Procrastination is a common habit amongst workers, often developed from childhood when they were still students. In fact, research has found that workers spend 122 minutes a day procrastinating, and a prolonged habit of procrastination can lead to consistently higher levels of frustration, guilt and stress. However, there are plenty of ways to overcome procrastination and ensure that you are working productively.
So why do people procrastinate?
Procrastination occurs for numerous reasons. However the most common reasons why people may procrastinate is due to a lack of understanding of the task, not knowing how to start the task, or not seeing how the task is relevant or important to them. These reasons can be easily remedied through clarification, confidence and motivation. Below are four tips on how you can overcome procrastination.
Identify the start of the task
Identifying how to start your task will help you see which part of the work to prioritise first. This is because it gives a clear guide on where to start. Some people procrastinate because they can be overwhelmed by the amount of detail or the large scale of the task and are therefore unsure where to begin. So being able to clearly identify one way to start the task will allow you to direct your focus. Once you have found a way to start the task, it then becomes far easier to finish off your work.
Break tasks into smaller, doable steps
Now that you have found where to start, it is a good idea to break down the rest of the tasks from then on. Breaking down your tasks into more smaller, doable steps makes the work less intimidating to tackle and enables you to track your progress more easily. If the task that you are completing is a long one, then ensure that you are writing down the steps into a planner so you won’t lose track.
Create short and long term incentives to complete the goal
A lack of motivation tends to contribute significantly to procrastination, so setting up both short and long term rewards for completing the work will help incentivise you. If the task is small, then perhaps you will not need a long term reward, but if this is a larger project you are taking on, then setting up short term rewards for progress and long term rewards for completion is an effective way of increasing motivation.
Anticipate plausible challenges and how you can face them
Most tasks can have minor or major challenges throughout, and they often contribute to decreasing a worker’s confidence, which then leads to procrastination. You can avoid this issue by anticipating possible challenges that may arise during the task. Once you have identified challenges, create a list of solutions you can run through to defeat this obstacle. By having a list of challenges and accompanying solutions, you can feel more confident and ready to start the task.