Don’t Wait on This: Overcoming Procrastination
We all procrastinate. We tend to procrastinate even more in the summer because….pool calling!
Yet procrastination can mean:
- You end up scrambling and doing two things at once because you put off one of them too long.
- Feeling exceptionally stressed as you work quickly and hard to get a project done by its deadline because you waited too long. (Yes, it is true that some of us do our “best work” if we wait until the last minute. But that’s SO stressful. Life is stressful as it is; why do we think it’s a good idea to place even more stress on ourselves?)
- You hold up other people because their part of a project can’t be done until yours is finished.
- You become known as something of a flake at work because you wait so long. You may think you’re thought of as a miracle worker, always bringing out something brilliant at the last minute, but that’s a fallacy: people see you for what you are and what you are is flaky.
Don’t wait to rid yourself of your procrastination tendencies
- Try tackling the task you hate the most first.
This may seem counterintuitive. After all, you may be procrastinating because you don’t want to do that particular project.
This tactic works because there’s a lot of power in doing something challenging first. Your brain is fresh and focused at the start of the day. Get that “nasty” chore done and gone! You’ll feel accomplished and energized.
- Get up and move.
Go for a short walk. Do some stretches or pushups. Sitting around all day – as too many of us do at work — makes us sluggish. Moving helps energize us.
- Clean up as you go.
Did you know that clutter can zap your energy? It’s true. So as you work, clean up your workspace: a clean desk is surprisingly energizing.
- Cut a big project into chunks.
Large projects on our to-do lists (or in Slack) can make us freeze up in anxiety: “It’s so much. I’ll never get it done!”
So break ’er down. Break the project into steps, pieces: “this is first, then this, and this is third,” and so on. Whatever works for you.
Determine how long you think it will take to do each step so that the whole project is complete by your deadline.
Of course, if something is due in two weeks and will take 40 hours, you’ll need to work on it for four hours each day. Or, if it will take just two hours and is due in two weeks, you could spend a few minutes on it each day, or two hours a day, or whatever “this is manageable” means to you.
Then do the first chunk (or step or however you’ve divvied it up) the first day, the second, the next, and so on.
- Pick something that can be done in 5 minutes.
Look at your task list and see if there’s anything that could be done in just five minutes. Then do it. Or work on a longer but small project task for just five minutes.
Don’t be surprised if doing this small task energizes and motivates you, and you continue to work on the project a bit longer.
- Make a bet with someone.
Tell a colleague or friend that “If I’m not done with such and such project by 3 p.m. Wednesday, I owe you a $10 Starbucks card.” Promise your friend that you’ll send the project to them (or you’ll take a picture of the finished chore/task and send it) as proof of its completion.
If you’re procrastinating on looking for a new job…
If nothing looks like a good fit for you, register with us; we constantly receive new openings from our clients, and if you’re registered, we can reach out to you immediately if something comes up that fits your skills and background.