Procrastination - Manager’s nightmare

In this blog, I will discuss how you can come out of the procrastinating phase in a management role.

Srihari Udugani
6 min readMar 20, 2024
Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

Many managers tend to start procrastinating due to various reasons. This impacts their performance, and the output quality of the team will deteriorate.

Some managers know that they are procrastinating, and some don’t.

In this blog, I will provide information on some signs that tell that you are procrastinating, some of the common reasons, and what you can do to come out of it.

The signs

Here are a few signs that you can use to check whether you are procrastinating as a Manager.

Reports are updated last minute
If you were updating the reports ahead of time or regularly and recently if you are updating almost at the last minute, then this is one of the signs that you are procrastinating.

Managers’ one of the key responsibilities is generating reports on time. If this is delayed or updated in a hurry, maybe you are pushing this task until the last moment.

No new initiatives started even though there are plenty
As a manager, another activity is to regularly find initiatives so that the team can work on something other than the usual responsibilities. This also creates learning opportunities.

As a manager, if you are not identifying such things then you are pushing this until one of the team members is asking for it.

Lesser focus during meetings and discussions
In the past, you might have been very attentive during discussions and constantly provided inputs to steer the whole team or peer teams in the right direction.

But recently, if you feel there is no focus during meetings or any discussion and you are not actively participating, then it could be a sign of procrastination.

Unable to assign tasks to team members even though there are plenty
Even though there are plenty of tasks in the backlog, if you are not assigning the tasks ahead of time or not participating in planning meetings, then it could be a sign of procrastination.

If the team members are always becoming anxious to take on tasks and you are unable to assign the tasks based on priority then maybe you are delaying until the last moment.

Not feeling enthusiastic about the work
Managers always have a spark in them to take on anything. No matter how good or bad the work is, if they see an opportunity for learning or growth then most of the managers take on the work.

If recently, you are not ready to take on new work or just want to continue with what is going on or if you are feeling down about the management role, then it could be a sign of procrastination.

The reasons

Following are some of the reasons why the Manager would have started procrastination.

Overwhelmed with work pressure
Some managers, fail to take on the work pressure due to various reasons.

One of the common reasons for this is not managing time properly. With poor time management, there will be always something to catch up which leads to accumulated pressure.

Less clarity on the career progression
If one has been in a management role for quite some time and doesn’t see any career progression, it leads to losing enthusiasm for the work.

One of the common reasons for this is not understanding senior management’s acceptance of your role. Without a proper alignment between the manager and senior management, there will be always a disconnect and in turn, impact the growth.

Dilemma about continuing in a management role
Some young managers feel they are not sure whether to continue in a management role.

This could be because the transition to a management role would have not happened correctly or there are a lot of team-related issues and so on.

Fewer team members due to high attrition
Many managers face the problem of high attrition. Even after following all the management best practices, there will be high attrition.

One of the common reasons for this is the company’s culture which the Manager cannot influence. Hence high attrition results in a lot of pressure on Managers to groom the existing members and hire the right members.

Lots of meetings and no time to do actual work
Managers tend to get into the state of many meetings in a day. There will be not much time to perform other things or work on strategic roadmaps for the team.

This creates a lot of frustration is many managers. One of the common reasons is accepting unplanned meetings in the day even though it is not important.

The steps

So as a manager, how to come out of procrastination?

Step#1: Take a break
Sometimes non-stop working causes low energy. This will in turn impact your motivation levels. When there is low energy and low motivation, procrastination will happen.

To come out of it, the best thing one can do is take a break. Go out on a solo trip or with family or friends. Take a break in such a way that you are far away from work and there is no disturbance.

Once you come back from break there will be high energy, which in turn leads to higher motivation levels.

Step#2: Start setting smaller goals
When your energy levels are high due to a break, it is time to pick up something that will get back to your routine. For this setting up smaller goals will help.

With smaller goals, you will start seeing small wins. These smaller wins will help you to get back your confidence and further increase in motivation.

Step#3: Start setting up time-based activities
With small goals, start setting up time-bound activities. For example, update the report within the next 1 hour send out follow-up emails to stakeholders in the next 2 hours, or complete 2 1on1 meetings within the next 2 days.

These time-based activities will help you to get back to your rhythm. This is important. Sometimes procrastination occurs due to loss of rhythm. So doing time-bound activities will help to get back the lost rhythm

Step#4: Take up a “pet project”
To get a little more push to get back your lost rhythm, starting a pet project with your team members or by yourself will further help.

This will take your mind to learn something new and which you enjoy as well. When you do something that you enjoy, you will go all in to complete it.

When this happens, the rhythm, energy, and motivation levels will start coming back to normal. This will ensure you come out of procrastination.

Step#5: Read biographies
To keep up with the pressure of work and failures reading biographies will help.

These books will make you realize that you are not alone who fails and comes back. There are many leaders and great people who have failed in their journey and have come back to achieve what they intended to.

This will help you to keep your mind away from the disappointments and stressfulness of the management role.

Final thoughts

Procrastination is not a good thing for managers as it impacts the whole team. And coming out of it is also important as an individual to make sure your performance does not take a hit.

Using the above-mentioned 5 steps will help you to come out of procrastination.

Some might take less time to come out, some might take more time. Irrespective keep following the steps mentioned above, so that you will come out before it is too late.

By making sure you constantly take breaks, the stress will be in control and chances of going into procrastination will be always in check.

Happy management

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Srihari Udugani

Knowledge Made Simple and Structured, Decisions Made Clear. Happy success!