It is easy to say, “I’ll get around to it later,” when there are so many distractions nowadays. Social media, television, and smart phones are deadly for anyone who needs to stay focused on a task. While watching last week’s episode of Mad Men is more exciting than working on a proposal that is due in two weeks, you’ll wish you had saved the show for later when that deadline finally comes around.
We are all guilty of procrastination, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the time spent guzzling coffee in the wee hours of the morning and mumbling about how we should have started working weeks ago. Here are 5 ways to stop procrastinating.
1. Break apart a big project into small, manageable goals.
It’s hard to start working when the only thing on your to-do list is “Complete Budget Report.” Splitting big projects into small tasks helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed. It also motivates you to start because tackling mini assignments is much easier than trying to complete an entire report in one sitting! For instance, you may want to create sections for your budget report:
• Analyze current expenditures from Marketing department
• Create charts and other visual aids to illustrate the current allocation of funds
• Brainstorm ways to reduce spending or to spend more effectively
• Write a report to explain suggestions for reallocation of funds
As you can see, small sections take less time to complete and are easier to manage.
2. Give yourself challenging tasks.
When tasks are too simple and monotonous, you lost enthusiasm. You’ll put off tedious tasks until the end, and when you finally get around to them, you won’t demonstrate your best effort because you’ll feel as if they are not worth your time. To stay motivated, make sure that you set challenging goals!
3. Tell others about your goals.
If you mention your goals, people are bound to bring them up again. They act as reminders that will encourage you to accomplish your tasks! In addition, explaining your goals to your peers can inspire them to be ambitious.
4. Eliminate distractions:
Our worlds are so filled with distractions that a 5-minute break can easily turn into a 5-hour break. Take those distractions out of the equation and they won’t be a problem. Leave your phone in another room and deactivate Facebook. Hold all calls and leave your door closed, even if you usually have an open-door policy. If you’re working from home, give the kids a 1000-piece puzzle and a plate of cookies. Then make your way into your home office and get to work!
5. Switch up your environment:
Spending too much time in one place may actually decrease your productivity. If you’re tired of staring at your cubicle wall, take your stuff into a different room. If you work at home and find that the bedroom is tempting, drive to the local coffee shop and set up a work station there. Go somewhere that inspires you to keep working. Going outside can motivate you and relieve stress!
And now for your ideas. How do you stop yourself from procrastinating?