3 Ways to Beat Procrastination Before It Sets In
Procrastination is the curse of anyone that tracks billable hours. We exchange important, high value tasks for easier, low value tasks and while this kind of job swap keeps us “busy”, it’s the thief of time and energy!
The first step in tackling procrastination is to recognise when you’re faffing about:
- You sit down to start an important task and you immediately stop to make coffee
- You wait until you’re in ‘the right mood’ before you tackle an important task
- You fill your To Do list with unimportant tasks (or busy work)
- You lose hours reading blogs or updating social media
Did you nod your head to any of these? I did! I had a serious case of “the avoiders” last week and I couldn’t afford to waste time. I had looming deadlines and a list of people to call and yet the vacuuming seemed strangely appealing.
Here are my top 3 tips to avoid procrastination before it sets in and sucks the productivity out of you!
1. Make a list.
This one was the general consensus on Facebook and is the cornerstone of an organised mind. The trick is to not fill your list with unimportant jobs that just make you feel busy.
2. Prioritise the list.
When we make a list there is usually at least one task that gets moved to the bottom. Sometimes it’s important but not urgent, and we’ll avoid it by doing all the other tasks first. This is still procrastinating although I call it productive procrastinating.
Put these hard/irksome jobs at the top of your list and do them first. When you bite the bullet and get them out of the way, you can enjoy the rest of your day with a lighter load.
3. Break it down.
Sometimes the task we’re surreptitiously avoiding is unpleasant or nerve-racking or it’s just so big that it’s daunting. If this applies to you, break it down into smaller but relevant tasks. It will get you in the zone and keep you on track.
And if you are trying all these tricks and you’re just not staying on plan, take a break. You probably need it! Clean your desk or go for a walk but only for a specific amount of time and when you come back, tackle that job first. Okay so that’s technically 4 tips.
Remember: Don’t get distracted with small, easy and unimportant jobs that just keep you busy! If the task you’re doing doesn’t move you towards your goal, it can wait.
Do you have tips to beat procrastination before it takes hold or do you just go with it?
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Image thanks to comedy_nose (Flickr)