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6 Steps to Combat Procrastinationon 5 September 2017Posted by Sarah James
We all know the feeling of having too much to do, with too little time to do it. A looming deadline, where if work had been planned and executed perfectly, it would be no problem. But those of us who are prone to procrastination know that this rarely happens. Instead of spending 3 weeks finishing a task, we instead spend 3 nights (the last ones!) doing the same work.
So how can we go about changing that?
Use planning and collaboration software
Lack of correct planning (and follow through) is usually a big contributor to procrastination. When tasks and projects are disorganised the focus tends to be lost, which leads to distractions and less work done.
By using an online collaboration software it’s easy to quickly make plans with your colleagues and get started right away. If the software has some planning tools, such as task and project management modules, this will further improve your ability to see what needs to be done for a project to get delivered on time.
If your work suffers because you are constantly distracted by external factors such as Facebook or email notifications, eliminate them. Set your phone too silent, don’t check your email except at set times. Just the simple task of removing notifications will boost your efficiency and focus in a big way. Especially if you are normally glued to your phone.
A change of scenery can also help, moving into a meeting room, or working from home can cut out many of the everyday distractions we normally find in an office. In the case of working from home there are, of course, other distractions, but make your home office into your quiet place. Tell anyone you are sharing your home with to be respectful of your space and to not disturb unless it’s critical.
If it’s a complex task, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller, simpler elements. This can give you a sense of progress and ticking off boxes even as you do your normal work. Goal completions gives a rush of dopamine, which makes you want to achieve more goals. You condition your mind to WANT to work more. How’s that for a mind trick?
With smaller tasks it can also be easier to get a good overview of a task or project, which can help with planning. If you have a tight deadline, or notice that you are running late, smaller tasks are also easier to delegate or move around.
Take scheduled breaks
Even if taking breaks is exactly what procrastination is about, if they are scheduled, this can be a great motivation. When you are looking forward to a well-deserved break, you can focus on the task at hand and get a reward when it’s completed. And who knows, maybe entering the “zone” will help you avoid the need of a break, and so accomplish more in less time.
“Just do it”
To quote the famous Nike slogan, there are times when it’s time to just get things done. Grab a cuppa, put on some music and just work. Even if this is akin to telling someone sick to “Just get better!”, procrastination is in the head, and you can power through it with an extra burst of willpower.
Get enough rest
If you have had a good night’s sleep, you are more likely to be productive. The brain plays tricks on us if we are tired, and to find that razor sharp focus and keep it for longer periods of time we need to get enough rest.
Even if it’s difficult in a world where distractions are many, aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Also make sure that the bedroom is dark (preferably pitch black) and silent to get the most out of the time you spend there. Avoid screen time before bed, and instead do some reading or engage in a conversation with your partner.
Announce what you want to accomplish to others. This way you will hold yourself accountable for completing it on time. It does not matter if someone really is dependent on your task being completed on time, as long as you imagine that they are. Most of us are wired to not want to let others down, and this can work to your advantage.
Glasscubes is a user-friendly collaboration software for teams. Connect everyone that you work with in an online workspace that improves the way you share files, manage projects and communicate with each other.
For more information, contact us by calling +44 (0)20 3274 2310 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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