Have you ever had to do something that is really important, but you keep telling yourself that you will do it later? Then that later turns into tomorrow and tomorrow becomes next week? Well, that is called procrastinating. Procrastination is a complex behaviour with many possible causes, which include but not limited to laziness, stress, being overwhelmed, lack of motivation or discipline, poor time management techniques, lack of skill, and perfectionism. And it is a poor habit to acquire. Procrastinating also happens to employees in different workplaces and even to bosses too. David Asifiwe, an employee at Homeland Language services says that for someone like him who works night shifts, he sometimes has assigned work to do but gets lazy and loses the courage to do anything so he saves it for later. “When later comes, I shift it to another day and it really gets into my workspace. In the end, I get to have a lot to do and on pressure. For me, procrastination happens quite a lot, though I have come to find a solution for it,” he says. Ornella Umuhoza an employee at I&M Bank says that procrastinating became a habit that was hard to quit for a while. “I used to procrastinate a lot, I would have tons of work to do and save it for later because of lack of motivation. I would then scroll through Instagram, chat with friends, basically things that are not important. It was really a very bad habit because I would always end up with many things to do at the last minute. I would then have a lot of stress and work poorly, I was ruining my reputation in my workplace and people started thinking that I was not serious, that is when I decided to change before it was late,” she shares. Lydia Ineza a graphic designer at Creaxion Rwanda says that it doesn’t have to be someone lazy or less active to procrastinate, anyone can do so. “I am a very hyperactive person, I want to do my work earlier and take everything out of the way, but I do procrastinate sometimes and as someone who is required to be creative every time, I also lose some motivation and inspiration. So I end up telling myself I will do the work tomorrow or later. At the time, I feel as though it is what is effective for me but it really is not,” she says. How to overcome the habit of procrastination Willy Shema the founder of Ishema foundation says that creating a safe and motivating environment at work to avoid any kind of anxiety, will help with quitting the habit. “Your workplace shouldn’t be a place where you don’t want to spend time, it should rather be a place where you feel motivated and supported to do and become more. Remember, time will never be enough until you learn to utilise the time you have optimally to be efficient and effective at work,” he advises. According to Shema, this is how you can avoid procrastinating: Avoid overloading yourself with many tasks under the pressure of deadlines. The more you’re overloaded, the more nervous you get and you may end up losing control. It is better to be realistic while making your work plan and your to-do list. Write down your deadlines, prioritise your tasks, and stay organised, focused, and honest with yourself and others. Asifiwe says that whenever he starts to feel distracted and wants to save his work for later, he takes time for a short break and goes out for fresh air then comes back to his work. Or he listens to music and makes sure to put his phone aside and plan his work ahead to be well organised. According to the KnowledgeWave blog, these are strategies to overcome procrastination in the workplace on a personal level: Start with it. Dedicate the first 30 or so minutes of work time to doing that work without any distraction or interruption, even from work-related tasks. Make a date. Expand the starting process to encompass larger, concretely defined work sessions. Instead of setting vague goals that you can push back without a thought, start scheduling important tasks for non-negotiable windows of time that you must show up for, just like when you agree to meet a person. Be more self-aware. Try to become cognisant of your procrastination process, which may involve either difficulty in starting a task or difficulty in staying focused on a task. Eliminate distractions. Willpower is a limited resource, and it can be depleted like any other form of energy. Resisting temptation takes effort that makes you more susceptible to procrastinating later in the day. Be satisfied with imperfection. Learn to let go of perfectionism tendencies that render a task more difficult than it needs to be. If a project is so intimidating that you don’t want to begin, start it anyway and write whatever first comes to mind. Change the way you think about doing work. If you can’t be effective using your current process, then maybe it’s time to try something different. Alter your thought process.