Procrastination is a curse that many workers fall victim to each and every day. Learning how to stop procrastinating can be a challenge; especially if it has become a habit that has been around for a while. Procrastination can be defined as “the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time”. This simple definition has for many workers and individuals alike, become a serious monkey on back, but hopefully not for too much longer.
The good news is that there are many steps you can take to learn how to stop procrastinating. These range from simply managing your time better, blocking out distractions, and managing our working environment so that it is conducive to producing quality work on time and with purpose.
Below we’ave created our guide to learning “How to Stop Procrastinating”. We recommend keeping this guide by your work station, using it periodically to help stay on topic, and to help to get the most out of our work day. Good luck, and remember that learning how to stop procrastinating is easier than you think, it just takes a small amount of discipline, and a dash of recognition.
How to stop procrastinating. Starting now!
Break your work down into smaller pieces
There can be a great sense of achievement felt when ticking off another milestone. By breaking your work down into smaller pieces as oppose to one lengthy task, your motivation will rise and you can begin to feel less overwhelmed by the task at hand, and less likely to lose focus and find a way to procrastinate. By pre-planning your work schedule, you’ll find you’re able to produce a higher quality of work, and increase your happiness in the workplace as well.
Change your working environment
Changing up your scenery can be a great motivator to stay focused. Whether this is as simple as creating a colorful or varied work station, getting out of the office and visiting a coworking space or new location, changing your environment can be a great motivator to inspire you to get creative and stay focused. Changing your environment can not only help to stop procrastination, but give you a new lease on your work life and provide something to look forward to in your daily routine.
Stop over-complicating things
Just like Nike said, “Just do it”, this mantra applies heavily to the art of avoiding procrastination. In reality most tasks are all about putting one foot in front of the other, so start now, not in five minutes or an hour, now! Looking for reasons to not start work, or trying to rationalize why the task is too complicated is just a text book definition of procrastination. Start now, and you may be surprised how much easier and less complicated the job is when you give it your full attention.
Avoid the refrigerator
Many workers often find themselves in close proximity to a refrigerator when on the job. Whether this is because they are working from home, or in a communal workplace where the staff kitchen room is close at hand, those sumptuous delights which live inside the refrigerator walls can be a tempting distraction when paired up against the daily grind.
Avoiding the refrigerator or staff kitchen is a great way to stop procrastinating and can save you a lot of time throughout your day. By ensuring your eating pattern is based around specific times, not the grumbling of your stomach, can help you to stay on track and produce higher quality periods of focused work.
Define your goals and get started!
Defining clear cut goals for the task at hand and overall for a project can help to remind you why you need or want to complete the project in the first place. As hard as it is at times to see the reasons why some projects get started at all, there is generally a strong rationale for a project, so having a goal to work towards is a great way to keep you on track and give purpose to the work you are completing.
Find a work companion
Having someone with similar goals and work habits to yourself can help to lighten the mood, decrease isolation, and keep you motivated to stay on topic. A worker in a similar industry to yourself, with a passion for what you do, and someone who you can use to bounce ideas off to help to mutually learn from each other can bring a great source of positivity to the work you do, and help you to rise to a higher standard of performance.
Clearly define when it is time for work, rest and play
Work time must be defined with a certain set of parameters, as with time for breaks and eventually personal time. When any of these lines start to blur, procrastination inevitably comes a knocking. Ensuring that you know when these times are, and how to avoid external distractions from breaking your schedule is a very valuable skill to master and one you should place great significance upon. To ensure others understand this, you may suggest only taking appointments from your calendar, or setting a specific time to answer questions or enquiries others may have.
Do the worst thing first
Completing the hardest or least pleasurable task first can be difficult, but overall incredibly valuable to a project. Why? Because you will most likely have more energy at the start of a project than the end, so ensuring the most crucial, or difficult project aspects get completed first is a way to ensure you maintain quality during a project. By completing the hardest part first you will also find great sense of satisfaction in this, and move forward through the project with less on your mind, decreasing the chances of drifting off topic.
Stay fit, healthy and active
Taking time on your lunch break or after work to go for a run or walk can really help to stop procrastination. By increasing the endorphins in your body you boost your overall wellbeing and will be much more motivated to tackle tasks head-on. By staying fit and active, this will also benefit other areas of your life, and ensure that you maintain a strong work life balance.
Don’t interrupt yourself
Working on a computer can be a major distraction, especially with the Internet, YouTube, music and so on. Make sure that when you’re focusing on a piece of work, you don’t have other distractions open to pull you away. A great tip here is to close unnecessary browser windows, turn the television off, and if you can’t work with music playing, move your headphones away from your computer where you will not be tempted to get your groove on.