Avoiding Procrastination as Project Manager

As a project manager you have probably encountered a few projects that you just don’t like working on. Perhaps it’s the nature of the impending project or it could be your mood or maybe even the time of year. When faced with a project you just don’t find interesting, it’s easy to put things off by making excuses, but procrastination is not the answer.

The more the tasks before us are delayed, the more difficult and daunting they become. In addition, these delays can create much more work in the long run. So the question is, how does a project manager get past this tendency to procrastinate?

One way is to set up a reward for yourself once the project is complete. Make a list of tasks that need to be accomplished then assign an appropriate reward for each one. Just be sure to actually reward yourself once the task has been finished.

It also helps to psyche yourself up to start working. Avoid postponing tasks and take action immediately when a new job arises. There may not be a right time to do it, so you sometimes have to create that right time in your own mind.

Once a task has been completed it’s important to quickly move on to the next one. Small breaks help with refocusing but they can also be a distraction. If you are easily distracted, it might pay to move on to the next job quickly.

In project management it is easy to over-commit yourself, compounding the problem. It’s not an easy thing to do, but sometimes you just have to say “no”. It is much easier to disappoint someone by not committing than to disappoint them by not delivering.

So if you find yourself putting off work that needs to be done, try some of these techniques and the next project you manage is sure to be more productive.

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  1. For me a great technique to avoid procrastination and boost my performance for some time is a do it now day. A day (or a few of them) when I don’t leave anything for later. Of course that’s possible as far as you don’t have one super-important time-consuming task, but most of us are able to apply this technique pretty often.

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