Procrastination can kill your productivity and add to your stress and anxiety levels – but that doesn’t stop most of us from succumbing to it from time to time. The key is to understand why you are procrastinating and what can you do to break the habit.
Some common reasons behind procrastination are:
One of the most common causes of procrastination is feeling overwhelmed. If you have a large project or many open projects it can be tough to figure out how to break projects down or where to start.
You get distracted
In today’s world, there are a lot of directions to be pulled in. Hopefully, at work, you won’t be distracted by things like binge-watching television or cleaning the house. There are plenty of workplace distractions—email, social media or any tasks that are urgent but unimportant can derail you from accomplishing your goals.
You’re afraid of failure (or success)
Often it is fear that causes procrastination. You may worry that you don’t have the skills to accomplish what you set out to do or don’t have the resources to do it well. Conversely, fear of success comes into play if, for example, accomplishing a large project means you will be expected to perform at a higher level in the future.
What can you do to beat procrastination?
Make a list. Jot down of all your pending tasks or projects. Break down larger tasks into smaller achievable ones. This not only helps you get things done, it gives you a sense of achievement when you check things off.
Block off time. Set aside specific times in your calendar to get tasks done. Use your lists and do your best to accurately estimate how long it will take. Note how long it actually takes so that you can be more realistic next time.
Utilize the Pomodoro Method. Set a timer for focused work. Depending on the nature of your work, this could range from 20 minutes to 2 hours with a break of 5-15 minutes. Walk around, grab a drink or a snack, stretch or go outside. Do whatever it takes to refresh yourself and move onto the next task.
Just do it. Sometimes you just have to plunge ahead, face your fears and get down to work. Sometimes a bit of momentum is all it takes to get yourself back on track.
Get out of your own way.
The most important step you can take is self-analysis. Take a moment to consider why you are procrastination. Is it stress, fear, resistance? You’re most likely creating much more stress than you need to. The longer you procrastinate, the longer you spend in that stressful state.
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