It is human nature to carry out the easiest task first while relegating difficult or complicated tasks to some other time regardless of their urgency. In fact, most of us would choose to do the simple task first, and leave the tough jobs for later. Unfortunately, this tendency to procrastinate leaves important tasks undone until the last moment. This forces us to complete it under pressure as the deadline approaches. The project may even become unmanageable; forcing us to abandon or postpone it.  If you feel that your procrastination habits affect your future prospects, it’s time to get rid of this tendency and adopt a proactive approach in handling your tasks and responsibilities. Here are some suggestions to help you:

Schedule Your Time Wisely:

A wisely planned schedule can help you address your habit of delaying or putting off important tasks. Generally, we are the most energetic in the morning and our energy level goes down as the day progresses. Schedule your most difficult tasks to be completed during the early part of the day. For example, if you feel that you are most focused and productive between 8 – 11 a.m., schedule the more difficult tasks in the morning and work on other tasks after 11 a.m.  However, make sure you keep your task list manageable.  Consider focusing on one task at a time.  

Break It down and Track It:

If you can divide a big project into smaller, manageable tasks, it will reduce the psychological pressure of handling one large project. You can complete smaller tasks, and you will realize that you have already completed a substantial portion of your project. The sense of accomplishment after achieving these small milestones will also help keep you motivated to complete the entire project.

Create a List:

Strategically planning your schedule often implies that you have to make a list of things that have to be completed. Creating a list will also allow you to ensure that you don’t forget about some important items. Once you have a list, you can physically prioritize what you have to do and focus on tasks you have to complete by a certain timeframe. Once those tasks are done, cross them off the list, and get to the easier more manageable items on your list.

Keep Essential Materials Close at Hand:

An organized workplace promotes efficiency and makes you a proficient worker. Spend a few minutes every day clearing the clutter from your workspace.  Use the time to also replenish any supplies or other items you will need to complete your jobs during the day. It’s also a good idea to keep a running list of things you are running out of or will need, so that you can get them before they are required.  Though it’s good to take breaks during the day to get up and stretch, schedule your breaks so that you don’t have to keep getting up as this will make you quite unproductive.

Reward Yourself:

Though completing tasks on your list is great, go the next step and promise yourself a ‘treat’ when you reach a milestone.  Invite friends for dinner or go splurge on a treat for yourself.  Sometimes knowing that this special reward is coming is just what you need to finish that last 10% of the job!    

Remember the goal is to stop procrastinating but at the same time, don’t stress yourself out. Make a list, if something is not really that important, drop it from your list.  At the end of the day, re-evaluate and make note of things that are not done and start fresh the next day.

Image Source: Wikimedia