Procrastination can stop us from getting our work done, hurting our performance at work. Even if we get the work done, we often do it rushed, or don’t put everything we have into the job, resulting in substandard results. It can cause us to take longer than necessary, making us work longer and cutting into other things we want to spend time on – like exercise, hobbies, relaxing, and time with family.
Procrastination is a waste of the precious few hours we have on this Earth. It increases stress levels – we think about what we’re not doing when we’re not doing it. It can prevent us from achieving our goals and can hurt our self-esteem. When you procrastinate long enough, you begin to believe you are lazy, incompetent, undisciplined, maybe a loser. It can be difficult to stop yourself once you slide down this slope. It can prevent us from ever going after your dreams.
Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. ~Denis Waitley
When you are conscious about it, it won’t fail. It’s when we let procrastination happen without thinking that we get beat. Get off your butt and start going after your dreams. Follow the steps below to help you to deal with and prevent procrastination.
1. Choose an important task. And be sure you really, really, really want to do it. Find something about it that excites you. Seriously – don’t skip this step. Motivation vs. Procrastination. It’s the great battle of the
workplace, of getting anything done in your lives in general. If you’re unmotivated, you’ll procrastinate. If you find your motivation, you will beat procrastination. It’s often that simple. If you procrastinate on a task or project, often this is a sign that you aren’t that motivated to do it. That might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people realize this but don’t do anything to increase their motivation.
The first question to ask yourself is: Do you really want to do this?
2. Make it the first thing you do today, before checking email or anything else. Some times of day are better for getting your important tasks done than others. I love getting things done early in the morning, while Tim Ferriss (of 4-Hour Workweek) finds late at night to be his most productive time. There’s no one time that works best for everyone. I’ve tried working late in the evenings, and it didn’t work for me: I couldn’t focus and ended up doing very little. The rhythms of my body and mind dictate that mornings and early afternoons are the times when I have the most energy. If you don’t know your best time for getting important tasks done, experiment.
Once you find the time(s) that works for you, make the most of it! Don’t schedule anything at this time if possible, and block it off as an uninterruptible appointment to do your important work. Before the time block, prepare: set up the task(s) you want to do, clear your desk and computer, turn off the phones and notifications.
Don’t squander your best time!
3. Keep things simple – don’t mess with tools, formatting, anything, just start. Clear away everything that stands in the way of doing. Including turning off the Internet.
4. Just get started. Overcome the initial barrier by diving in. Tell yourself you’re just going to do 10 minutes. Forget about perfection. Just start doing it, and fix it later.
5. Reward your 10 minutes of work with a few minutes of doing something you enjoy — have a cup of tea, stretch & go for a walk, check Facebook or your news sites, whatever you like. Put a timer on this 3-5 minute reward, or it can stretch to an hour!
6. If you keep procrastinating, re-evaluate whether you really want to do it. Consider not doing it, or putting it on the back-burner.
7. If all else fails, just take a nap or go outside and enjoy the outdoors or do nothing. Life isn’t all about productivity. Do less.