Procrastination: so many of us are so good at it that we’ve grown comfortable enough to consider it a lifestyle. That’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world… after all, there is no better motivation to get a task done than the stark awareness of its deadline that only comes once it is quickly careening right at you.
Sure, in everyday life this can be manageable. You’ll finally get those dishes done when you run out of forks, and that laundry can wait until you run out of undies and have to go commando for a day. But at work, procrastination is not nearly as acceptable or appreciated. Procrastination is productivity’s biggest enemy, and no boss likes unproductive employees.
Even if you don’t live a wait-til-the-last-minute lifestyle, you can fall victim to the cushy allure of avoiding something you don’t want to do until you absolutely have to do it. It happens to the best of us. Fortunately, there are so many powerful ways to fight procrastination at work, so read on. Or bookmark this article and come back to finish it later. Whatever works…
Step 1: Admit You Have a Problem
This is the well-known first step to overcoming many vices, and the same goes for those trying to break the cycle of procrastination. Just step up and admit that this may be something you have to work on. And then, you can get to work…
Step 2: Good Morning!
A productive workday starts at the very beginning before you ever set foot in the workplace. Make sure that you start every day off right by drinking some water, eating some breakfast, and maybe doing a little stretching. Everyone is different, so here’s a list of 11 ways to improve your morning that you can pick and choose from to design your perfect, wonderful morning.
Step 3: Save the Best for Last
Mark Twain referred to it as “eating your frog.” If you tackle the least pleasant task on your list first off, the rest of your day can be filled with other, more pleasant (or less awful, at the very least) assignments that you are more likely to float through smoothly. If you start off with the things you actually want to do and save the worst for last, you are much more likely to procrastinate on that last one.
Step 4: Don’t Multitask
Traditionally, multitasking has been seen as a desirable skill, but new psychological research shows that it actually makes you less efficient, lowers your IQ, and forces the two sides of your brain to work against each other instead of in harmony. On top of this, one of the biggest reasons most people procrastinate is that they feel like they just have too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Tackling one task at a time, or taking on larger projects in small, manageable chunks, will fight procrastination because it will allow you to see the light at the end of each individual tunnel. You’re much more likely to traverse several smaller tunnels that twinkle at the end than you are to step into one giant, dark one.
Step 5: Embrace Longevity
I think a lot of us feel like we don’t want to half do something. We want anything with our name on it to live up to our standards, and that is a good trait to have. Ownership.
However, ownership is one of the biggest contributors to procrastination: we don’t want to start something unless we know we have the time to do it well and finish it. This mentality can be daunting and often forces us to throw our hands up in the air and give up.
One of the best ways to combat this is to create and utilize your own set of tools to help you stay productive all day. Each of us is different, but there are some constants: making to-do lists, goals lists, taking frequent breaks, and making sure you get enough to eat and drink will help everyone. Beyond that, it’s best for you to play to your strengths.
If you know you’re more productive when you bounce around between several tasks, it’s okay. Remember that sometimes keeping momentum going is more important than the organization.
For those that are more “Type A” personalities, organizing your time with a schedule and sticking to it is the best way to remain productive over long hours, and therefore, fight the urge to procrastinate.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! A very large percentage of procrastinated tasks never end up getting done (though I don’t know the actual percent, as scientists plan to crunch those numbers tomorrow) so the fact that you’ve made it to the end of this article is a great first step to fighting the procrastination bug!
I hope these tips have been helpful, and please share any tips of your own in the comments.