Ways to Overcome Procrastination

Julie Shenkman
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Many workers must fight the urge to procrastinate every day. Whether you have a presentation to create, a client to impress or a stack of documents to edit, you must learn to overcome procrastination and get the work done. The less you procrastinate, the less stress you feel when faced with new tasks. The following are some effective strategies to help you overcome procrastination, both in and out of the office.

Create a Schedule

Starting on a big task or list of tasks without first creating a plan for the day is working against yourself. To overcome procrastination, prioritize all the tasks that need to be completed, and follow them through to completion. Observe your own work habits; if you notice you are more productive at a certain time of day, schedule the most daunting tasks during that time so you can take advantage of your focus and creative energy to power through them. The scheduling strategy also works outside the office. Consider all of your goals as important meetings or appointments; for instance, add your yoga class to your weekly calendar on a specific date and time. That way, it is easier to stop procrastinating and just go to your class.

Commit to Work for the First 30 Minutes of Each Day

An easy way to let procrastination ruin your day is to put off the start of work for just five more minutes. Five more minutes of surfing the net, checking emails and playing games on your smartphone turns into 10, which turns into half an hour, which turns into a few hours of downtime. This phenomenon has the potential to derail your entire workday. To avoid this, commit to working straight through the first 30 minutes of each day, avoiding emails and non-work-related websites. This requires willpower, but tell yourself it is only 30 minutes to make it easier. After 30 minutes of solid work, you create a good groove that may motivate you to keep it up and overcome procrastination for longer and longer stretches of time.

Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are a major cause of procrastination in the workplace. Between social media sites, constant email pop-ups and notifications, it is a wonder anyone gets anything done. To truly overcome procrastination, you must eliminate or reduce common distractions. Certain software programs such as StayFocusd, Freedom or RescueTime help by completely blocking your access to Internet sites that are not for work. Also, try turning off your phone during work hours to eliminate the distraction of incoming calls and text messages.

To overcome procrastination for good, you must commit to making permanent behavioral changes. This may not happen overnight, but working to continuously develop better work habits and stop procrastinating not only eases the stress in the office, but also helps you reach your goals in life. There is never a time when you are not faced with a challenging or unpleasant task; learning to overcome procrastination helps you tackle new challenges with minimal stress.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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