It can be hard to get things done in today’s busy world with constant alerts and distractions. We try to manage our interaction with technology and other people but sometimes we need to manage ourselves too.
How to Beat Procrastination
Many people tell me that they waste valuable time because they procrastinate. This can lead to frustration or stress and that is something we all want to avoid.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination means avoiding a task that we either:
- Should be doing, or
- Planning to do
When this happens, we often end up rushing the job to meet the deadline. This can affect the quality of what we deliver. And that is not good for our reputation in business.
Reasons for Procrastination
Why do we procrastinate? There is always a reason for every behaviour so let us look at some common reasons for procrastination:
- Missing information
- The task is tedious
- Lack of clarity about the work required
- Lack of confidence about ability
- Lack of training
- The task is not urgent
Know Why You Procrastinate
If you find yourself procrastinating and would like to stop then you need to understand your own specific reasons. Ask yourself these questions:
- When do I procrastinate?
- Is it related to the time of day?
- Is it related to specific types of work?
- Is the work not clear?
- Is the requirement too vague?
The answers to these questions will give you an idea of what you can change.
Tips to Stop Procrastination
Here are some general tips to help beat procrastination:
- Get Clarity about the Work: If you are not sure about what is required discuss it with someone. Maybe your manager, a colleague or the client. A discussion can really help to clear your thinking.
- Set an Interim Deadline: Set yourself a daily or weekly deadline to get certain tasks completed. This can give you the motivation and focus to deliver.
- Do the First Step: Doing one task is not that daunting. It is more manageable than thinking about the entire project. When you get the first piece of work done you will feel more motivated to continue.
- Be Accountable: Tell someone what you plan to deliver and by when. This can add the bit of pressure you need to get the work done.
- Just Do It: As the Nike ad says, just do it! If all else fails, be tough on yourself. Stop making excuses and get on with the task.
If it helps initially, use a reward to motivate yourself. Once you break the procrastination habit, you won’t need a reward. The satisfaction of getting things done is a big enough motivator to keep doing it.
Getting things done is one of the best ways to remove stress from your life. Stop procrastinating and watch your performance and business success soar.
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Author: Moira Dunne, Olas Training Associate.