A common reason for people procrastinating is because they’re afraid of failing at the tasks that they need to complete.

Lots of things can stop us being productive in business or in the workplace. Some things we can control and some things we can’t. Procrastination can really affect our productivity, but it is usually self-inflicted. Let’s examine this further to see what we can change.

Procrastination is stressful

We might enjoy avoiding a tough task at first but eventually procrastination can lead to frustration or stress. It can lead to a rushed job to meet a deadline which may reduce the quality of what’s delivered. And that’s not good for your reputation in business or as an employee.

Common reasons for procrastination

Why do we procrastinate? There is always a reason for every behaviour so let’s look at some common reasons for procrastination:

  • Don’t have all the information needed
  • The task is tedious
  • Not clear what’s required
  • Not confident in being able to carry out the work
  • Lack of training on the job required
  • Not urgent as the deadline is still far away

Why do you procrastinate?

If you want to change, you need to understand your own specific reasons for procrastinating. It can help to identify the times it tends to happen or what pieces of work cause it. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When do I procrastinate?
  2. What pieces of work cause me to procrastinate?
  3. Why do I not like these tasks?
  4. What tasks don’t cause me to procrastinate?

Tips to stop procrastination

The answers to these questions will provide some ideas of what to change. Here are some general tips to reduce procrastination:

  1. Be clear about the work: Discuss the work with a client or colleague. Jot down ideas and identify the first steps to get started.
  2. Set an interim deadline: If the end date is too far away, set daily or weekly deadlines to provide focus and energy to deliver.
  3. Do the first step: Make a start even if you only complete one or two tasks. That helps you feel productive and motivates you to keep going.
  4. Be accountable: Tell someone what you will do by a certain date, so you feel some pressure to do it.
  5. Just do it: As Nike says, just do it. Stop making excuses and get on with the task.

Reward yourself

If it helps, use a reward initially to motivate yourself. Once you break the procrastination habit, you won’t need a reward. The satisfaction of getting things done is a big enough motivator to keep doing it.

Be Productive

Getting things done is one of the best ways to remove stress from your life. Stop procrastinating and watch your performance and business’ success soar.

For other productivity tips on topics like Managing EmailReducing StressManaging Your Attention and Saying No, check our Articles section on beproductive.ie.

By Moira Dunne

Published: 10 February, 2020

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