Let’s get down to business…now
We all procrastinate every once in awhile. You put off folding laundry, dropping off library books, or sending out that difficult email. But when you put off today what you can do tomorrow, there is more risk involved than reward. The longer you put off a task, the more likely you will never get to it. Procrastination can cause stress and anxiety, a sense of guilt and feeling disorganized and even lead to poor health.
If I’m feeling tired or lazy and don’t want to do something, I usually follow this little rule: If it takes 2 minutes or less, I will just do it now. If it takes longer than 2 minutes, I evaluate what the task is and it’s importance to me or the people I work with. If my library books aren’t due for a few days, I can do it later. If I’m out of eggs or milk, I can grab it tomorrow. If I have a homework assignment due in an hour, I probably should take care of that now.
Everyone handles procrastination differently. Here are a 5 tips to help you crack down and check off those to-dos in an orderly fashion.
Pack your lunch the night before and lay out what clothes you are going to wear. Being prepared from the start sets you up for success for the rest of the day. If you are starting a grueling task, have everything you need to get the job done right in front of you. When you have to get up to get something you need, it can break your concentration and makes it harder to get back to the task at hand.
Break Down Tasks
Breaking down big projects into smaller tasks makes the job seem less daunting and overwhelming.
Write your tasks out. I always keep a notebook next to me to write down everything I need to do that day. I look at it as a way of committing to the tasks – once they are written down, I have to complete them. Plus, it’s extremely gratifying to cross off a task once it’s finished.
Do the most difficult task first. Most of the time, we put off tasks because we don’t want to do them. If you do the tough assignment first, you only have much easier things to look forward to the rest of the day.
Work In Productive Environments
If you really need to get something done with no distractions, you need a productive environment. As hard as it may be, set your phone across the room so you don’t have the urge to check it every few minutes. Also, stay off distracting websites while you’re working. Check out websites like Cold Turkey or StayFocused, which temporarily block distracting websites to keep you from procrastinating.
To stay productive, it’s best to sit at a desk or table, with your back straight and your feet on the ground. Make sure the room is well lit. Dial the temperature to a comfortable setting and close the door to eliminate outside noise.
A little reward goes a long way. Set small goals for yourself. If you work for an hour straight, treat yourself to another cup of your favorite coffee. If you successfully complete a big task, take a Facebook or Twitter break. Positivity reinforces effort and progress. It encourages motivation and provides incentive to keep going.
Ask For Help
Sometimes tasks are just too much for one person to handle alone. Ask a team member to help you with a project at work, or ask your spouse to help you with the laundry or cleaning up.
Another way to ask for help is to ask friends, family and coworkers to keep you on track. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re procrastinating until it’s too late. Ask people to remind you to stay on track if they see you lose focus. Having other people hold you accountable for your actions will drive you to finish tasks.
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