What Can An IT Manager Do To Fight Procrastination?

Procrastination can be the one thing that holds an IT manager back
Procrastination can be the one thing that holds an IT manager back
Image Credit: Emilie Ogez

Just about every IT manager that I know feels as though they have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it no matter how good their IT manager skills are. What this means is that we are always struggling to get everything that we need to get done done. As though this was not hard enough, it turns out that a lot of us have a problem with procrastination. Yep, we put off what we really should be working on.

Just Exactly Is Procrastination?

As with all such things these days, we can go ask the folks over at Wikipedia just exactly what procrastination is. What they would tell us is that it is “… is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the “last minute” before a deadline.” Ouch – does this strike a chord with you?

So this brings up a very important question that we IT managers need to be able to find an answer to. Just exactly why do we engage in procrastination? Our IT manager training never dealt with this issue. It turns out that the answer to this question is pretty simple: the tasks that we are putting off are either very large or they are very difficult to do. We stand before these tasks, look at them, and then we start searching for something else to do instead!

We weren’t always procrastinators. Back in the day when we had a bit more time on our hands, when we actually had a chance to get the things that we needed to do done, we were not procrastinators. The reason for this is because we knew that we eventually had to do everything that was on our plate. However, now that we know that we won’t be able to get everything done, it has become much easier for us to pick and choose what we will be working on. Somehow, the really big and really scary projects just don’t seem to be getting the attention that they should be.

How Can IT Managers Deal With Procrastination?

If we can agree that procrastination is a problem, then we can have a discussion about just what you can do about trying to tackle this problem. You are going to have to find a solution because the work that you have been putting off is important work that needs to be done. It would be far better for you to get credit for completing this work than get yelled at for not starting it!

A number of studies have been done about the best way to deal with the problem of procrastination. What that all seem to be saying is that this is a problem that you can only solve by taking the bull by the horns. What this means is that you need to establish clear rules for what you’ll be doing and when you’ll be doing it.

When you have a set of clear rules that you are supposed to be following, it makes life much simpler. There is really no doubt as to if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing or not. When we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing we end up feeling bad. Just to make it a little bit easier to overcome your procrastination, tell your friends and family members what you are trying to do and allow them to help you to stay on the path.

What All Of This Means For You

Between working on IT team building and dealing with too many projects, there never seems to be enough hours in the day for any of us to accomplish everything that we need to do. Unfortunately we more often than not find that we are also battling procrastination and these two forces can combine to make sure that we just keep falling farther and farther behind.

Procrastination does not mean that we don’t know what we are supposed to be doing. In fact the opposite is true – we are very aware of exactly what we should be working on. However, we are not able to find the time to get started on it. What we need to do in order to solve this problem is to map out time that we dedicate to tackling the task that we know that we need to do.

Procrastination is something that can sneak up on us. We know that we’re not making any progress on a task that has been assigned to us, until we recognize that we’re putting it off we won’t be able to make any forward progress. The good news about procrastination is that once you realize that you are dealing with it, you can overcome it. Take a look at your current situation and if it turns out that you are struggling with procrastination, then do something about it!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: In order to overcome your procrastination do you think it might be helpful to get someone to help hold you accountable to your schedule?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Managing a team is not an easy thing to do even if you have the required IT manager skills. If you add in the challenges of the modern IT work environment, it gets even harder to do no matter how much IT manager training you have had. All of the members of our team may not be located in one place, we may be called on to do a great deal of traveling, etc. All of a sudden working with the people who are on our team very quickly starts to become a IT team building challenge and a logistical nightmare.