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Practical Ways to Stop Procrastinating

We thought we’d mix things up a bit here and share some tips that are likely to be helpful to everyone, regardless of where they’re at in their careers. 

Let’s tackle procrastination!

Procrastination is a fairly common habit among each of the different demographics, and with abundant technology at our fingertips, there’s no shortage of distractions to keep our minds off our most important tasks. 

In an office or workplace, procrastination can lead to more than just missed deadlines or late deliverables; it can become contagious, and create a domino effect of negative habits across the board. 

The following tips are designed to give you or your staff the motivation to cross items off your to-do lists, and find a little peace of mind. 

Be Honest about Your Distractions

When you’ve got a big project to work on, what is most likely to pull you away from working on it? TV? Your phone? Facebook? Chatting with co-workers? If you can be honest with yourself and pinpoint your most troublesome distractions, you can set yourself up for success by removing them from your work environment. Many internet browsers and smartphones offer programs and apps that put restrictions on the usage of certain apps and websites, which can provide an increased level of deterrence as you try to get your work done. Setting friendly boundaries with coworkers about chatting or shutting your office door when it’s time to work are all great options to try to keep your distractions to a minimum. 

Ask Yourself Why

There are many reasons people procrastinate. Perhaps they find the tasks they need to complete to be dull or uninteresting, maybe the tasks feel intimidating, or maybe they’re worried about failure. Understanding what is getting in the way of completing a task will help you find direction as you try to pinpoint and change your habits.

If perfection or failure is a concern, remember: no one is perfect, and certainly not on the first try at something! Simply getting started on the smallest part of a task is often the most difficult, so setting a timer for 10 minutes and simply getting started can be extremely helpful.

Break It Down

You’ve probably heard this before: taking your biggest, most intimidating projects and breaking them into smaller, easier-to-complete tasks is one of the most-effective ways to break through the barrier of procrastination. 

And it’s true. There’s something wildly motivating about crossing things off your to-do list, whether it’s actually on paper or it’s on a virtual calendar. Once you’ve crossed one or two items off your list, you’ll have made tangible progress on your project, and you’ll have a smaller workload than before. That kind of momentum can have a dramatic impact on your motivation levels. 

Be Kind to Yourself

Burnout and overwhelm are very real phenomena, especially in the workplace. If you can simply admit that you are procrastinating, and accept that it’s normal, you’ll be one step closer to completing the things you’re avoiding. 

Remind yourself that no one ever finishes their whole to-do list, and that completing even one task is progress, no matter how small it seems.