Procrastination does more than let projects lag. It causes stress and unbalances in the lives of your workers. From avoiding paying bills to not making exercise a priority, procrastination even outside of the office walls can take a toll on the performance and productivity of employees while they are working within them.

Procrastination can stem from many sources, including fear of judgment, having an overwhelming amount to do, or simply not enjoying the tasks that are sitting on the to-do list. And the act of procrastinating can do more than make it difficult to get things done — it can also cause persistent stress. This stress has consequences such as family or relationship issues, financial stress, and poor work performance, to name a few. It also takes a toll on the health of your workers. In fact, a 2015 study showed that those who procrastinate are more susceptible to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This means more used sick time and higher healthcare premiums for the business owner.

The answer to how to increase employee productivity and help employees slay the procrastination dragon is multi-faceted. It requires focusing on those areas where procrastination is most prevalent and making small and sustainable improvements.

Doing Their Future Selves a Favor

If your employees are neglectful at tax time, paying bills, or paying off credit cards, it can be helpful to highlight exactly how those delays equate to dollars. Financial responsibilities can be dry and dull, and many of us naturally put off those tasks until the very last moment. But that procrastination can lead to late payment penalties and building interest. Provide employees with examples of just how putting off that credit card payment is increasing the cost of those initial purchases, or how payment penalties can add up throughout the year.

Set them up for Success

Many of our mundane tasks can be automated in this digital age. It just takes a bit of initial effort. Stress to employees the benefits of auto bill payments through their bank and hold a meeting to discuss just how simple that process can be. This can remove a great deal of financial stress that surrounds making sure payment deadlines are met. Auto bill pay can be used for just about anything, from rent and credit card payments to student loans and electricity bills.

Break It Down

A large part of procrastination is due to tasks that just seem too daunting to tackle. Teach your employees how to break those tasks down and take small steps more frequently instead of waiting until the last minute to climb a large mountain of responsibility. Breaking down commonly procrastinated tasks into smaller chunks can help make the getting started process easier. It also incorporates small successes along the way that can keep employees from feeling hopeless about their ability to get things done.

Add in Gamification

By making employees be accountable to one another, you can spark the motivation needed to get them moving on their previously procrastinated tasks. Organize a workweek challenge and build teams of employees. Have them come together and write down a list of significant tasks they have been putting off. Give out prizes to those who manage to complete their tasks by week’s end.

Productivity in the Workplace

A great way to get these dreary tasks off the list is to remind employees that their future selves will thank them for it. And getting paperwork and chores completed during the week can free up weekends for fun and relaxation. Procrastination may be inherent in some employees, but it does not have to control their lives or their productivity in the workplace. Provide employees with the tools and the drive to start tackling those put-off projects. Teaching them how to tackle procrastination in the workplace can help them live happier and healthier lives both inside and outside the office.