Procrastination is a real problem for many people. If you read the headline of this article and said to yourself, “That sounds interesting — I’ll give it a read later on,” you might be the type of worker who’s constantly putting projects aside, only to suddenly be confronted with urgent deadlines that could’ve been avoided. Luckily, there’s a way to break the pattern.
Step one is reading posts like this, which draws from “Not Getting Anything Done? 4 Ways to Stop Procrastinating,” a recent CheatSheet story by Sheiresa Ngo. The awesome advice Ngo offers comes from various authors and experts, and the first piece is to “make a list.” Having goals helps you to stay focused and motivated, and as you tick things off your daily to-do list, you’ll get a sense of satisfaction. Ngo recommends doing the least pleasant tasks first, so that by the time afternoon rolls around, and you’ve got less energy, you’ll be able to keep plugging away.
No. 2 is to “give yourself a reality check” and stop pretending that you have more time than you really do. This is one of those rare pieces of career advice that involves lessening your optimism, but when the optimism is misguided, and you wrongfully believe your expertise in a given area will allow you to bang out a big project in no time, it’s optimism that ought to be curbed.
Ngo’s third tip is to “avoid distractions.” This can be especially important if you work from home, and that giant TV in your living room keeps begging to be watched. In situations like that, Ngo says, the key is to find other places to work, away from temptations to slack off. If you’re in an office, and you’re surrounded by distracting coworkers, it can be harder, but luckily Ngo links to another story he wrote about steering clear of colleagues who slow you down.
The last one is to “reward yourself” for a job well done. Instead of beating yourself up for procrastinating, pat yourself on the back for each bit of progress you make. While you don’t want to overdo it — it doesn’t pay to eat chocolate cake every time you send an email, for example — it’s important to keep a positive outlook and prevent yourself from burning out.