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Do you dally over work?
Radhieka Pandeya
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January 24, 2007

You're at work, sitting in front of the computer screen and you know you've got important work to finish. You have known for a few days now that this work has to be done and you assure yourself it'll be done today... but alas, at the end of the day, the work remains untouched.

This could be the story of many professionals. Procrastination is a personality trait common to many of us. But, sometimes, these acts of procrastination can grow into a problem that is referred to in clinical terms as chronic procrastination. 

Procrastination can be caused by several factors -- desire for perfection at work, laziness or lack of motivation. Perfectionists often are so obsessed with completing every job perfectly that they make a small task seem like a huge responsibility. In their quest for perfection, they are unable to finish the work assigned to them. 

On the other hand there are those who are simply lazy and keep delaying work or are just caught in the wrong job and prefer finishing the interesting work first. 

Procrastination may not be a problem as long as you eventually manage your work, but once it starts becoming a part of your personality, it can start harming your physical and mental health. 

Dr Divya Prasad, clinical psychologist, explains, "If work is left pending and this starts affecting other areas of your work and personal life, stress starts building up. Chronic procrastination can lead to high stress levels, low self-esteem and a feeling of helplessness." 

Sometimes procrastination is labelled as a clinical problem if it occurs along with an anxiety disorder like depression, phobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Procastination, however, mostly happens if you keep thinking about the task at hand instead of actually doing it. Dr Samir Parikh, psychologist,says, "A lot of people keep evaluating and worrying over the work they have to do and never get down to actually doing it. Procrastination can be tackled only when they first admit they have a problem and make a conscious effort to complete their work. They need to realise that their current strategy of addressing work is not working and that it needs to be changed." 

Chronic procrastinators also need to differentiate between work that is urgent and work that is essential. Often, all work is urgent but not necessarily essential. 

The trick is to set priorities and identify tasks that are central to the organisation and complete them first. You need to set realistic goals for yourself. It isn't a very good idea to be a perfectionist in procrastination.



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