How To Stop Procrastinating at Work
Staying productive and completing your tasks on time helps you meet your goals and feel accomplished. Several methods can help you avoid procrastination and stay motivated. In this article, we share 12 tips to help you stop procrastinating at work plus ways to identify procrastination.
Tips to stop procrastinating at work
Consider these tips to stop procrastinating at work so you can deliver quality assignments on time:
1. Visualize your goals
Picture yourself completing the tasks on your list. Visualizing the positive and accomplished feeling of meeting your goals and finishing projects can help encourage you to complete them.
Think about the goals you want to meet and the steps to get there. These goals can be advancing in your career or earning a raise. Imagine yourself meeting these goals as you push yourself to finish projects and stay on task.
2. Focus on the end product
While working on your tasks, you may feel stuck as you attempt to make every segment seem perfect. To keep yourself positive and on task, focus solely on finishing rather than complete perfection.
Give yourself a break once you’ve finished so you can return to the project feeling refreshed before making any changes. Your editing and proofreading stage is where you can search for areas that need tweaking to boost the project’s quality.
3. Break down larger projects into smaller tasks
Larger goals can seem less intimidating if you break them into smaller tasks. For example, if you have a 50-slide presentation due and are unsure of where to begin, make a to-do list of smaller tasks and set a deadline for each one. Your first task should be the simplest to make it easier to get started, like researching other presentations for inspiration.
4. Use the two-minute method or Pomodoro technique
Because larger tasks can be easier to finish if you complete them in smaller increments, you might want to try a couple of techniques to keep you motivated. The two-minute method uses the time increment of two minutes to determine how much further you want to pursue a project. For example, if you have a 30-page proposal to write, set a timer for two minutes. By the time the alarm sounds, you may feel so engaged in your project that you’ll want to work on it longer.
Meanwhile, the Pomodoro technique values the use of regular breaks to help your brain focus more effectively. Using a timer, work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. After four intervals of working, take a 15-minute break.
5. Build a to-do list
You’re often more likely to finish tasks if you have written a to-do list. This helps you hold yourself accountable for completing them and reminds you of what needs to be done. Write each task, then sort through them based on their priority level, such as listing ones with upcoming deadlines near the top. This makes it easier to input these items into a schedule.
6. Use a schedule to set deadlines
Inserting your to-do list items into your schedule makes your tasks more manageable and helps you set deadlines. You can either use an online calendar, project management software or a planner. Write down due dates and block off time to work on certain projects each day.
7. Complete challenging tasks when you’re most productive
Many people feel most productive and focused during certain time periods throughout the day. For instance, you may get a boost of energy to finish tasks early in the morning but be less motivated in the afternoon. Plan to complete challenging tasks during your productive moments and simpler tasks like responding to emails when you’re less productive.
8. Remove any distractions
When certain items like your phone are on your desk, it can be easy to pick them up and distract yourself from work. Put your phone away if you don’t need it and remove any clutter. You can also download apps on your phone or adjust its notification settings to block any features that encourage procrastination.
If the environment around you feels distracting, try to find ways to limit them. For example, if employees regularly come to your desk to mingle, let them know when you’re planning to focus on other tasks so they can talk with you when you’re not busy. If you work from home, limit distractions from others by setting boundaries of certain hours you’re able to more freely chat.
9. Work in a comfortable environment
You may feel more productive if you’re working in an environment where you feel comfortable. You can improve your office environment by placing more plants at your desk, bringing in additional lighting or decorating for a more positive and at-home feel. If you work remotely, you can dedicate a certain space just for work to better separate your home life throughout the work day.
10. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
You can feel more focused and driven at work if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Taking care of your mind and body allows you to build more energy and feel engaged. Consider the following tips:
- Eat healthy meals: Nutritious meals and snacks along with plenty of water throughout the day can keep your body feeling energized and ready to complete challenging tasks.
- Practice a healthy work-life balance: If a majority of your time is spent on work, your brain may feel tired and lose its ability to focus. Spend your weekends or evenings on your personal interests. Spend time with friends, engage in your hobbies or just relax by sleeping or watching television. This gives your brain a break and makes it feel more focused after some time away from work.
- Exercise regularly: Working out can build endorphins that increase your motivation. Exercise gets your heart pumping and can increase your brain’s hippocampus, which may boost your memory and learning skills.
- Get enough sleep: It’s best to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to give your brain plenty of rest. You may feel more energetic after a great night’s sleep, allowing your brain to focus more easily on tasks.
11. Reward yourself
Promising yourself a reward when you’ve finished challenging tasks can help motivate you to complete them. Tell yourself something like, “When I’m finished with this report, I’ll buy ice cream and watch my favorite movie.” This gives you something to look forward to and pushes you to complete it.
12. Remember your self-worth
It can be challenging to start on a project due to a lack of confidence or fear you won’t do a good job. Before beginning your task, take a moment to remember your self-worth and positive qualities. Think of past positive feedback to boost your confidence. Even if your project’s end result isn’t what you expect, you’re still a valuable asset to your team.
When a project seems particularly difficult, give yourself a pep talk by saying something like, “You’re a very talented employee and can accomplish these tasks just like you’ve conquered many others in the past.” This helps boost your self-esteem and puts you in a positive mindset.
Signs of procrastination
It’s important to avoid procrastination so you can stay ahead of your work and establish yourself as a reliable and dependable employee. If you notice yourself beginning to procrastinate, you can take action to get back on track.
Here are a few potential signs of procrastination:
- You forget about less urgent tasks. Tasks with quickly approaching deadlines are often easier to prioritize over ones that can be completed at any time. For example, if your supervisor asks you to organize company files and doesn’t give you a deadline, you may put off the task since you know it’s not a priority.
- You’re unsure how to begin a task. You may procrastinate on a larger project because you don’t know the first step. Be sure to communicate with the project manager so you can feel confident in completing your tasks.
- You have a fear of failure. You may feel nervous to work on a task out of fear that your final project won’t be as impressive as you expected. This often comes from setting high standards for yourself that can be challenging to meet.
- You work better under pressure. Some people procrastinate because they feel they perform better when they only have a short amount of time to complete a task. You might enjoy the feeling of racing toward a deadline, which could cause you to work harder.
- You want to complete other tasks first. You might procrastinate your tasks simply because you don’t feel the need to complete them right away. You may be more enthusiastic about other activities that sound more appealing.