The deadline for your work project is tomorrow. But instead of working on it, you’re fiddling around with all sorts of things.
You’re checking your emails and your Facebook account. You’re watching YouTube videos, listening to news reports, and reading blogs. You are even cleaning off your desk. Anything but working on your project!
Believe it or not, being a procrastinator doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a lazy person. Nor that you’re disorganized. Even very productive people face the dilemma of procrastination at times.
The fact is that procrastination is connected to your emotions – your mood. So, you just don’t feel like working on the project right then.
Eventually, though, you’ll realize you’ve been wasting time and then you’ll feel guilty. That, of course, only makes your mood worse.
Are you just doomed to keep missing project deadlines?
Or is there a way to stop procrastinating for good?
Here are a Few Strategies to Beat Procrastination
1. Figure out why you’re procrastinating
Take a moment to reflect on why you don’t feel like working. Could it be something simple like needing a break and something to eat? Or is it something more complicated, such as you being unhappy with your job? Consider what you need to do to solve the issue.
2. Remove the distractions
Get rid of the obstacles that keep you from working. It’s harder to regain focus than keep it going. So, disable the automatic email notifications on your desktop if you’re working on a computer. And make sure you have everything you need to complete the task. Hunting for things in the middle of the job is distracting.
3. Create the right environment
Different environments have different effects on your productivity. So, examine your workspace. Does it make you want to work or sleep? Is it too loud, too hot, or too cold? Is it uncomfortable? Does it inspire you? Of course, even an environment that once inspired you can lose its impact after some time. But that’s remedied easily with some changes.
4. Break it down into small steps
If you’re intimidated or overwhelmed by the size of your project, break it down into steps that you can get done quicker and easier. Give each step its own deadline. One that carries significance – if you don’t meet it, you put all your other deadlines at risk. This creates urgency to act. But stay realistic. If you’re still procrastinating, break it down even further. Then, focus on one step at a time.
5. Dive right in
Actions eliminate worries. Don’t focus on how difficult it will be, just get started – no matter what. Look at your to-do list and do one thing right then. Once you do, your mood will improve, and that will help you stay on task. Success only comes through actions, not plans.
6. Ditch the perfectionism
The quality of your effort is what counts, not doing it perfectly. You can adjust, change, or edit it afterward. But you can’t make changes on something that you haven’t done yet. So, stop waiting for the perfect time to do it; there is never a perfect time.
7. Focus on the results
There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to check things off your to-do list. A challenging task may make you anxious, but think about how great you’ll feel when you know it’s done. Accomplishments also stimulate the area of your brain connected to reward and motivation. It increases testosterone levels, which gives you a boost of confidence and energy to keep you moving forward and take on the next challenge. Think about these results and what you will do, instead of telling yourself that you will not procrastinate. This helps you focus on the action you want to take, instead of the behavior you want to avoid.
Now, put these strategies to work and enjoy the fruits of your labor!