Streamline - Winter 2014 - (Page 11)
BY KENNY REYNOLDS,
PROCRASTINATION IS OFTEN defined as the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the "last
minute" before the deadline.
I'm sure we all catch ourselves procrastinating at times when doing complex, demanding or
stressful tasks. We may even find ourselves completing the tasks we enjoy doing first opposed to
tasks that we don't like in our day-to-day jobs.
Even occasional procrastination can lead to stress
in our lives, which can affect us not only on the
job, but also in our home life.
Procrastination by the leadership of a water
or wastewater system can often lead to problems
within its organization. When employees see
management procrastinating on issues within
the organization, they often see those issues as
of little importance, which can lead to poor production from all the team members.
For this reason, we as water and wastewater professionals must work to recognize and
minimize procrastination in our organization.
The rest of this article will be devoted to techniques that will hopefully help us refrain from
procrastinating and assist us in becoming more
effective at work.
Begin by making a list of everything that you
need to accomplish each day, including the tasks
that you dread doing. By keeping a list you can
see progress as you begin marking items off the
list that you have accomplished.
Mark Twain stated, "Eat a live frog first thing
in the morning and nothing worse will happen
to you the rest of the day."
Authors have often used this quote in book
titles and books on procrastination. Your "frog"
is your biggest, most important task, the one you
are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do
something about it. The idea is to tackle the task
you dread the most first and get it over with, and
everything else will be much simpler the rest of
the day. Most people also find this helps reduce
additional stress throughout the day.
When making this list, we may find that we
won't get everything done on our list. For this
reason, we must make sure that we prioritize
and that we are getting the most critical and
important tasks completed.
When assigned or tackling large projects that
sometimes appear overwhelming, it is often beneficial to break the project down into smaller sections. As you are able to complete these smaller
sections, you begin to feel a sense of accomplishment which will give you the encouragement to
complete the project.
We may also have a project that we don't have
all the necessary knowledge, skills, or time to
complete on our own. This is an opportunity to
ask for help and involve other team members.
To assist us in preventing procrastination,
we may have to limit distractions. In today's
world with electronic technology and cell phones,
which have improved production in many ways,
they have become a distraction in other ways.
Some professionals have found it necessary to
schedule a time each day to respond to calls
or email other than emergencies. It is easy for
these types of distractions to interrupt our train
of thought while working on complex projects
which eventually leads to putting them off to
With small projects or tasks, sometimes it's
best to do them as they arise. An example would
be to file the paperwork that we are bombarded
with. Too often we don't take those few minutes
to do that simple task and we place it in a stack,
which eventually becomes a mound of paperwork
and a monumental project.
We have all heard people say that they work
better under pressure, which may be because
they procrastinate and don't know any other way.
So as Mark Twain once stated, "The secret of
getting ahead is getting started." Hopefully, we
will all take this opportunity to evaluate these
techniques and see if we can use them to prevent
procrastination in our day-to-day profession.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2014
From the President: Three Years Later
From the Executive Director: Rattling About the Important Things
Water and Wastewater Systems
Regret: How to Live with What You Cannot Change
OSHA Compliance for Public Works
Nutrient Contamination and Source Water
USDA Rural Development
Cleared for Takeoff!
Emergency Tank Repair Prevention and Preparation
Virginia Offenders Train for Wastewater Treatment Jobs
2014-2015 Membership Directory
Throwing My Loop: Revelators
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Training Calendar
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/ Ad.com
Streamline - Winter 2014