6 Tips to Beat the Procrastination Habit

Does your procrastination habit cause you unwanted stress? Do you need the pressure of a deadline to motivate you then you are putting your health and your productivity at risk?

Leaving something to the last minute creates an adrenaline rush and research suggests that leaving things to the last minute results in:

  • poorer quality work. This is because the pressure creates a fight or flight response and your eye goes towards survival rather than rational/logical thinking.
  • work that you are unable to review or improve upon so close to the deadline, which increase your chances of errors.
  • less ability to manage any unexpected demands on your time as you move closer to the deadline.


If you are in a continual cycle of crunch time at work and find yourself asking the question “Why didn’t I start earlier?” then these 6 tips enable you to break the procrastination habit.

1. Beware of your procrastination habit

Whether it is cramming or leaving things to the last minute, often by simply becoming aware of your habit and the stress and loss of effectiveness that result, helps to beat procrastination.

procrastination habit

2. Is the task important with a long-term deadline?

Ask yourself if the task is important with a long term deadline? The procrastination habit occurs mostly with these types of tasks.

Why?

Because tasks with a long-term deadline are easy to put off and because they are important they won't go away.

In other words, important tasks that are left will eventually become urgent, and must get done.

For example,

  • staff training is important but becomes urgent if put off to the extent that staff are become not capable in their jobs
  • computers and technology are not upgraded until they crash.

Proactive time management helps you to overcome procrastination and increase effectiveness.

Activity: Identify the important tasks
Look at the time management matrix and identify what projects/tasks are in quadrant 2. These important tasks that have a long-term deadline are the ones that you are most likely to procrastinate on until they become urgent. Once identified use effective time management to ensure you get them done.

3. Draw up a pro's and con's list

Often a task left to the last minute is something that you want to avoid or are not interested in.

By drawing up a pro’s and con’s list you look at the task in a more objective manner.

4. Divide and conquer

The procrastination habit is rife with those big projects that seem insurmountable.

If this is your cause of procrastination then it is important to break the task into smaller bite-sized pieces that are not so overwhelming.

This procrastination template enables your to break the tasks into smaller tasks, arrange the tasks in a logical sequence. This is quite similar to the development of an action plan for personal goal setting.

5. Develop a sense of urgency

Procrastination is putting off things for tasks that are of lessor importance. The opposite of this is to create a sense of urgency to get the task done.

Whether you set a high priority for the task in your to do list or use these procrastination strategies to raise the profile of the tasks in your consciousness, the task is more difficult to avoid and gets done in your most productive time.

6. Schedule your time

Planning your work and then working your plan is a critical tool of time management.

However the maintaining the rigor of the calendar is a tough thing to do if you haven't set up a time management schedule that respects your time and energy.

While planning your work is important it is just as important to congratulate yourself of for achieving small tasks that you have planned as this positively reinforces your new behavior.

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