Overcoming a Procrastination Mindset in 2019

Dec 19, 2018

By Andrew Moore, Senior Audit Manager

According to Webster’s dictionary, to procrastinate is “to put off intentionally (or habitually) the doing of something that should be done”. The truth is most of us suffer from bouts of procrastination, especially regarding non-preferred tasks. In my experience working with audit clients over the years, I have observed that people tend to wait and do their harder tasks last, instead of diving in at the beginning. While this practice of procrastination may very well apply to other personal or work-related tasks, it definitely applies to tax and auditing activities, even in the face of impending deadlines and potential penalties.

As you set your goals for 2019, try incorporating some of the anti-procrastination tips presented in this article into your work routine. I think you’ll find overcoming procrastination to be important for any endeavor at work or at home. 

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Tackle the Hardest Tasks First!

During audits, I’ve noticed that less-complex areas, such as Cash, are typically done first, as it is the quickest and easiest item to check off your Audit To-Do list. Other more challenging, time-consuming areas are more apt to be completed in a “wait-and-then-rush” mode. The thing is, those difficult to-dos are always going to be there, and you will have to put in the time at some point. An advantage to doing the harder things first is it’s easier to get such tasks out of the way when there is no time crunch. In the audit world, from an accountant’s perspective, the harder tasks are the ones that generate more questions, so more time is needed to address and resolve them. 

Anti-Procrastination Tips

Below are some tips for easing the pain on both sides of the auditing equation:

  • Change your mindset to a more proactive one
  • Be organized, starting with the all-important to-do list
  • Allow time to plan and think about upcoming and future events
  • Have a good calendar, and put everything down, including “free” time
  • Schedule time to get things done (not just meetings) 
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, take baby steps (we’re all a work in progress!)

Delegation and Teamwork

Building good delegation and teamwork skills go a long way in combatting procrastination. The reason some people seem to procrastinate is simply because they try to do everything themselves, without delegation built into their work habits. If you’re a manager, it may be time to consider delegating some tasks, so you can get higher level stuff done more efficiently.

Personally, I have four kids; therefore, I can’t procrastinate too much! I rely on a strong wife at home and strong team members at work to assist with projects getting done. There is no room for slackers!

In a Nutshell

These days, everyone is scheduled to the max and it’s easy to put off less preferred tasks for later. It takes a concerted effort to accomplish what must get done early on to avoid last-minute-panic mode. However, once you switch gears into taking proactive steps and allowing the process to unfold with ample time, things will go a lot smoother.  

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