We all procrastinate from time to time, and it can be a tough habit to break. Delaying something might feel good in the moment, but if we notice that we’re doing it more often, we’re probably wasting valuable time. If you’re committed to long-term success, you don’t have any time for procrastination. Here are some of my favorite tips to stop procrastinating:
Why Are You Procrastinating?
It’s probably not because you’re lazy. More often, it happens when we’re so busy that we haven’t taken the time to prioritize our tasks. That disorganization can pull us in a hundred different directions. Sometimes it’s a desire for perfection, and other times it’s a fear of failure that has us waiting for the ‘perfect moment’ to get started. Whichever the case, if you can identify the root cause, you can address it immediately.
What’s Distracting You?
When you procrastinate, what are you doing instead of the task at hand? What is it that gets your attention rather than the thing you’ve pushed off? For some of us, it may be a simple distraction like our phone, social media, or our email inbox — and those are easy fixes once we’ve identified them. Whatever the distraction, the next time you feel yourself about to put a task off, pay attention to what you plan do instead of that task. Did the other task need your attention? Could it have been scheduled for a later time? Being honest with ourselves about priorities is an important step to start breaking habits.
Create a Comprehensive Schedule
There’s usually an agenda for our days, either written or in mind, which includes work on the various projects we need to complete, but that’s as far as we get. If you have a tendency to procrastinate, try blocking off set time for specific projects. When we give ourselves a specific timeframe, we’re much less likely to say, ‘I’ll do it later’. It also makes the task more manageable when we can visualize the time we have dedicated to work on it.
I know you’re busy, you work hard, and you have a lot on your plate. If you’ve made the decision to stop procrastinating, go ahead and reward yourself. When you stick to your schedule or get to work on something without putting it off, give yourself a reward. It could be as simple as checking in on a favorite website, stepping outside, or even engaging with something that has served as a distraction in the past — give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to your work. A break is often what we need in between tasks, so that we can return to our next project ready to focus.
Self-discipline can be a habit just like procrastination — the more we employ it, the stronger it becomes. Keep that in mind the next time you have the urge to procrastinate and remember these tips. Hopefully you’ll find yourself back to your work and checking things off your to-do list.
If you’d like to talk more about any of these tips, or if there’s another issue I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to block off some time to connect.
VP – Retail Market Leader