distraction-free work ethic.