The task you have been working on for an entire week is finally over, you did it! You managed to beat the clock and get that never ending proposal in on time, wow, it was close! Your next train of thought goes directly to having a break, to relax a bit; you convince yourself that you really deserve it. You know that your work has been piling up all month and if you want to keep your job, you had better do something about it, but you feel caught between knowing what you should do and doing what you feel like doing. After much deliberating, you decide that a 30minute break before you start the next task won’t hurt anyone and off you go!
Procrastination shows up in many different ways when we are working and it can make you feel like you are on a continuous uphill battle if it isn’t resolved sooner or later. If you find that you keep putting off that certain task, you barely meet your deadlines or you feel so disorganized you don’t know where to start – keep reading – here are some tools to help you break down your barriers and to get you moving forward! There may be many different reasons why you are procrastinating, when it comes to time management, it is easier to narrow them down to a few reasons.
You procrastinate because you are disorganized
Perhaps you don’t know what to work on next, so you keep selecting to do the tasks that seem ‘quick and easy’. If you don’t have goals with deadlines or you have lack a lot of clarity in some of your tasks, the easier road may seem to be avoidance. However, if you keep avoiding what you don’t want to face, it will eventually become so big that is not only unavoidable but dangerous too!
• Start working from a to-do list and prioritize your daily actions on your to-do lists. If you become aware of which tasks need to be done and how important they are, versus, not important, you can’t blindly ignore what really needs to be done anymore.
• Plan your week ahead, so you know exactly when you are going to be doing what and you can plan the more difficult tasks for the times you have the most energy in the day.
• Start working with time-bound goals, put a date for all your goals so you won’t have time anymore to ignore them!
You find the task too overwhelming
If you find that a task feels very daunting and overwhelming, I really understand your feelings to want to put the task off as long as possible. When the task seems too vast, it is most likely because your mind lacks clarity and organization to fully comprehend everything that the task entails.
• Break the task down into smaller and more manageable tasks and gain clarity around everything that the task will include. What needs to be done and how will it be done.
• Make an action plan to carry out your plans for completing the task.
• If you are able to start the project with smaller, easier tasks, do that, the moment you get it going it becomes easier.
• Focus on one task at a time and don’t think about everything that you have to do. Keep your attention to the task at hand from beginning to completion.
You find the task boring
Not every task is going to be exciting and challenging, sometimes you have to do the less exciting work as part of your job. The point is that the task needs to be completed, whether you will enjoy doing it or not, that is not under your control. What is under your control is your attitude towards the task.
• Find motivation to do the task well, find something about the task that you can focus on because of what it will mean once you have completed the task and reconnect to the purpose of the task
• Try to look at what you are doing from a different perspective, challenge yourself to make this task enjoyable or ask yourself, is there anything that I can do to make this more enjoyable?
Remind yourself of the unpleasant consequences of not beating your procrastination, how this will affect your future career and work! Change is never easy but sometimes necessary if you want to have a life that you desire. Reward yourself for all the small changes you make as this will give you motivation and confidence to keep moving forward!
If you are struggling to keep ahead with all your work and you find that feeling stressed has become more familiar than feeling organized, you may need to learn some time management skills first. Have a look at ‘The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Time Management’ and learn how to manage your time effectively.
To Your Success!