Every day brings a huge to-do list consisting of client meetings, sifting through emails, completing projects, and making several phone calls.
People often complain they feel tremendous pressure, but in most cases, this is because they procrastinate to a point until the due date becomes a crisis deadline.
People procrastinate due to a number of reasons. However, the most common reason for procrastination is that they feel either overwhelmed or unmotivated to perform a job. But, if you want to grow and take your career to greater heights, you must fight procrastination and address lingering issues immediately.
How to Stop Procrastinating
In this post, I will discuss a few tips that will help you fight procrastination and improve overall productivity:
1. Break Work into Smaller Tasks
The bigger the task, the higher the chances of procrastination! This is because people often get overwhelmed when a tough project looms ahead of them. Breaking complex work into smaller tasks, however, can make things easier. By splitting the project, you can focus on a tiny part (of the entire project) at a given time, so you feel more confident and the urge to get it done quickly is higher.
Let’s say you are in charge of coding software. Instead of perceiving it as a big problem, it is best to break it down into smaller modules and then work on each module. Once they are completed, you can combine the modules together to assemble the entire software. However, project management is critical when you work in modules, especially if more than one person is working on a project (which is the case in most situations). Efficient project management reduces redundancy, ensures better communication, and prevents confusion.
You can apply this not only to your work, but to your personal life as well and make things easier for yourself. The idea is to overcome the fear of not being able to achieve something. Breaking down the problem into smaller pieces makes it easier to handle, and you can work proactively and get jobs done in a timely manner.
2. Take up the Toughest Task First
If you want to have a smooth day ahead, start with the day’s toughest task first. Once you get the most painful task out of the way, you will feel relieved and be able to focus better on the rest of the tasks. According to Piers Steel, Ph.D., professor of human resources and organizational dynamics at the University of Calgary and the author of ‘The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Things Done’, “We have a limited and depletable supply of willpower and resources.”
Tackling the toughest jobs when you are fresh and full of energy ensures a higher chance of success. By moving it down on the to-do list, you mess up all other tasks as you constantly stress over the worst one. If you find tidying up your room to be the least enjoyable task of all, start with tidying the room first thing in the morning; or if you need to make a client call that may make you feel uncomfortable, make sure to be done with it first thing when you start working.
By doing so, you will not only feel relaxed but also good about yourself. Ultimately, you will feel more confident and will able to complete the other tasks quickly and easily.
3. Measure Productivity Regularly
Measuring productivity on a regular basis helps you understand where you stand presently and what you need to do to ensure growth. A number of productivity and time-management applications are available that help you measure how constructively you have spent your day. Apps such as 30/30, Wunderlist and Any.do let you add tasks and create deadlines for each one. The apps send regular notifications regarding how close/far you are from your deadline so that you can work proactively.
It also allows you to collaborate, share task lists and manage projects. The apps are available for both iOS and Android, and some even offer a Web version for you to download the version that is most suitable for you.
4. Improve Personal Focus
Improving personal focus is important to ensure you get your jobs done quickly and efficiently. Procrastination comes naturally when juggling a number of tasks, as is the case of most people today who need to manage home, work, children, and more. We tend to delay the less-enjoyable tasks and, as a result, miss deadlines. However, with the right mindset, you can fight procrastination and motivate yourself to get the job done right away.
Here are a few tips on improving your personal focus:
- Plan your day: Make a list of the tasks you need to get done on a specific day. Next, divide the tasks into 15-minute blocks to work on all the areas that need your attention without overlooking the others.
- Set goals: It is important to set simple and realistic goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (or SMART). When you know what you need to achieve, you tend to work more proactively.
- Get rid of distractions: Technology is the number one cause of distraction. Technology causes distraction among students, employees, children, and other groups. Avoiding distractions can help you fight procrastination. For example, when focusing on a particular job, remove all unwanted objects from your work table. Put your mobile phones, tablets and iPads away as well.
Each one of us has procrastinated at some point in our lives. Procrastination can have serious negative effects on your productivity and can slow down growth. It is, therefore, important to take necessary steps that will keep procrastination away.
It may seem impossible to fight procrastination, but with the right mindset and proper planning, you can motivate yourself and improve your productivity, thus ensuring rapid growth.