6 Easy Tips To Help You Stop Procrastinating (NOW!)

There’s a set of drawers in my office.  They’re pretty tidy and ordered, but one – the bottom one – is a disaster zone.  It’s stuffed full of things I don’t want to get rid of, unfinished projects, lists I have compiled and old photographs.  I’m not sure as yet when I’ll get around to sorting it.  It’s quite possible that I never will.  Is it just lack of time that stops me completing this task?  How can I actually finish what I start?

Ready to learn how to stop procrastinating? Here’s some advice I’ve picked up for those of you in a similar situation.

1. Focus on the benefits

First and foremost, it really helps to focus on the benefits that finishing the task will bring. This will help to motivate you. Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the task itself, whether it’s a huge pile of papers that need attention, or a difficult conversation you’re putting off. It might be time to change the way you’re approaching this difficult task. Don’t focus on how challenging it will be to deal with the problem, but think instead of how much you have to gain by completing it.

2. Make a plan

Make a detailed list of everything you need to complete this challenging task. Include what specifically needs to be done and, if appropriate, who will be helping you.

Spend some time thinking about what the key milestones are going to be. Giving yourself these interim targets will really help to motivate you through tricky patches. It’s important that you can measure the progress you’re making.

3.  Deal with obstacles

Every plan has difficult elements that need to be overcome. These will probably be the very problems that discouraged you from completing the task in the first place.

You need to tackle these elements head on. Consider alternative methods to work around problems.  Ask others for help and advice. Above all, don’t let obstacles prevent you from moving forward and making progress. Don’t give up at this tricky stage. Set yourself milestones for success and quality, with dates to review your progress.

 

4.  Maintain quality

It’s easy to rush through a task, bask in the glory of having completed it, only to be left with a niggling doubt at the back of your mind.  You need to ensure that you complete this task to the best of your ability, or you’ll never be happy with it, nor be free of it.  If you’ve finally got yourself organised enough to tackle the problem, it’s worth doing it properly.

5.  Get more resources

Early on in the project, you should have identified people who you could call on to help you.  If you still feel that you’re struggling to complete this task, it may be appropriate to call them in.  Explain the benefits of the project to them and ask for their views and feedback.  It all helps you to move nearer to completion of the task.

6.  Celebrate!

When you’ve reached your last milestone and have completed the task you’ve been avoiding, it’s time to celebrate. Allow time to enjoy the benefits that you hoped to have on completion of the project.  Tell others that it’s a completed task, and let them know if there are benefits that they, too, can enjoy.

Celebrating reinforces the chance of future success, too.  You’ll be in a very positive frame of mind, which will set you on the right path to completion of future projects.  Learn from the success of this one.

 

And if you’re still procrastinating and having to complete tasks in a panic, take comfort from the words of author Rita Mae Brown, “I it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”  Now to sort out that desk drawer…

About the Author

Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, which specialises in HR technology and consultancy.

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