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Chapter 2. The Procrastination Epidemic > Why Procrastination Is Becoming an Ep... - Pg. 18

The Procrastination Epidemic 18 Technology: Is It Really a Timesaver? Remember what life was like before rampant use of cellular phones, pagers, and e-mail? Are you even old enough to remember life before fax machines, voice mail, and overnight mail delivery? Then you probably recall a time when the pace of life was slower and you didn't feel so pressured. Now think about what the expectations are for your performance these days. People demand im- mediate results because they know you can whip up a quick pie chart with up-to-the-minute budget figures with a few clicks of a mouse. Plus, they expect that chart to be visually appealing with fancy graphics and colors because everyone is an amateur desktop publisher these days. To make mat- ters worse, they want it in an hour because you can send it by e-mail. Technology raises the expectations others have for the speed, content, and quality of your work to such an extent that you might get overwhelmed when facing what used to be the simplest task. You may let fears of how you're going to be judged keep you from doing it and may build the task up in your mind as something so complex you could never begin to tackle it. Or you may simply get fed up with others' unreasonable expectations and rebel by not doing something or by holding off until the last minute and then doing it grudgingly. Quicksand! If your goals aren't realistic and feasible, you'll never reach them. Goals that aren't doable are just fantasies. Although technology has certainly made our lives easier in many ways, it has also magnified many of the factors that lead to procrastination. Services and technology that enable you to do things at the last minute aren't foolproof. That Fed Ex office you thought was open until 8 P.M. might have started closing at 7. Or your Internet server could hit some snags and not be able to get your e-mail to its destination right away. Always work as if you had to mail things the old-fashioned way, leaving a cushion of a day or two to allow for unforeseen delays. Action Tactic Try designating one day a month or even one day a week, if possible, as a technology-free day. Don't use your cell phone, pager, computer, fax machine, or other electronic gadgets. Give yourself a break from the pressure of being constantly in touch with the world. The Pressure Cooker Workplace Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several years (which procrastinators sometimes feel like they're doing), you've no doubt heard that dramatic changes have taken place in the world of work. This has led to increased procrastination in several ways: