Let’s be honest. Procrastination is a constant battle, especially when it comes to productivity. We all have those tasks or projects that we consistently put off until later (a.k.a. last minute). Unfortunately, procrastination can be your worst enemy. It can hold you back from achieving success and can even hinder your happiness. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help kick start your productivity and actually get stuff done. Below are 5 Tips to Help You Push Past Procrastination and stay focused.
1. Enjoy what you do, even when you don’t.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a job they love. Unfortunately, we all have to make a living and because of this we sometimes end up with a position we don’t enjoy as much as we would like. If you find that you dread getting up and going to work, then you probably procrastinate work tasks a lot more than those that enjoy what they do. Don’t throw in the towel yet, there is hope. You may not love your job, but chances are you can find one thing that you like about it. Perhaps you have a co-worker that makes the days shorter with amusing jokes, or maybe you really enjoy one specific task involved in your job. Find the one thing that you enjoy and focus on it. In fact, find ways to do it more often. If it is a specific task that you enjoy, approach your boss and express your desire to do more of that specific task. Show your enthusiasm and most importantly express how it will benefit the company. By focusing on the positive you are changing your mindset and preparing yourself for success.
2. Get organized, easily.
We have all seen those highly organized people. You know, the ones with the pristine work-space, the efficient day planner, and the color-coded sticky notes. Good news, you do NOT have to be that person to be organized. However, being organized is the easiest way to push past procrastination. Before you rush out to your local office supply store for a lifetime supply of post-it notes or expensive organizational gadgets, try making simple lists that break big tasks down into more manageable ones. Making lists is a great way to put things in perspective and really focus on what needs to be accomplished. Keep your lists somewhere visible, like a cork board beside your desk, so you are consistently reminded of what you need to work on. Also, remember to cross things off as you complete them. There is nothing more satisfying then a completed to-do list.
3. Create accountability.
Have a big project due or a looming deadline? Tell people about it. By sharing your schedule with other you create accountability for your actions. In other words, you will feel more responsible for the final result and be far more likely to stay focused. This idea is simple and it works. It is the basis for many weight-loss programs and anti-smoking campaigns for a reason. When we are accountable to others for our action we tend to work harder and direct our energy in a more productive way.
4. Cut the cord.
Social media can instantly kill productivity. You log on to Facebook for one second and next thing you know you are watching videos of Ukrainian circus bears dancing in bikinis while riding tiny bicycles. In order to avoid the social media monster, who eats productivity for breakfast, avoid it altogether. Don’t roll your eyes yet. You can still enjoy the wonderful world of Facebook and Twitter, in moderation. There is a general rule to being productive, especially when you are working on a particularly difficult or dull task, take frequent breaks. Taking a mental break, no more than 5-10 minutes for each hour of work, allows your mind to rest and refocus. Take this time to quickly check your social media sites or simply relax. If you are opting for social media, however, be sure to set a timer and do not allow yourself to go over the time allotted.
5. Remember to reward.
The greatest lesson you will ever learn to push past procrastination is to reward yourself for a job well done. Remember those lists you created in tip number two? Every time you scratch out something on the list give yourself a reward. It may be a 5-minute break, a special treat or a cigarette. Whatever you choose as your reward, be sure to apply it each and every time you finish a task. When the whole list is complete, reward yourself with something bigger and better. By rewarding success, even when it is small, you are training your mind to focus on the task. This works in much the same way that rewards entice small children, when we don’t like doing something we need a little extra motivation, the reward provides that. Just be sure to stick to the schedule and only reward yourself when tasks are truly complete.