Streamline - Winter 2014 - (Page 11)

Procrastination BY KENNY REYNOLDS, VRWA TRAINING SPECIALIST We as water and wastewater professionals must work to recognize and minimize procrastination in our organization. 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 another time. 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. 11

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
NRWA Summaries
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
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
VRWA Training Calendar
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Winter 2014