I once knew someone who was a master procrastinator. He loved procrastinating. He procrastinated too long in submitting a proposal that could turn around his business. On the due date he realized his mistake, and quickly compiled the proposal. Then he found out that a courier service would take 24 hours to deliver the proposal. This would mean his proposal would be late. In the end, he personally flew to a neighbouring country to submit it on time! Needless to say, because his proposal was hastily slapped together, he was not awarded the contract. He had however, wasted a whole lot of time and money.
Although this is an extreme example, procrastination can lead to all sorts of problems in a business. We all procrastinate at some time or other.
Is there any way to overcome procrastination? Some ideas are listed below:
- Say to yourself: “I can do anything for 15 minutes.” Often starting a task is the most difficult part. Once you are in motion, it is easier to stick with it.
- Do the task you dread doing first thing in the morning. Not only will it be behind you, but you will have a pleasant feeling of accomplishment all day.
- Work with the time available to you. (Procrastinators tend to have an unrealistic perception of time). If you estimate that a project will take 10 hours to complete, break it up in to manageable pieces. Write down each detail of the project, so that when you have a 5 minute break, you can quickly scan the tasks and make a phone call, or schedule an appointment, etc.
- If you really don’t have time for a task, rethink your priorities. If something is important enough to you, you will find the time to do it, even if it means getting up 30 minutes earlier in the mornings to fit it in.
- You don’t always have to start at the beginning of a project. Sometimes starting in the middle makes it easier to go back to the hardest part.
- Set small deadlines for yourself, and reward yourself after reaching each deadline. After the project is completed, you can have a bigger reward.
- Ask yourself if there is a simpler way to do it. You could be making the task more difficult than it is.
- Ask yourself what the worst is that could happen if you do the task. A day enjoying the fruits of your productivity is better than a day wasted thinking how you’d feel about doing the work the next day.
- Tell someone else what your deadline is. Being accountable to someone else is often enough motivation to get it done.
- Remember you are not the only person that can do the job well. You can delegate it or hire someone else to do it for you.
What works for you? If you have any good tips on overcoming procrastination, please share them with us in the comment section below!