There’s something you have to get done. It’s been on your to-do list for a while, but you just haven’t gotten around to it. With your busy schedule and competing priorities, there is always something more urgent to work on and the truth is that it’s a difficult task. So what do you do? If you’re like most of us, you continue to avoid it until the last possible moment and then end up doing a rushed job. Hopefully, it’s passable, but definitely it will not be your best work. Procrastination can significantly limit the potential of both you and your business. It might be costing you more than you realize. Here are some tips that will help you break this bad habit:
Decide on your priorities. What do you need to get done right now? Choose one or two tasks that are your top priority and don’t do anything else until they are completed. If another urgent task comes up, you can either move it to your top priority or put it aside until your first task is finished. The key is to be deliberate about how you are spending your time.
Break it down into steps. When there is a big job to do, many of us get overwhelmed and avoid it completely. You may find that it helps to break the job down into steps, and to just focus on one task at a time. You can even tell yourself that you will work on the task for ten minutes and then you’ll take a break. Often the toughest part is just getting started.
Eliminate distractions. What are your favourite time wasters? Social media? Video games? Talking on the telephone? Television? We all have a resident time thief and chances are you know what yours is. Remove the temptation by turning off your phone, television, computer, or whatever your vice is.
Approach it in a different way. If you are finding it difficult to get started, it might help to work on a different part of the task. For example, if you are writing a report, could you start by doing research, or planning the outline. Sometimes when you approach a task in a different way, it feels less overwhelming.
Stay focused on your goals. Why is this task your biggest priority? What will this task do for your business? Reminding yourself why you are doing all of this is helpful because it keeps your attention on your goals and reminds you how the work you are doing today will help you achieve them.
When we procrastinate, we are essentially burying our head in the sand and hoping that the difficult task will just go away. It won’t and putting it off only makes it harder. You may have to force yourself to get started, but once you’re engaged with it, you will find that it’s easier than you thought. If you can successfully overcome procrastination, it will significantly contribute to your productivity and success.