It’s Thursday afternoon at 1:00. Your boss is expecting a report from you tomorrow at 9:00. Yet, you know that there is little possibility of meeting that deadline. Every time you started to work on the report, another project came up. Now you are left cramming 40 hours of work into half of that. The entire time, one thought is running through your mind: “Why do I always do this to myself?”
You can rest assured that you are not the only one who procrastinates. However, we all know it usually results in added stress, guilt, decreased productivity, and disappointment. Before we offer possible solutions to reduce procrastination, we need to find the true, underlying reason.
In many cases, fear is a leading cause of procrastination. Perhaps you fear failure or rejection. Therefore, you simply put off handling the project. In other situations, procrastination occurs because you may not realize the importance of the project. Or, you may not realize the amount of time that you need to dedicate. You may underestimate how much time will be needed. Or, in many cases, you may procrastinate because you lack the knowledge or skills to complete the work. You may fear asking for help.
Also, you must acknowledge that you are indeed procrastinating. You are finding minuscule, insignificant projects to put off the most important task at hand. You are pushing it off to a later date, only to find that time has slipped away from you.
If you are currently staring at the calendar and a significant, unfinished project that you have been putting off, use these tips to help you finish on time:
* At the beginning of the week, create a task list. Write down each and every task that you must complete this week, in order of importance. If it is clear what is expected of you, chances are you will manage your time more effectively.
* While you may accomplish 50 small tasks, that one large one is still sitting on your desk. Stop putting it off. In fact, tackle the hardest task first. This ensures that you devote enough time and energy to it. Think of the energizing feeling you will experience when you have successfully completed it before deadline.
* At the start of each day, create a rough estimate of how much time you need to devote to each task. Once again, tackle the difficult things first and get them out of the way.
* Display your task list where it is clearly visible. Don’t try to hide it in a desk drawer to avoid it.
* At the completion of each task, cross it off. As the week progresses, seeing a list with 20 things crossed off and only 10 remaining will be motivating.
* Keep your desk organized. Although it may seem insignificant, if your work area is cluttered, it may seriously affect your motivation. Precious time will also be wasted each time you have to search through a stack of papers.
* Have a positive, optimistic attitude. You know that you are capable of completing the task.
* Acknowledge any shortfalls. If you are lacking knowledge in a specific area or a skill needed to complete the project, it is time to do some research. Ask for help. It is much more embarrassing to not finish a project, than to ask for help. In most cases, you boss will appreciate your honesty and be willing to help.
* After you complete the large task, reward yourself with a little treat. You have worked hard and deserve it.
Although you may struggle during those first few weeks of change, eventually you will find that your new, procrastination free schedule is achieving great results. You are finishing all of your work on time and feel more motivated and inspired. Next time you feel like procrastinating, post this quote on your desk: “Tomorrow Is Often the Busiest Day of the Week.”
About Sozo Firm
Sozo Firm helps startup companies, small to mid-sized businesses & nonprofit organizations thrive through developing and implementing business optimization strategies. Our efficiency consulting addresses business processes, customer service, employees, marketing, public relations, and communication. Our internet strategy consulting addresses website usability, reputation management, social media, and internet marketing. Sozo Firm is based out of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania. Contact our senior consultant, Andrew Jensen, at 800.460.SOZO to learn how we can serve you.