How to Overcome Procrastination and Become More Productive at Work

You are not alone if you have caught yourself npostponing important tasks and duties you should have handled. Almost everybody procrastinates to some degree but for some it affects them to an extent that they repeatedly fail to put up good performances at their job.

Experts define procrastination as occuring when there is significant period between when people intend do a task and when they actually do. In some cases important tasks are put off till eternity never to be actualised.

How do these experts recommend we overcome procrastination and become more productive?

1. Know When You are Procrastinating

Most times when you procrastinate you will know, if you are being honest with yourself. However if you do not actively know when you are procrastinating here are some pointers;

– When you feel your day with low importance tasks ahead of important ones
– Reading too much email when you should be doing some very important work
– Never going halfway through your to do list
– Taking up trivial tasks requested of you by others so you can just avoid doing the real work you should be doing
– Waiting for the right time to do something you should be doing anyway

Note however that putting off an important task for a short period because you are feeling tired or for any other very good reason is not procrastination as long as you don’t delay starting the task more than necessary.

2. Find Out Why You May Be Procrastinating

Procrastination can result from several reasons; sometimes you put off things because you have too much on your plate, you are tired or simply stressed out.

Stress

It’s tough to work productively if you are stressed out, tired or feeling unwell. Reducing the amount of stress in your life is a good point to help you towards more productivity. If you pin-point reasons why you tend to procrastinate then you can find remedies for them.

When you procrastinate because of stress, tiredness etc you should seek to reduce your exposure to stress.

Disorganisation

The more organised you are the better you will be in starting and completing your tasks. Oganised people fare better because they have to-do-lists and schedules. To-do-lists and schedules outline what’s to be done and when. They help you to prioritise tasks. If you plan your day and work out your various duties, allocating the best possible times to allow for completing them you are more likely to be more productive and procrastinate less.

Unpleasant Job

An unpleasant job is one reason why many people procrastinate. If you enjoy your work the tendency to procrastinate will reduce and you are likely to put in more. Most jobs have aspects that are boring and unpleasant. A more effective way to deal with these boring aspects of your job is to do them immediately and get over with them so you can dwell on doing those aspects of your job that really interest you.

If however the job is too unpleasant as to seriously affect your productivity then it may be time for a job change.

Perfectionism

Perfectionists tend to wait till they have all the right tools and conditions before embarking on a project or important tasks. As a result perfectionists might procrastinate a great deal.

4. Fight the Reasons For Your Procrastination

Knowing why you do what you do you will be in a better position to improve yourself. If you have identified the likely reasons why you procrastinate you should be working on correcting them.

Get Organised and Disciplined

If you start your day planned and organised you will notice increased productivity and less procrastination. Plan each task and allow sufficient time to tackle and handle them. Plan things and break them into manageable parts.

The more disorganised you are the more likely you’ll be to put off doing important tasks.

Being organised you still will not achieve much without being disciplined. Discipline is your ability to stick to things as planned even when you have unimportant temptations to deviate and do less important things. The two qualities should work together to help you become more productive.

Use To Do Lists

To do lists are tools for better productivity. In using to do lists be sure not to overload your daily list with tasks and too little time. Try to create a list with the important tasks given priority and allow for enough time to complete them so you wouldn’t have to rush tasks, leave tasks uncompleted and get stressed up.

Your goal in creating and using to do lists should be to complete important tasks and meet set productivity goals daily.

Do One Thing at a Time

A recipy for low productivity and stress is to multi-task. Most times when we think we are multi-tasking we are actually getting too little done and getting stressed up in the process. Focus on one thing at a time, complete it and go for the next and you could be surprised to see how much more you can accomplish.

Eliminate Stress

One way to stress yourself up more is to ignore having sufficient time for recreation/play and rest. Benjamin Franklin suggested the one third strategy for optimal and high productivity; splitting your day into one third work, one third play and one third rest. Things you can do to reduce stress include;

– having sufficient time for play and rest so you don’t get burn out with work
– creating a relaxed and conducive office environment to help reduce stress levels. If you enjoy your office settings and ambience it makes your work easier.
– eliminating stress conditions at home and at work

Get Motivated or Change Jobs

If there are too many aspects of your job that make you procrastinate then the job is certainly not meant for you. While you may not find your job one hundred percent enjoyable there should be a great deal of it that you have no problems doing. Motivate yourself to do your work better and if that fails go look for a new job.

Don’t be a Perfectionist

Understand you are human and that nature also will not provide totally conducive conditions before you work on that task or project. One way to avoid falling into the perfectionism trap is to see important tasks as not one big whole but as a collection of small important steps. A 50 page ebook, for instance, starts with a little paragraph. You have to write that first paragraph and then another and so on till the ebook is completed. Break down big tasks into smaller manageable ones with realistic milestones and starting working on them one after the other.

To remove procrastination from your work DNA it takes more than just motivational talk. You must take the bull by the horns and identify any of the reasons why you procrastinate and work to eliminate them. Procrastination won’t be easy to deal away with but if you succeed you will become more productive, happier, more focused and more disciplined.

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About Paul

Paul Eze is the Co-founder and CEO at NGCareers. He is an avid writer. Connect with Paul on Twitter

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