How Mastering Procrastination can Change Your Life
Procrastination is the natural enemy of productivity. Waiting until the last minute to complete a project can result in incomplete or mediocre work, especially if the task is more labor-intensive than you anticipated.
While almost everyone procrastinates from time to time, chronic procrastination can have major consequences for your professional performance. You understand that procrastination is terrible, but how do you overcome it?
Start With the Most Difficult Part
Every day, start with the most difficult task. There are no excuses. Warning: "hard" rarely refers to technological difficulty. It's the conflict, reflection, writing, or having a challenging talk that you're avoiding. The remainder of the day feels like a gift once you've finished it. Really! Procrastinators become evangelists because the results are so addicting. It also helps to align attention and action with values.
Work in Short Bursts and Make Some Time for “Rest”
Work in 40- to 60-minute increments, with a "rest" interval in between. If finding time to rest on days with back-to-back meetings seems difficult, consider scheduling time to rest and prepare for your next assignment either before or after the meeting. This could imply holding a meeting at 1:05 or 1:10 p.m. rather than at the top of the hour.
Get Rid of Distractions
Many people find that social media and other forms of communication interrupt their work environment in this age of digital distractions. Turn off all electronics and, more importantly, arrange your work to avoid becoming sidetracked. Estimate how much time each objective and/or project will take you and put that time on your schedule.
Get Some Things off Your Plate, by Automating or Delegating
"Should you even be undertaking this task?" is always my first inquiry. When someone procrastinates on a task, it's usually because it's not in their wheelhouse or something they're enthusiastic about. My advice is to get these activities off your plate so you can concentrate on initiatives that excite you and put your genuine abilities to the test.
Consider What the “Future You” Could Say
We all suffer from procrastination at times. I've found that scheduling everything I intend to do and then surrendering completely to my calendar works best for me. "What will you say tomorrow?" I ask myself this when I find myself disregarding a calendar alert for a task. If "present me" prefers to surf Twitter, perhaps "future me" will weigh in. In most cases, future me comes out on top!
If you're a chronic procrastinator, you're used to saying "yeah, but." Chronic procrastination is characterized by conflicting thoughts regarding a desire. Focus and productivity come naturally when you choose thoughts that are in line with your goals and objectives. It's like getting into your car and wanting to drive somewhere. You drive in that direction to get there; you don't go anywhere else. You can learn a lot more by reading the famous book called “Think and Grown Rich” by the successful author Napoleon Hill.
This article is part of our Business Coaching blog series. At Dataczar we talk to a lot of small businesses. We’ve found a few books that we keep recommending time and again. To better help our customers, we’ve added a Reading List for Small Businesses to our website. We encourage every small business owner to read and keep these timeless business books on their office shelf.