Imagine you’re sitting at your desk and switching from one open tab to another on your computer. Are you scrolling through your news feed and taking time out for a cup of coffee? Maybe you’re staring at your to-do list or pretending to work. Sound familiar? It’s procrastination at work. Everyone is guilty of it. Even the most diligent employees can procrastinate if they don’t pay attention. While procrastination may seem good at first and save you time and energy, it can quickly become exhausting and stressful.
By applying these five tips, you can overcome procrastination and bring clarity to your workload.
- Prioritize tasks. If you don’t know where to start, identify all the pending items on your to-do list. Rank them from most urgent to least urgent. Consider deadlines, available resources, and phases of the project flow. Prioritization creates structure in the midst of chaos. It can give you a clear understanding of the actions you need to take to complete your task list.
- Avoid perfection. Think about a specific item on your to-do list. Break it down into small steps. Focus on one step at a time. This can reduce the likelihood of burnout because you’re not trying to do everything at once. Free yourself from the mindset of wanting to finish every project “perfectly” or “exactly right.” This will make you less productive and increase tension in an already stressful time.
- Eliminate distractions. Plan ahead. Set aside time in your schedule to focus on certain tasks. If possible, avoid anything that might distract your attention from the task at hand. Turn off your notifications, set times to check email, and use your power to say “no.” Being aware of outside distractions and regulating them will optimize your productivity and keep you on track.
- Find a productive environment. Whether it’s a coffee shop, a common room or a quiet office, it’s important to know which environment best suits your work style. If you position yourself in your ideal environment, you will maximize your performance and likely get more work done.
- Ask for help. We are naturally unsettled by tasks that are outside of our comfort zone, which can lead to fear of certain activities and cause us to put off work. Instead of viewing fear as an obstacle, view it as an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this new task?” and “Who can help me learn it?” Don’t expect yourself to know everything. Everyone has to start somewhere. By asking for help, you can learn new tasks, build relationships, and boost your confidence.