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Six ways to stop your procrastination habit

Dec 01, 2019

In the run-up to the holidays, it can be hard to find the motivation to push on and get challenging projects and tasks completed. Moira Dunne gives a few tips on how to avoid procrastination.

Many things prevent us from being productive. While some of these things can't be controlled, most of them can. It is essential to focus on what you can change.

First, let’s think about what procrastination will not add to our lives. What problems will it cause? We might temporarily enjoy the freedom of not doing the tough job ahead of us, but eventually the worry, stress, poor performance, bad feedback, and low-quality deliverables will happen, causing more strife than the avoidance was worth.  

Identify the problem

If you want to stop procrastinating, you need to know why you do it. Ask yourself these questions:

  • When do I procrastinate?
  • What tasks/projects cause me to procrastinate?

You should also identify the pieces of work that don’t result in procrastination – this can help you understand what is causing the problem.

There is always a reason for our behaviour, so let’s look at some of the common reasons for procrastination:

  • Low confidence about own skills;
  • Lack of training;
  • Unclear what’s required to complete the task successfully;
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the size and scope of the job; and
  • Lack of urgency.

Five tips to stop procrastinating

Break it down

Figure out the first few steps needed to make headway – break down the bigger project or goal into the initial work or phase. You are more likely to feel motivated to start on something once you can see it in bite-sized, easily doable chunks.

Start simple

Start with the more simple tasks to get you going. Once you feel bolstered by your productivity, switch to the more laborious tasks. The more progress you make, the more your self-confidence will increase.

Get clarification

Ask for clarity about the project or work, or discuss it with your boss or a colleague. Discuss it until you understand what you are meant to do, what resources you have to do it with, and in what timeframe.

Be accountable

Nothing like a little pressure to get you moving! Talk to your boss about what you are going to do so you feel more urgency to dive into it.

No excuses

It’s easy to think of excuses why you can’t do something you are scared of or overwhelmed by – but stop. Make a list of what you need to do and get on with it. No excuses allowed.

Reward yourself

Who doesn’t love a reward for a job well done? Use a special treat to motivate yourself and, over time, you will find that you don’t need a reward any longer. The feeling of accomplishment will be a big enough reward in and of itself.

De-stress

This time of year you have enough to be stressed about, but getting things done is one of the best ways to remove some stress from your work life. Stop procrastinating, watch your performance soar and enjoy this Christmas season.

Moira Dunne is the Founder of BeProductive.ie.