Procrastination is one of the biggest challenges business owners and teams face when it comes to Productivity. Thinking about doing something and planning to do it are fine, but what if we fail to move ahead?
Procrastinating the unimportant items in our day can be useful, but when we start procrastinating about the important and crucial items in our day, we are reducing productivity and increasing stress levels.
Here are 5 Pointers to overcome procrastination.
People don’t plan to fail but they sometimes fail to plan. Without a plan of action in place before you arrive for work it is very easy to get caught up in stuff. The phone rings, someone drops by and you direct your time responding to the loudest voices demanding your attention rather than to the most important priorities. Counter this with a plan of action that you prepare the night before. Think of this as a roadmap for the day ahead. You know what your next step ought to be, so plan your day for productivity and deter the practise of procrastination.
Out of sight, out of mind. The reverse of that is just as true. When it’s in sight, it’s in mind and most of us cannot help but be distracted by it. If our mind is directed to the less important and easier tasks, then we are delaying the more important tasks. Working with a clean desk or clean work environment permits us to have only the most important task before us, allowing us to focus all of our attention on that task without other visual distractions.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Tomorrow you plan to work on a three-hour project. The problem is, many of us do not get three hours to work on any one item. We have to contend with interruptions, meetings, etc. The truth is even, without these intermittent interruptions 3 hours is too long to work efficiently. Often when working in large time blocks, people wind up procrastinating, working with less efficiency and dragging the project over the 3 hour deadline. So, instead of scheduling the entire three-hour project for tomorrow, schedule a small bite, a step or two that might take 20 or 30 minutes. Then put the next step on the next day’s “To Do” list and the next step after that on that next day’s list, etc. It may take several days, but you will get that elephant eaten up, one bite at a time.
Interruptions tend to occur in identifiable patterns. You may notice you get most of your interruptions early in the day rather than later in the day. Maybe you notice more interruptions come through early in the week rather than later in the week. If you plan a big project first thing Monday morning, you are creating stress because as soon as the day begins, interruptions arrive and re-focus your attention causing procrastination from the major task. It is so much easier swimming downstream with the current rather than bucking the tide. Therefore, plan those larger projects for later in the day and later in the week when you tend to get fewer interruptions.
Have you ever failed to achieve a New Year’s resolution? If so, that has probably happened because you did not set a deadline. Deadlines move us to action. Without a deadline, things wind up in our as soon as possible pile, a Never Never Land where items will get attended to someday, when you get the time. However, we all know that in a busy lifestyle you will never have time to do something, unless you actively make time for that task. Create a deadline and you will be moved to action.
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