If you’ve found yourself putting off important tasks, you’re not alone. We are all guilty of procrastinating at some point but if it is having a negative impact on your output or your organisation you need to break this destructive habit.
The key to controlling procrastination is to first recognise it, understand why it happens (even to the best of us) and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better.
In a nutshell, you procrastinate when you put off things that you should be focusing on right now, usually in favour of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable doing.
If you’re honest with yourself, you know when you’re procrastinating. Common ways to procrastinate include filling your day with low priority tasks, deciding you need a coffee or water immediately after deciding to start a high priority task, having an important item on your to do list for a long time or waiting until the “right mood” or the “right time strikes.
Another cause is simple disorganisation.
Organised people manage to fend of the temptation to procrastinate by prioritising work with to do lists and schedules. This helps emphasise how important the piece of work is, identify precisely when it’s due and breaks down the work into manageable next steps.
But even the most organised of us can get caught out and procrastinate. So next time you are putting off doing an important job, here are some tips to get you motivated.
Set yourself rewards for completing the task. Promise to do something fun if you’ve completed a certain task and make sure you notice how good it feels to finish things!
Alternatively ask someone else to check up on you. Peer pressure does work.
Or simply identify the unpleasant consequences of not completing the task.
Finally, procrastination is common for a business owner. With so many competing priorities for your energy and time, it’s easy to freeze like a possum in the headlights.
A simple strategy is identifying how important the task is and how urgent. If it’s going to grow your business over the medium or long term then it’s important and most likely non-urgent. Address these first every morning and then tackle the important and urgent. Do this every day and over time your business will grow far quicker and you won’t feel overwhelmed with the unimportant!