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How to Stop Procrastinating

Have you ever had a task to accomplish, and suddenly morphing into the master of procrastination seemed like the best solution at the time? We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a work project you’re looking to finish or homework that’s needs to be done, everyone at one point or another has procrastinated on their way to completing a task. Procrastination can cause unneeded stress and be costly when it comes to your job or career. So, here are 7 ways to avoid procrastination.

  1. Implement Time-Management Strategy – The first thing you need to do is determine the amount of time you have to complete something. Take the overall time and break it down into segments. Knowing how much time you need and how the time will be spent gives you a sense of control and fewer opportunities to procrastinate.
  2. Organize and Prioritize – It’s not just about organizing your time; you need to organize your thoughts. Once you have an idea of how something will get accomplished, it’s time to prioritize the sequence in which it makes sense to finish it. Create a list of the tasks on your plate and figure out what order you plan to tackle them. When you see your to-dos in black and white, adding procrastination to the list becomes overwhelming.
  3. Avoid Distractions – Whatever usually distracts you, silence it. Whether that’s your phone, email notifications, your children (within reason), focus yourself on the task on hand. Also, know when you’re most productive. Do you hit the ground running in the morning, or do you perform better after a portion of the day is behind you? Set yourself up for success.
  4. Call Yourself Out – Holding yourself accountable is crucial to avoiding procrastination. We all know when we’re doing it, so be an adult and stop. While it can be tempting to do other things besides “work,” take responsibility for what you should actually be spending your time on. Not enough willpower? Ask a co-worker to hold you accountable.
  5. Step Away – Staring at a computer screen or the same stack of papers for hours on end can get monotonous. Stepping away for 10-15 minutes every few hours helps you recharge and refocus on whatever it is you’re working on. Take a walk, do squats in your cubicle, listen to part of a podcast, do whatever it is that allows you to increase your focus and reduce stress.
  6. Set Your Own Goals and Deadlines – If you have a big project, break it into small segments to complete and set deadlines for each. Sometimes if a task seems overwhelming, you might be more apt to avoid it. When it’s broken into pieces that are easier to digest, it’s simpler to attack and stay focused, especially when you attach an end date to it. Don’t fall into the cycle of saying you’ll do it “tomorrow.”
  7. Celebrate Yourself – Give yourself a light at the end of the tunnel to work towards. There’s no harm in incentivizing yourself to stay on task and reward yourself at the end. You can do something as simple as looking at the things you like to do when you are procrastinating and reward yourself with that, whether it’s scrolling through a chosen social media channel, watching a favorite TV show, or partaking in the hobby of your choice.

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? And what do you do to break yourself out of that mode? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Your Losses.