We’ve all done it. Waited until the last possible moment to finish a project. Barely getting the project in on time, much less in quality condition. We do it to ourselves all the time. The battle with procrastination is real and can be somewhat emotional. Although working alongside procrastination can be a delicate dance, to win the battle is very simple. Yet, although winning the battle is simple, it is not easy. I may not have the final answer on how to beat procrastination, but I do have some helpful tips that could help you.
Write it down
How do you know if you have to do something unless you write it down? It can be valuable to see a list of the items you need to accomplish. It is also valuable to see when those things need to be completed. My “go-to” are my sticky notes, I like to at least get the thought out of my head, and onto paper. However, there are many other tools that you can utilize to help you recall your specific task. I love to use Outlook’s reminder features to also help keep you accountable to things you need to do. Find way to write down the things that are important for you to complete and use it as an indicator of your progress.
Getting your tasks on paper is one thing, but prioritizing them is another. Take the time to prioritize your tasks so that you know what is the most important task to the least important. When you start to work through your checklist of priorities, make sure to start at the top of your list. Personally, I go through this process every week. I select my priorities for the week, and then on a daily basis set them for the day. When doing this, it helps you stay on task every day with crossing key times off your list. This way at the end of the week, you aren’t crunching to get things done. It helps to have already done it in small bites throughout the week.
Once you get your list making sure that you have a laser like focus is pretty key. I mean like a Superman type of focus. You need to have the opportunity to focus on one task at a time without distractions. Sometimes this is a difficult thing to do because of all of the distractions that you have coming at you in a given day. You will have to make the choice to decrease and sometimes even eliminate your distractions. Save your emails for later, turn your voicemail forwarding service on so that you can complete the task at hand.
When you give yourself a pep talk, does it help to keep you motivated? This is what positive affirmations are good for. At first it may be a little awkward to speak positively about yourself. However, after a few times, you get used to it, and they actually work. Simple affirmations like “you can do this, Naomi” or “just one more task to go and we’ll be done” are simple ways to keep yourself motivated. When you find ways to give yourself positive affirmations, you will stay engaged and avoid procrastination.
Get it done
The battle of procrastination is a battle of getting stuff done. If you aren’t able to get things completed that you need to have off your list, then it hinders growth and other opportunities. Think about it, if you have a full plate, and not able to take anything off your plate, then you still have a full plate. However, if you take things off your plate, by doing them yourself or giving them to someone else, it makes room for more and prevents burnout. If you are having trouble doing this in a big way, just start small. Perhaps for just an hour you take the time to focus on one thing that you need to get completed. Believe me, you’ll find that it will turn out to be the best hour of your day.
Procrastination is something that everyone has had to dance with every now and then. Making sure that we write down the things we need to do, and strategize to get them complete is a skill that is valuable beyond the workplace. Once you start accomplishing the items that you set out to do, you will move this into other areas of your life like at home, and any personal hobbies that you might have.
Do you battle with procrastination? Would love to hear how you have overcome it or if these steps work for you.