By Ashley Wilson
We all put tasks off from time to time.
Maybe you have a project that you know will take a lot of brainpower, and you’re not sure where to start first.
Procrastination can be a dangerous thing. It doesn’t just damage your productivity levels; it can also mean that you miss out on opportunities because you’ve failed to hit an important deadline.
It’s time for you to deal with your procrastination. Here are some top tips.
Understand Why You Procrastinate
Sometimes, you procrastinate at work because you think that you must answer all of your texts, emails and messages right away. Other times, you find yourself sitting on social media or making personal phone calls that you can handle later.
Get to the bottom of why you’re procrastinating and then you can develop a plan.
If you have challenges because you respond to every communication that comes your way, then stop checking your devices for a specific period of time. Create time in your schedule that is specifically for correspondence.
If you’re procrastinating because the idea of writing your new book or working on a specific project feels overwhelming, you can think about ways to make it easier. Are there tools you can use, can you delegate some of the work? Or use your project management best practices and break it down into manageable pieces. Then, it will not seem so intimidating and it will be easier for you to get started.
Optimize Your Environment
If you’re working in a traditional business office, optimizing your environment is often quite simple. You can choose a desk that’s outside of the buzz of the rest of the office, and make sure that there isn’t any clutter around you that might distract you.
If you’re one of the many people working from home these days, then you might need to work a little harder to get your environment into peak condition.
For instance, you’ll need to choose a room that has plenty of light to keep you motivated, but also a good internet connection. You should also make sure that your family members know not to disturb you during certain times of the day.
Optimizing your office space could also mean choosing furniture that you’re comfortable using for several hours a day. Sitting on an uncomfortable chair can quickly sap your productivity.
Get rid of Attention Vampires
Get to know your vampires. These are the things that grab your attention and ‘suck’ away your productive time. Maybe you can’t resist checking your collaboration tool messages whenever you see an IM popping up at the bottom of your screen. Maybe you love social media. Or you surf the net and click from story to story.
Whatever it is, each time you turn your attention away from the task at hand, means more time to accomplish your goals.
If you need a time of complete focus, consider turning off your phone, putting your tools into “do not disturb” mode, and removing anything else that might demand your attention.
It might take a while to get used to this new way of working, but it should pay off in the long-term. Just make sure that you’re strict with yourself. And consider giving yourself a reward at the end of the day, if you have managed to keep your attention vampires at bay.
Break Your Tasks Down
Finally, one of the biggest causes of procrastination in most workplaces is that some tasks appear to be too big or daunting to tackle.
If you have a massive project ahead of you that you feel nervous about, breaking that challenge down into chunks could make things a lot easier and help you better manage your time.
Look at what you need to do each given day and break your schedule into segments. Organizing your workflow this way will help you to place your most challenging tasks when you feel most productive. For instance, you might start by “eating the frog” and doing the thing that you’re dreading most first.
Having a schedule that keeps you moving from one task to the next, rather than forcing you to juggle multiple jobs or multi-tasking, will help to maintain your focus.
Deal with the Procrastination Process
Procrastination is a common problem, whether you’re working from home or in the office. There are going to be times when you don’t feel motivated, or you’re more likely to be distracted by something that isn’t important.
However, if you have the right time management strategy in place, you can boost your chances of overcoming distractors, and getting your work done.
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.