Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily postponing decisions or actions by delaying or putting off tasks. There may be several reasons for procrastinating including: disliking the tasks to be done, or finding the work too difficult or tedious, or perceiving that the work is not urgent and doesn’t need your immediate attention.
Procrastination can become a habit, one that can easily lead to difficulties in managing your workflow and time and effecting your productivity.
We can become very competent at coming up with seemingly valid reasons for putting off tasks, but to increase productivity we need to shift our perspective and apply the same ingenuity for procrastinating, towards thinking of ways to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. Be as clever about completing things as you’ve been about putting them off.
Reducing the habit of procrastination could be achieved by using some of the following ideas.
1.Do it NOW!
When faced with a task that could be completed in less than fifteen minutes don’t think too much about whether there is some ideal time in the future where you can squeeze it in. Having this frame of mind can be the start for many procrastinators. Having a habit of putting things off only because they seem small, or unimportant, or can be done quickly can inevitably lead to the same task never getting done!
Seemingly small, quick tasks can accumulate quickly, and can often end up weighing you down psychologically, distracting your attention from the more important tasks.
Do the small tasks as quickly as possible. Completing them immediately, will enable you to never have to get back to them again! Your calendar will be freed up allowing you to focus on more important or time consuming work.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment now and make it perfect.
Larger projects can be broken into smaller, bite-sized actions. This will make the task seem less overwhelming and much more doable. It’s a lot easier to get started on a project when you establish simple, reachable goals.
This method can be especially beneficial for those who are intimidated when presented with tasks that appear to be too tedious or time consuming. Accomplishing multiple tasks rather than just one can also give you the sense of achieving more, help you stay driven throughout and give your enthusiasm a boost.
3. Focus On the Outcome
The size of a reward or the promise of high returns can sometimes determine the worth of doing a task and your motivation to begin them. In some circumstances by not doing something could result in highly negative consequences such as not paying a bill on time.
If you find yourself procrastinating on tasks that have potentially big ramifications focus on what will happen if you do or don’t do something by a certain time. Focus on the best outcome you could achieve and work towards accomplishing that ideal outcome. Chances are, you will feel motivated to start working.
4. Celebrate Milestones
Everyone loves being rewarded. It’s important to give yourself incentives, no matter how small. For large projects, celebrate each milestone completed by rewarding yourself. Celebrating the smaller milestones after the completion of key stages is a form of positive reinforcement, which helps to solidify a sense of progress and achievement that can help motivate you in starting the next phase of the project. This will also sustain you psychologically and support your drive to see your project or task to its successful end!
5. Do the Worst First
Faced with a list of time consuming difficult tasks, you may procrastinate over where and when to start. Tackling the hardest task can actually be a good place to begin. Starting with the hardest task when you are at your best and are working at your optimum level will make it easier and more efficient to complete. Clearing and completing the hardest, most time-consuming task will also help to boost your morale and free up your time for the other things on your list.
6. Find a Buddy
If you work in a team situation or have a close relationship with your colleagues, they could be the key to overcoming procrastination. They could help you monitor your work management by sharing your goals and task list. Let them know your timeline for completing certain tasks so that can monitor and track your progress. Hold each other accountable by reporting your progress at regular intervals. The person you choose should be someone you respect enough to listen to and they should be strong enough to reprimand you if needed. Being accountable to a trusted colleague may be enough to spur you into starting and completing the tasks.
Procrastination is a challenge most people struggle with some time or other. However, tackling procrastination doesn’t need to be unsurmountable. By identifying your habits that lead to procrastination, you may choose to use some of these ideas to help you be more decisive and reduce the occurrence of procrastination and increase your productivity.
Collagis is committed to helping businesses like yours to optimise workforce and organisational effectiveness. We'd love to share with you how we can help you increase your productivity.
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