Tomorrow is “Fight Procrastination Day” and in the spirit of fighting procrastination, we decided to write about it a day early. There is an apt saying that compares procrastination to a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.
While procrastination can cause minor inconveniences in a person’s life, it can also be extremely damaging. For example, putting off a trip to the grocery store may inconvenience you by depriving you of milk for your morning cereal. Habitually paying bills late can leave you with a fistful of fees and a damaged credit score.
Every human being procrastinates sometimes. But for those habitual offenders or for those just trying to work around small fits of procrastination, we have some ideas. However, before you start changing your ways, it’s important to identify the real problems. Most people procrastinate for a few basic reasons:
Lack of time – They try to pack too much activity into too little time.
Fatigue – They are too tired to focus or to care about the work ahead.
Lack of organization – They either don’t have the tools needed to work on a project or are so disorganized they can’t find them
Distractions – The chatty co-worker, emails and social media provide a steady of flow of distractions and excuses to start that project later.
Fear – For some it is fear of failure and for others it is fear of success. Sadly, the fear of doing something wrong or looking silly holds back many good people.
Feeling overwhelmed –All of these factors add up very quickly to make a person feel overwhelmed and helpless.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, read on for suggestions to help control the problems that cause procrastination.
- Start with a strategically written list. Prioritize tasks, pairing difficult jobs with fun ones. For every difficult or unattractive task you complete, allow yourself to do something you will enjoy. Taking it a step further, do the work you hate the most first thing so that you have the worst part of your day behind you.
- Have a large project or task that seems daunting? Break it down into manageable pieces. An old adage tells us to eat an elephant one bite at a time. Don’t hesitate to find ways to break a project into small, manageable pieces. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and prevent inertia from setting in.
- Identify and prevent distractions. For example, schedule times throughout the day to check email. Either avoid or limit your time surfing the web, etc.
- Use technology in your favor. From apps to track your to-do list to websites for project management, there is free technology available to help. You can even use online tools that temporarily block certain websites for a set amount of time.
- Set a timer on your phone or computer to help you stay on schedule. If you are encouraged by rewards, allow yourself to earn a break every time you meet a deadline.
- Seek shortcuts to make your work easier or more enjoyable. The fact a project has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean you have to do it that way forever. Look for ways to streamline workflow and make it go more quickly or smoothly (just check with your boss first if you are making changes at work).
- Make lifestyle changes so that you have the energy and stamina to be alert and productive. Get plenty of rest, eat well and exercise to give you more energy and a more positive outlook!
- Keep your environment clean and organized. There’s nothing more discouraging or distracting than piles of dishes in the kitchen or an avalanche of papers on your desk. Give everything a place and put things away as soon as you are done with them.
- Don’t be overwhelmed or fearful of the tasks at hand. Just keep your eye on the prize and remember that the best way to complete a task is to get started!
Are there tips here that can help you? Try them today!