Procrastination can kill your productivity and cost your project money. It can happen for many reasons, even in a successful team. Sometimes employees feel that reaching a deadline is a foregone conclusion, and they can thus take it easy on the journey. Other times people simply prioritize incorrectly, leaving a major task for last when it should be done first. Whatever the reason, here are some ways you can keep your team from procrastinating.
The constant interruptions that occur throughout a typical workday lead to abandoned tasks and procrastination as people constantly shift from one priority to another. You can minimize procrastination by encouraging your team to minimize their distractions. This can include scheduling a block of time during the day to check email rather than trying to answer each message that comes in. If you use PM software that allows messages to be sent with different levels of priority, you can encourage the use of these priority flags as a way of letting others know how urgent a task is. Minimizing distractions means a greater focus on the task at hand, which reduces procrastination in getting it done.
Set Mini Goals
One of the reasons why a person procrastinates, to begin with, is because the final results of the project seem so distant, making the individual tasks that lead up to it feel irrelevant. You can combat this by providing mini goals that represent small achievements which your team can view as milestones. Many project management programs allow you to set goals and deliverables for your team; make sure to take advantage of this by providing some near-term goals to go with the long-term achievements. This gives your team a stronger feeling of accomplishment and helps keep them active and motivated. It also gives you a better feel for time management and efficiency within your project.
Schedule Regular Check-In Meetings
A weekly or semi-weekly check-in meeting can do wonders for communication and productivity. Schedule meetings between yourself and individual members of your team on a regular basis at a standard time so it is something you can both plan your schedule around. These one-on-one meetings should provide an opportunity to discuss upcoming deadlines, review ongoing tasks, and voice any concerns about either the project or productivity as a whole. They serve as a weekly chance to refocus on what is important and to both give and receive feedback. Doing this can help keep procrastination away and reenergize each team member.
Create Group Assignments
People are less likely to procrastinate when they have peers relying on them and pushing them in a positive manner. When you determine the workflow for your team, try to include multiple people on tasks that might normally see procrastination. This prevents one person from feeling isolated from the project and allows the teammates to feed off one another. This also increases accountability, since if one person procrastinates they are doing a direct disservice to the rest of the team. When doing this, make sure to chart out the workflow thoroughly using Celoxis web project management tools or a similar application. This cuts down on confusion and makes sure everybody is on the same page.
When confronting a procrastination problem, it is important to remember that most people don’t choose to procrastinate because they like it. If somebody is procrastinating, it is usually due to a problem of engagement or a lack of proper prioritization. In most cases, the problem is treatable as long as you identify the underlying reason for the procrastination. By doing this and following the tips outlined above, you should be able to increase team productivity and put everybody in the best possible position to thrive.