How to stop procrastinating and start succeeding

SavvyG-Stop procratinatingWe all procrastinate, putting things off until tomorrow, then the next day, then the next.  But if you’re avoiding important tasks and missing deadlines, your productivity and business can suffer.

That sounds serious.  So if there’s something you’ve been avoiding (and you can’t simply outsource it), what can you do?

Try these tips:

1. Stick to a list

Does it take you a while to get on top of your tasks each day? If you tend to spend the first hour checking emails (or other digital distractions) it’s time to switch habits.

Start every day by listing tasks in order of priority or urgency (or do this the night before, so you can start the actual work even sooner). Then tackle the top task and so on until the end of the day. Move any unfinished, less urgent items to tomorrow. Don’t be tempted to skip some and jump ahead to the easier but less important stuff.

By ticking off the most crucial tasks first, you’ll get more done – and you’ll spend less time worrying about it all.

2. Break it down

If you’re working on a massive project, break it down into smaller to-dos. It’s much easier to face the task of making a phone call or setting up a meeting than ‘write 40 page tender document’ – or something vague like ‘get more sales’.

And give yourself a real deadline, even for those smaller tasks. Not a ‘pretend’ deadline where you can give yourself a ‘pretend’ extension. Commit to it by telling someone (a colleague, client, mentor, partner) you’ll get it done by then. And you won’t want to let them down, will you?

3. Learn to let go

If you’re a perfectionist, you may be procrastinating out of fear of failure. It’s best to be realistic – getting a job done on time is often more important (especially to your clients) than doing it perfectly.

4. Minimise distractions

Online tools can save time – but they can also become huge timewasters! When you’re really struggling to get into a big task, turn off your phone and email notifications or consider using a program that blocks time-sucking websites.

5. Reward yourself

It’s hugely satisfying to tick off a to-do list, but you can add a more tangible reward as well. Treat yourself by scheduling some ‘me time’ – take a walk, catch up with a friend, have lunch away from your desk at your favourite café – and relax because you’ve finally met that big commitment.

How have you overcome procrastination?   What are the jobs you always put off?

Let us know by commenting below.

 

Comments

  1. Excellent points, Vicky, and one of the key elements I’m seeing in my time management group. When I find myself dithering or stalled, I ask myself, “What’s the most important thing I can be doing right now?” That generally helps me refocus.

  2. All great points here! Sure we are all guilty at one time or another of these time wasters lol

  3. Patricia says:

    Great post Vicky. being productive at the same time taking care of self are challenges in deed. thanks for sharing and a great reminder! p

  4. Oh, yes procrastination is my enemy. I love the priority list and rewarding myself for doing the tasks. There is nothing better than just getting things done. Awareness is very helpful.

  5. I am guilty! I love to make the priority list and rewarding myself works great. When I promise myself a treat I normally overcome my resistance.

  6. Beth Niebuhr says:

    Very clear and useful points. I’m guilty of procrastination but I do love crossing out the items on a list when I have completed them.

  7. Heather says:

    I have a daily to-do list that I keep by my desk or on my phone when I am out and about. I keep looking at it and it helps me determine whether the activity that I am doing is taking me farther away or closer to my goals. Great post.

  8. All very good tips – especially when it comes to a list and minimizing distractions. I need to get back into the habit of implementing to-do lists, so thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  9. Patricia says:

    Great read! I find lists very helpful! thanks for sharing! 🙂

  10. Crystal Peterson says:

    Great post Vicky! You provided so many good points but the ones that stook out most to me were making a list and breaking it down. Like many I struggle with procrastination and I will be implementing these tips so that I’m getting the most out of my days!

  11. Lorii Abela says:

    I used to have this problem and then I decided that whenever I felt like procrastinating, I will think about my reward after. So I agree with you on this 100%! Thank you for sharing this.

  12. Heather says:

    this post is timely for me—- today I actually tackled some things I’d been procrastinating! Go me! 🙂 thanks for the tips!

  13. I am big on the lists.. but like the break it down part too. Sometimes we never know where to start and which piece to bite off first, so we procrastinate and end up doing nothing.. which doesn’t help either. Great job.

  14. PROCRASTINATION… the sworn culprit in all the things left undone and I certainly agree that this must be avoided at all costs. Good thing you gave a list of tips to avoid this. I specifically like #4. Thanks Vicky!

  15. Mona says:

    Learning to let go? Oh yes, I am a professional at that (sarcasm).

    But I am seriously working on it!!

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