Who finds themselves easily distracted and putting things off they know would be useful for them to do? You are not the only one, procrastination is such an easy thing to do especially when we have social media to keep us distracted for hours. What do I mean by procrastination? There are many definitions, for me it is about putting off or delaying, especially something that requires immediate attention. Often it means doing something you enjoy instead of something you don’t but it could mean putting off something important.
Why do we procrastinate?
When we do find ourselves procrastinating it is useful to think about why we are procrastinating and what we are procrastinating over. For a lot of people there are similar themes, I am sure some of these will resonate with you:
- Going outside of your comfort zone, especially doing something new
- Boring tasks, eg filing, admin, paperwork, tax return – who else left theirs until January?
- Trying to make something perfect
- A long to do list and not knowing where to start
While you are reading this, have a think about what you are procrastinating over.
Before we move on and we start telling ourselves off for procrastinating, one thing we should note is that procrastination in itself it not a bad thing. It can be useful at times to reflect to get new ideas or walk away from something and come back to it more focussed. Sometimes it can all be in the timing. However, there comes a point when you need to take action to move things forward. Acknowledge that what you are doing is procrastinating and then take action, whatever small step that will make a difference and start the ball rolling.
What can we do to get things done and stop procrastinating?
First think about what you are procrastinating over and ask yourself if it still needs to be done? Has it got to the point it doesn’t matter any more and if so cross it off your list and move on.
If you still want to do it, consider why you are procrastinating and then think about what could help you to move it forward. Here are some ideas:
- Can your task be automated? What systems could help you get it done more quickly / easily?
- Is it the best use of your time? Outsource what you don’t enjoy or utilise someone else’s expertise
- Are you a deadline driven person? Give the task one if that helps you
- It is too big a task – chunk it down into manageable steps then carry out the first small step
- Schedule reoccurring tasks so they become a habit
- If your to do list looks overwhelming, choose two or three tasks each day to do according to priority, don’t forget to cross things off so you can see progress
The main thing to do is the first small step that will assist in getting it done and then the next one and keep going until it is completed.
And finally, don’t forget to reward yourself as you reach milestones, including the small ones.
Feel free to join my Facebook group, Wellbeing Workout at Work, where I have a supportive community talking about wellbeing at work and we are discussing more around the subject of procrastination.