Many of us are guilty of putting off work until the very last minute. This is perhaps especially prevalent in college, where accountability is low and one doesn’t really worry about the consequences of submitting work late. We may chalk it up to our laziness, carelessness or lack of organization. But this habit of procrastinating can become a big problem when one is in a professional setting and our delays affect other people.
Imagine that it’s already the end of the day and you still haven’t sent out that important email to your client. You may look back at your day and wonder where the time went.
Procrastination is the act of postponing your work to an unspecified time in the future. We might think that it’s an involuntary habit, but it’s actually a conscious choice we make. Procrastinating at work or home can be a result of internal or external factors. These include browsing social media or daydreaming. These distractions can interrupt our train of thought so we lose our focus and end up wasting our time.
A question most of us struggle with is ‘how do I stop procrastinating?’. There are steps you can take to check yourself the next time you get distracted. Read on to find out how to prevent procrastination.
How To Stop Procrastinating
Often, we don’t even realize we are procrastinating. You may find yourself telling your colleagues about your weekend on a Monday, and before we know it, it’s already lunchtime and you haven’t completed a single task.
To become more productive, you have to first recognize that you’re procrastinating. It could be that you’ve put off a task because it’s not high on your priority list. This isn’t procrastination, this is good time management. But remember, time management is about scheduling tasks effectively and completing them by the deadlines given. If you find yourself putting off work and then scrambling to finish it before the deadline, it means you’ve been procrastinating.
Let’s look at some ways to avoid procrastinating at work:
Make A Schedule
Making a schedule in advance can help you stay on track. This is one of the reasons organizations have Monday meetings to set the pace for the rest of the week. A schedule will help you plan your work and complete it on time. Ticking things off your to-do list will motivate you to focus on your work. Your schedule and to-do list can include tasks like ‘respond to emails’, write the minutes of the meeting’ or ‘attend a webinar’.
Take Planned Breaks
If you give yourself a 10-minute break every hour, you won’t feel the need to procrastinate. It’s important to break the monotony of a workday with friendly conversations with your colleagues or a few stretches. Once you’ve enjoyed your break, you can return to work energized and refreshed. Think of these short breaks as a personal reward for your effort. They will motivate you to work harder and be more productive.
It’s better to get rid of distractions at the workplace so you can finish your work on time. As much as we love to check social media for updates, it can really eat into our time. Now that smartphones have screen time reports, we can easily track the amount of time we spend on social media and then make the necessary changes. A colleague may want to discuss a personal issue. Conversations like these can impact your schedule. Try to restrict such interactions to your breaks so you can focus on your work.
Check Your Progress
It’s important to measure your progress against your daily objectives. Keep track of how far you’ve come and how much further you have to go. This will motivate you to perform well. You’ll end up saving more time and stay on top of things. Sometimes you get stuck with a problem at the end of the day and have to wait until the next day to ask for help. Checking your progress will not only help you focus, but also address queries as they crop up.
Find A Conducive Place To Work
Some people work better around others, while others need a quiet room to be productive. Finding the right place to work can help you avoid procrastination. This can be an empty conference room at work, or if you’re working from home, a quiet space in your home. If you prefer to work in groups, you can make groups of two or three and work together. The right workplace environment will help you focus on your work.
The answer to the question ‘how to avoid procrastination?’ may not be as straightforward as you’d expect. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t take it one step at a time. From recognizing that you’re procrastinating to minimizing distractions, each step will bring you closer to your goals. Harappa Education’s Leading Self course is designed for professionals who want to overcome internal and external barriers to their productivity. Sign up for the course to learn how to take ownership of your decisions, reduce interferences and work towards realizing your full potential.
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