Tips on how to stop procrastinating at work

Tips on how to stop procrastinating at work

Time to stop the downward spiral and get the most out of your day!

Learn to value your time and get out of the vicious cycle that’s hampering your productivity. Break your procrastination habit with these helpful tips to put your best foot forward.

Start with your priorities
Whether you’re the kind that makes to-do list or just likes to wing it, you have a clear idea of your top three priorities for the day. So your best bet is to start your day tackling at least three of your top priorities, so that you limit the damage your procrastination causes. Hunker down, focus, and do the tasks that require the most amount of energy before you get side-tracked. You’ll feel a accomplishment for getting them out of the way and you can cash in on that high to get more done.

Grab that frog
This is a variation of the earlier point. Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” The idea is that you do the hardest or biggest task first thing in the morning when your brain is at top speed and you’re better prepared to take on a challenge. By finishing the unappealing task first you’re putting yourself in a more positive frame of mind, which will motivate you get cracking on the other tasks. You can also then get down to the tasks you enjoy more, without any of the guilt.

Convert deadlines into schedules
Trying to get a handle on a big project? Start by creating a timetable with clear, achievable milestones. These milestones should progress towards the final deadline. This way you aren’t dealing with one big deadline that’s looming in the distance. Instead you’ve broken the work up into smaller more palatable chunks that you can accomplish on a daily basis. This will help you develop momentum, boost morale (and therefore productivity), and also create a space where you’re better prepared to handle hiccups. This system also works well for personal goals.

Schedule your distractions
This might sound counterproductive. But it actually isn’t. Spend a bit of time on identifying your distractions. Keep track of how long you’re taking to finish important tasks and other activities you indulge in while at work. Is it social media? WhatsApp chats? Chatty office colleagues? Updating reports ad hoc? Make a list of the distractions that recur frequently. Then schedule them for a designated time during the day, when they’re least likely to impede your momentum.

Steer clear of perfectionism
If you’re a perfectionist, chances are you’re overthinking routine tasks and blowing them out of proportion and wasting precious time. Your obsession with making sure everything is ‘perfect’ can end up being a big impediment to getting tasks done. The harsh reality is that things can’t be perfect all the time and you need to acknowledge and understand this. You need to buckle town and just tackle the task at hand.