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How to Help Procrastinating Team Members Stay Focused

Keeping a team focused during project-based work can be tough; a looming deadline will sharpen most minds, but no-one really wants to spend their professional life running to make one deadline or another. Plus, delivering projects up to standard, before time (and preferably under budget) is just good business practice if you intend to build a stellar reputation. For this reason, learning how to motivate a procrastinating team member is absolutely key. Of course, with COVID keeping many office workers at home, team management and motivation have become more difficult for many small to medium businesses because they must be done remotely.

Preventing and Tackling Procrastination

The stress of climate changes, the COVID pandemic, lockdown restrictions, and remote life can all be very exhausting; in the face of such overwhelming changes, it's hard not to slow down and lose focus. If you are worried about procrastination in your workforce, there are some simple things you can do to motivate your team.

1. Arrange Personal Check-In Meetings

Times like these can be stressful for your team, especially if they have a family to take care of, so arranging regular one-on-one welfare and stress checks with your staff can be incredibly helpful. Not only will this make them feel heard and cared for, but you are likely to become aware of situations before they cause a problem for your business as a whole. Such meetings can also give your team time to clarify goals and procedures without in a private setting where they feel less judged by colleagues. In fact, these meetings are so helpful when it comes to creating a culture of productive positivity, that you should really consider continuing to offer during a crisis.

2. Break Down Large Projects

Incredibly large projects can feel daunting for anyone; just like an overfilled plate, a hugely complex job can leave people wondering where to begin (and how they will ever finish) so breaking it down into smaller goals and deadlines can stave off panic procrastination. For example, if you are beginning to work on an entirely new building project, breaking the process down into the design, planning, application, and construction phases can help you and your team stay on task by minimizing distractions.

3. Be Smart About Assigning Tasks

Delegation is all about knowing your team and their skills. When you assign specific tasks, be sure to think about which team members have the right skills and outlook to take on the job. For example, if you need someone to oversee the applications for planning and zoning permits you should choose someone with strong organizational skills and a good memory as they may need to repeatedly follow-up with permit providers. Assigning a task to someone who does not have the right skills or experience could lead to them procrastinating to deal with stress, or missing a deadline because they take longer to get the job done.

4. Share Team Achievements

Morale is all-important when it comes to maintaining motivation; a team project requires teamwork, and keeping a group of people focussed is much easier when they feel good about what they are doing. Share the victories and achievements of team members who meet their goals with the whole team and use such moments as a chance to praise the group as a whole. By making your team feel successful and appreciated, you help them to feel good about their work and stay on track.

Preventing procrastination in a team of employees may be challenging, but if you make the work ahead seem manageable, communicate well on individual and group levels, delegate the right tasks to the right people, and give credit where it's due, you're sure to find that your team becomes more positive and productive in the long-run.


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