We’re all guilty of procrastination at times but for some people, it can be a real problem. Putting off work means that, when that due date eventually comes around, employees have to rush to finish, often achieving less than satisfactory results.
Science shows that there are a few main reasons for procrastination:
- Working towards an abstract goal
- Feeling overwhelmed by the project’s scale
- A distracting work environment
- Fear of failure or criticism
- Lack of motivation
- A far-off deadline
So what can we do to increase productivity and eliminate the stress of that last-minute hustle? Today, we’re looking at five ways you can beat procrastination and tackle your work now.
Break it down
Sometimes a task seems so colossal that we are afraid to begin – or at a loss of where to start. By breaking the task as a whole into smaller, more manageable steps, we can follow a systematic process and work our way towards our end goal.
This also means that we can have a better gauge of our progress; as we complete each task on our list, the progress we’re making on the project as a whole feels far more tangible.
Science shows that self-control is a muscle; the more we practice, the better we get. By taking those small steps, you’ll slowly improve your ability to start work now rather than later.
Assess your work environment
Do you have everything you need to complete the task at hand? Are there any distractions keeping you from work – desk clutter, your phone, a chatty coworker?
Determine what your ideal workspace looks like and do your best to make it a reality. It can be difficult sometimes – especially in a busy office or if you work from home with others in the house – but start by identifying which time wasters impact you the most and ways you can mediate them.
Identify your productivity cycle
Some of us are morning people. Others are… not. By identifying which times of the day you feel the most energised, you’ll be able to plan tasks accordingly.
The bigger, more demanding parts of a project or work day can be completed when you’re at your peak, while the less important or more automated parts of your job can be completed during the rest of the day.
Empathise with yourself
Dwelling on past failures and procrastination can often result in more procrastination down the line. By developing empathy for ourselves, we are able to give ourselves permission to make mistakes and understand what is really causing our procrastination, whether it be a fear of judgement or a belief that we are not capable of doing the work.
Studies show that those who are less able to regulate negation emotions and self-evaluations are more likely to procrastinate. Those with greater emotional intelligence who are in better tune with themselves are therefore better equipped to tackle the underlying causes of procrastination to improve their time management.
Recognise when you need a break
In some cases, procrastination can be a symptom of a larger problem such as burnout, anxiety, depression, ADHD or poor emotional regulation. It’s important to tell the difference between the occasional bout of procrastination and a chronic inability to complete your work.
Developing self-awareness of our limits not only allows us to recognise when we need a break during the day to keep up our energy, but it also ensures we can take an extended break if needed to address any underlying issues.
Above all, understanding ourselves – our work habits, our emotions and fears, what motivates us – is vital to combating procrastination.
Our Time Management training course is designed to help enhance employee productivity, building better habits by honing emotional intelligence. To find out more, feel free to get in touch with our team!