Six Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Take Control of Your Time

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Volume 19, Issue 1

Six ways to overcome procrastination and take control

According to a recent Wrike survey, 20.8% of workers see procrastination as their biggest productivity challenge. The reasons  we  procrastinate  vary  but  generally  break  down   to  disorganization,  dislike  of the work or  project  at hand, or  intimidation  over  the  scope  of  a  large  project.  While   we can’t make unpleasant tasks more pleasant, we can get organized and overcome  procrastination.  Here are  some tips to help you stay on task.

  1. Focus on starting the project, not on finishing it. Visualizing  the completed  project  can be  overwhelming. If a  project feels  overwhelming,  you’re  likely  to  ignore  it.  Instead, begin by breaking the project into pieces by putting only the next step you need to take on your “to-do list”. This will allow  you  to  focus  on  just  what  needs  to  be  done today instead of worrying about what needs to be done overall, and will help make even the most overwhelming project simple to tackle.
  2. Start anywhere. If the project doesn’t require a strict workflow, try a non-traditional approach.  You  can do the  steps  that  interest  you  most,  or  the  easiest  step, first. Making forward progress will help motivate you to tackle the harder, less desirable steps. With a few steps completed, you’ll pick up  momentum and  start  to  get excited about the final outcome.
  3. Schedule project-specific time with yourself. Chronic procrastinators are particularly over-optimistic  about their  ability  to  work  well  under  tight  deadlines,  often forgetting   to   take   other   obligations   into   account. Instead of letting a project go until the last minute and rushing through the work all at once, schedule time on your calendar throughout your normal week to dedicate to the project.
  4. Try the Pomodoro technique to focus: Set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to working without distractions during that time period. Afterwards, set the same timer for 5 minutes and take a guilt-free  break.  Repeat this cycle until your scheduled project time is finished. Doing this yields an impressive 50  minutes of productive, focused work per hour!
  5. Get an accountability partner. Not all peer pressure is bad, so   use   it   to   your   advantage.   Partner   with   a coworker or colleague to provide accountability for key projects by checking in with one another at designated times. Having someone, other than yourself, to hold you accountable will help you stay focused.
  6. Create accountability with a coach. If chronic procrastination is hurting your career, consider working with a PAS coach specializing in productivity and time management for support in creating and sustaining new habits.
  7. Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement works, even when you know you’re bribing yourself.  Take yourself out to lunch,  have  a  piece  of  chocolate,  or  take  a  walk outside the office before picking up the next task.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Building new habits takes time. Choose one or two strategies from this list that resonate most with you and work on using them daily until they become part of your routine.

Consider working with an organization and time management coach through PAS to help you develop strategies that enhance your productivity and time management skills.

Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill ~ Christopher Parker

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up some place else. ~ Yogi Berra

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo Da Vinci

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Would your work or home life be  more  balanced  if  you could just get organized? PAS Productivity and Organizing Coaches can help you work smarter, simplify and create order:

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