We all procrastinate at some point in our career but most of us don’t realize that we have been doing it until someone points it out, or when we (finally) get in trouble for it.
Procrastination, perhaps, has never been the direct cause of someone’s failure with a project but the resulting impact from it may be: poor planning or the lack of any planning may cause the project to be half done, pulling an all-nighter to finish the job may be bad for health, or it could lead to problems within the team tasked with doing the job.
It’s a sort of deferment, which creates or leads to all sorts of problems, and you end up losing the trust people put in you to finish the job. Why should you risk facing a tiger on a prowl, when you can easily capture it and put it in a cage? Or even better, tame the beast within.
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In this article, we look at 7 ways to stop procrastinating on the job.
1. Pomodoro technique
It has been revealed that the human brain has the tendency to lose interest if they work over long periods of time on a task without any reward. This need for instant gratification is manipulated in video games, for instance, crossing a pit stop lets you level up, giving you an instant bonus thus rewarding you for staying on in the game. You do not procrastinate in games.
You can apply that self-regulating method in your work as well. The Pomodoro technique says that individuals should use clocks to work for a certain period of time, and then reward themselves with a break. You can look out for Promodoro apps if you need a bit of help from handy tools for your desktop or smartphone.
2. Realising the effects of procrastinating
Another way to stop procrastinating is to really dwell on the effects of when you do procrastinate. Procrastination can result in the loss of jobs, or large financial losses, and even lead to you falling to acquire future projects. If you keep this in mind, it may just help stop you from delaying your tasks and duties the next time you have the urge to procrastinate.
You can try to set milestones for your work to ensure that things get done a bit at a time, rather than lumped up in one overwhelming shot all at once.
3. Enjoy our Achievements
It feels great to achieve something and there is no reason not to break that feeling down in smaller ‘bites’. Create a list of things you should be doing, set deadlines for it and when you have done them, scratch them off the list. Now, doesn’t that feel good?
You can make use of productivity tools such as Remember the Milk, Any.do, Toodledo or a regular egg-timer and notepad to remember your deadlines. Over time, you will be able to learn how to be more productive, work faster or work less for better results.
4. Deal With It When It’s Small
Many focus on bigger tasks and leave smaller tasks to be completed later, which leads to procrastination. These small tasks eventually pile up and don’t get completed on time. In essence, it’s these small things that could have been done and settled fast, usually on the spot right after the instructions are delivered.
But such tasks are sometimes overlooked, believed to be a small matter until it grows too big to be contained or to be completed in time. Don’t leave it unattended if you can, no matter how insignificant you think it is.
5. Do not work until you feel exhausted
Human psychology suggests that if you are exhausted and don’t have anything pending in your head, then your mind tends to wander off course from the task at hand. In other words, you can get distracted very easily when you are tired.
Follow the signs you get from your body and start each new task afresh if possible. Taking a short break with non-taxing activities like reading the paper or listening to light music while sipping on some coffee can do wonders to revitalize your energy bar.
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6. Use the power of motivation
Often employees fail to remember the basis of their work, which could lead to procrastination. Your business has a role and your work has a purpose. Do you reinvent your personal goals with the task at hand? If you can do that then you are taking the right steps to strengthening yourself.
If you find it hard to get up in the morning to get to work, then something is wrong. If it is hard to even get started, procrastinating is the next stage. A lack of zeal at work may require some reflection on your part.
You may need to question your role in the organization, if you need some form of motivation as in a new role, a new project or a new manager (yikes!). Restructure your engagement and responsibilities at the job to avoid procrastination.
7. Shun off temptations
Temptations are real hindrances. It takes your attention away from work and everyone has their own private list of sinful temptations: the TV, a phone call, a game or a texting partner, Facebook (the usual suspect) etc. Identifying and keeping yourself away from them will help you to overcome procrastination on the job.
You may choose to cut yourself off from the Internet when you are designing, writing or sketching. Alternatively you can find a room to yourself to get away from physical disturbances offline like noise, your children or from phone calls. At the end of the day, it depends on your willpower to say no to ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’.
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Here are a few more posts on tools you can use to help you manage or save time:
What are your methods to keep your mind on the job and on the deadline?