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PD Certification

Conquering Procrastination

Procrastination Is a Major Culprit for Project Failures

Procrastination is a critical problem. A report on December 2013 stated some very alarming statistics that serious project managers or directors must take note if they want health across their project landscapes. How bad did the data look? How about 95% of the populations procrastinate at times and 26% of them are chronic malefactors? Therefore to steer projects clear of this serious malady, effective antitoxins must be administered.

Potential Offenders Need to be Immunized with a Proper Counteragent

Since procrastination is a common disease, project leaders must have an end-to-end plan to nullify any chance of its eruption throughout their projects’ life cycles. In other words, an effective remedy must be established at project initiation phase to safeguard a project from this illness. The key success factor is to detect these potential offenders before the project starts and schedule to inoculate them with proper antivenin at appropriate times along a project’s life cycle.

IDOLS Is Our Neutralizer to Counteract Procrastination

There are five pivotal devices, collectively called IDOLS, made up of procrastinator identification, task division, reaffirming obligation, reminder lineup, and action stimulation that are key agents to counter persistent deferments. These IDOLS methods can be blended into a project’s five project management process groups to fight procrastination in a project’s life cycle. Let us illustrate how this feat can be accomplished by these mechanisms (Identify, Divide, Oblige, Line up, Stimulate) below.

  • Identify procrastinators in project initiation phase: Astute project officers must interview functional managers, executives, team members, and all stakeholders to learn of their procrastination trait besides their capabilities and difficiencies during the project initiation or planning phase. Proper antidotes must be prescribed accordingly to those with procrastination habits so that vaccinations can be carried out during other project phases as described below.
  • Divide tasks for procrastinators in project planning phase: During the work breakdown structure exercise in the planning phase, insightful project chiefs must break the tasks down to the level small enough that even procrastinators will not be compelled to push them off. Typically tasks for procrastinators need to be partitioned into smaller subtasks than usual because they find excuses to linger and small tasks are less likely to trigger their urge to hold off.
  • Oblige task owners to stick to their committed schedules in project planning phase: Prudent project managers must secure task owners’ commitments to complete their tasks on schedules. By doing so, the project leaders emphasize to the task owners the seriousness of their commitments and thus their obligations to deliver on time. This is another powerful procrastination inhibitor that should not be skipped.
  • Line up reminders repeatedly in project control phase: Procrastinators tend to postpone almost any job. Shrewd project captains need to walk the extra mile by reminding them of their commitments and their expected delivery dates again and again. Although this arrangement may annoy procrastinators, irritating them is exactly the needed element to pressure them to upkeep their committed schedules. The unending reminders during the project control phase is designed to compel the delinquents to complete their tasks punctually in order to stop this noise.
  • Stimulate procrastinators to act in project execution phase: Procrastinators are high maintenance folks among stakeholders; result oriented project leaders need not hesitate to apply the well-proven carrot and stick approach. Prospective loiters must be informed and reminded time and time again of the repercussions of any delay on delivery during the project execution phase. They may not win the carrot due to their persona, but they will be motivated to act if the stick is intimidating enough.


Procrastination has been among project leaders’ worst nightmares. Their constant dawdling put tremendous pressure on all stakeholders as well as cause project delays that might damage revenue, market share, and company reputation irreparably. If procrastinators must be part of a project team, project heads must institute additional instruments to thwart perpetual delay and minimize its occurrences in order to maintain project well-beings. This investigation proposes five apparatuses – nicknamed IDOLS in this article – that can be embedded into the five project management process groups to vanquish this monumental challenge. We believe that IDOLS is the trump card to tackle procrastination that no sage project leaders should kick off their projects without.