How to stop procrastinating at work in 6 effective steps
Procrastinating is like falling in quicksand. The more you put off difficult tasks by occupying yourself with a distraction, the harder it becomes to crawl out of the habit of procrastinating. It's normal to fall into this habit, but it can become a serious problem if it starts to interfere with your work performance. It can become a vicious cycle that prevents you from achieving greater results. Anyone can overcome procrastinating at work, as long as there is the determination to constantly improve and progress. These 6 tips can help you discipline yourself and stay motivated!
Organise a timeline of your deadlines
By having just one final deadline for an entire project, you're automatically inviting in procrastination. You end up thinking you have plenty of time to spare. You keep pushing your workload to a later date, until the deadline starts looming and panic mode sets in. Avoid this stressful situation by drawing up a detailed timeline with deadlines for each specific task that you need to complete, and sticking to it whenever procrastination becomes tempting. More immediate deadlines should encourage you to act more urgently, so you don't keeping putting off work indefinitely.
Break your goals into smaller doable portions
Ambitious goals and big changes can overwhelm even the most hardworking of people. Break your goals down to smaller bite-size portions that correspond to your timeline's tasks. When you first start working on a project, you don't need to know exactly how you're going to get to the finish line. Focusing on the next few steps, and letting later steps come about naturally, will keep you motivated to tackle tasks consecutively, rather than all at once.
Change your working environment
Your workspace can truly enhance or destroy your productivity, depending on whether or not it is conducive to the way you enjoy working. This doesn't mean that you need to completely refurbish your office, but minor changes can make a huge difference. Plants, colourful stationery or furniture pieces, motivational quotes and other meaningful memorabilia can brighten up your desk and office space, and your own mood as well. Don't underestimate how inspiring your working environment can be.
Harness any negative emotions
It is essential to understand what is actually causing you to procrastinate, and is preventing you from completing your work. You might be feeling angry at having to change how you work because of large-scale changes being implemented in your workplace. You may be feeling intimidated by the extent of a challenging project. Or you might be feeling down because of a personal situation you're experiencing that is not work-related. You shouldn't ignore these and other negative emotions. Instead, harness them in your favour by releasing them productively, in a way that helps you escape from procrastinating.
Bonus tip: It's common to experience negative internal chatter when you're dealing with a daunting task. This form of self-doubt can drown out your motivation and lead you to procrastinate. Try to counter-defeat it by mentally repeating positive truths that will encourage you to keep moving forward.
Reward your own progress
Sometimes, rewarding yourself can be the perfect push towards persevering. It's important to celebrate your own efforts and progress. It can boost your self-confidence, encouraging you to finish a project to the best of your abilities. Whether it's a pampering session at your favourite spa, or a well-deserved Saturday night out after a tough week at the office tackling a huge project, rewarding yourself can incentivise you to focus and work hard.
No matter how hard you work, there will always be times when you feel discouraged and pessimistic. Just beweary of not becoming the mood hoover at the office! Maintain resilience, and resist coming up with excuses for putting off your own work. Remind yourself that you can accomplish whatever is in front of you, no matter how challenging it may be, as long as you put your mind to it. Visualise how much better you'll feel once you've successfully handled your tasks, and once you've accomplished whatever you've been trying to avoid.
Life rewards action. Nothing great can be realised without actioning it. In the long run, addressing the most challenging aspects of your work head-on will increase your productivity, reduce stress levels and ensure better relationships with your co-workers. But most importantly, it will make you a happier employee.
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