News and Insight

Resources, advice and thought leadership from our experts.

How to Stop Procrastinating

The reasons why we do it might be different, but the act of procrastinating remains the same. Unfortunately, it’s something we all do.

Don’t confuse procrastination with being lazy, though, because the two aren’t the same. Procrastination is very active because you’re making a concerted effort to do something else instead of the task at hand. So, it’s actually more work to procrastinate doing something versus actually doing what you should be doing.

So, how can you keep yourself on track and avoid falling into the procrastination trap?

  1. Write Out a To-Do List

This is the first step to keeping yourself focused on the task(s) at hand. It’s also a way to make sure that you don’t forget to do any of the tasks you don’t necessarily look forward to completing. It’s a great way to empower yourself by checking things off the list and acts as a great motivation tool.

  1. Prioritize Your Responsibilities

This step gives you the organization you need to focus on specific tasks before others. If you’re someone that does better starting with a more significant project, begin there. If you prefer knocking smaller projects off the list first, that’s your starting point. Assign deadline dates to each task to help plan the time you spend on each and when.

  1. Find an Accountability Buddy

If you have someone holding you accountable, you’re less likely to become distracted from your objectives and more likely to increase productivity to achieve them. In addition, having an accountability buddy gives some healthy peer pressure and a gentle push to hit the goals you want.

  1. Turn Off Distractions

Create a habit of eliminating anything that takes your focus away from the task at hand. The easiest place to start is your smartphone. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb or simply turn off the ringer. If the laptop you’re working on shoots off notifications left and right throughout the day. Silence email and messaging apps so that nothing pops up on your desktop, taking your focus away from your work.

  1. Figure Out Your Peak Times

Are you a morning person, setting the world on fire from the moment you get out of bed? If so, get the tasks you find the most difficult out of the way during that time. If the afternoon is more your peak time of day, then identify the tasks that need the most focus then.

  1. Make Technology Your Friend
    Use time-management apps or programs to help keep you organized and on task. Some to consider are Trello, Todoist or Toggl. This strategy is one of the easiest ways to increase productivity and keep yourself focused on what you need to do instead of tempting procrastination.

The act of procrastination can become a minor issue or a major one. Either way, your productivity, and the goals you’ve set for yourself are in jeopardy. So as a place to start, one bonus tip is to make your work environment free of possible distractions.

If you haven’t done so yet, examine what it is that’s actually causing you to procrastinate. For example, are you hesitant to get into a task because you don’t think you’ll do an excellent job or because it’s something you have no interest in? Figure it out and determine what needs to change for you to reach your goals.

Is procrastination something that’s impacting your job or work performance? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out 5 Things to Do Before Starting a Job Search.