Project Management

Is Your Procrastination a Problem?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

I resolve to meet my deadlines.

So I have said many, many times in the past. Not always on New Year's Eve. Not every year, either. But usually shortly after missing one on a scale that can only be described as spectacular.

To be fair, that doesn't happen very often. It also happens far less frequently than it used to. Once I've decided to do something, and I've got a target to hit, I can usually be relied upon to deliver a quality result by that date.

The wording of that last sentence, it should be pointed out, is deliberate in the extreme. "A quality result" should not be confused with "what I intended," and occasionally not "what I promised." The result will be good. It will do the job. It may not, however, fully measure up to what I envisioned, expected or was initially striving for.

You may be able to relate to this. My experience is not uncommon. A lot of people have a complicated relationship with deadlines. They love them, they hate them and they occasionally miss them with wild abandon.

Why this should be is an important thing to understand. While there are several factors that I might offer, a significant one—and one that I would be remiss not to address—is procrastination.

Many view procrastination as a design flaw. Rather than buckling down and getting the work done, procrastinators put work …


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