Procrastination describes the process by which we delay starting or completing a task. We know we are doing it when we make the 10th cup of tea in a morning, check our emails yet again, or for us homeworkers – start cleaning the fridge, or sorting out the plumbing. Procrastination is normal, we all do it to some degree, but it can result in loss of productivity, frustration for colleagues and an increase in your stress levels.
Here are 5 top tips for beating procrastination:
- Set your goals
You have followed our advice from our previous blog on self-motivating and written your to-do-list making sure that your list for the day is on a post-it-note so that it is not too long and unrealistic. Now it is time to break down your task into manageable chunks – instead of: ‘write a book’ – try ‘1 hour of focused writing’. Instead of: ‘complete my accounts for the year’ break it down to: ‘complete the first three months of my accounts’. Don’t set yourself an unwieldy and intimidating goal – give yourself a manageable chunk to get yourself started.
- Create your routine
Don’t wait for inspiration to hit you, create a routine to help it happen. We all have times of the day and times of the week when we are more focused – use those times to help you start and complete your more difficult tasks. Feel energised on a Monday morning or a Wednesday afternoon? Then make sure you timetable in the difficult tasks that need your attention. Give yourself set times to be sat at your desk – if you work well in the morning give yourself a routine that means that you start your day with 2 hours sat at your desk focused on your goals.
- Turn off distractions
Technology can be great for productivity – but it can also be a huge distraction. Remain focused and turn off your emails and telephone. For those of us that really need support to do this you can use software programmes that block distractions such as www.ommwriter.com.
- Reward yourself
Build in rewards to your goals – but reward yourself for completing your task not starting it. Don’t reward yourself with a cup of coffee 5 minutes into your task – you are just procrastinating. Wait until you have achieved your goal – and then allow yourself that cup of coffee.
- Just start!
It will never be the perfect time, you will never have the perfect inspiration, and you will never have the perfect amount of focus and energy. Don’t wait for the perfect moment – just start! Sit yourself down, focus on your task, make a start – and don’t move from that chair until you have achieved your goal. You don’t have to have completed the whole task – just achieved your goal.
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