Have you ever sat down to work on something — and then suddenly you remembered that you have a pile of dishes waiting to be washed since yesterday? Or perhaps you suddenly realize that the dogs need to be fed, emails need to be answered, your pantry needs to be restocked — or maybe you thought of a IG worthy dinner?
Next thing you know, it’s the end of the day and the task that you initially tried to work on remains unfinished.
Most people don’t really understand why we procrastinate. Some say that it’s human nature, lack of self control, the urge to resist or something that is linked to how our brain works. Whatever the reason maybe, if you think of yourself as a procrastinator, be sure to check out these 3 strategies that can help you banish procrastination!
- Learn Parkinson’s Law
Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a British author who once worked for the civil service. He said: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Which means that if a task that should only take a day is dragged out for a week, we automatically make that task more complex and end up wasting a lot of time.
Lifehack.org suggests you do the reverse. List your daily or weekly tasks; then cut the estimated time in half. If you give yourself a deadline, chances are, you will find yourself more focused on completing each task.
The result? You’ll end up with free time at the end of the work week—when you can properly enjoy it, guilt-free!
- Tame the Time Stealers
Keep an eye out for “time stealers” — small tasks that nibble away minutes and eventually hours from our days. These usually turn out to be tasks such as checking email, scrolling Facebook, answering the phone while you’re working, answering the door, getting up to make a cup of coffee… and the list goes on and on.
Try this exercise:
Keep a log for a week, and see where you are spending too much time on one particular distraction (for example, you may discover you actually get up to make six or seven cups of tea or coffee during the day, when you were sure it was only three or four).
Repetitive behaviors can become procrastination habits. Tame them by setting a limit to how many times per day you can indulge in that particular activity; or set a time limit—for example, “ten minutes only for checking email.”
Using a simple timer with an audible alarm, such as CookTimer, can help you to stick to your new time limits.
- Create Eye-Catching Prompts
Sometimes we procrastinate by accident. That quick trip to Facebook to ask a key person a question sees us side-tracked by a Facebook friend’s post or doing unexpected customer service, if you’re an entrepreneur (when we’d already scheduled time to do that in the afternoon).
Put up prompts to create reminders for yourself. Make an infographic of your favorite inspiring phrases — or maybe even buy a professionally designed print. Frame it. Keep it on your desk. Or at least print out motivational “reminder” phrases and stick them where you can see them—on your bulletin board; on the wall over your computer; or anywhere that makes them catch your eye.
For example, if you simply need to be reminded to get started, have a large reminder in sight that says “Start right now!” If you need to remember to take care of an important bill or a cancellation, make yourself a temporary sign the day before that says “Pay electric bill!”
And do remember to move your permanent prompts around. Don’t keep them in the same place, or they’ll blend into the scenery in your mind’s eye.
The urge to procrastinate can never totally be eliminated—it does serve a purpose. It’s usually a sign something isn’t right with us. But know what that purpose or reason is, when you procrastinate: And remember that you can absolutely develop effective habits to get rid of those procrastination urges. Start with these three tips and see how that helps you and your company! Be sure to check out our blog for more tips on how you can be an effective entrepreneur!