Shemeka Brathwaite, MSED is a peak performance strategist, keynote speaker, and coach. She is often invited by organizations, associations, and educational institutions to provide inspiring programs on productivity, leadership, and executive presence. Her immersive training programs help professionals learn how to implement new systems that streamline the demands on one’s time, so they can achieve more at work, increase their influence, and live intentionally.
Is procrastination a serious challenge in your life? Admittedly, it can be difficult to do things we don't want to do.
Even when we know that waiting too long will create a lot of challenges, getting started can still seem impossible. Unfortunately, when procrastinating affects your job-related tasks, it can have a negative impact on your professional career as well.
So how can you kick this annoying tendency to put things off and start getting them done instead?
Try these strategies:
1. Schedule when you're going to do it. Make an appointment in your calendar for the day and time you're going to work on the task. This is far more effective than just leaving everything up in the air until the right moment seems to present itself.
2. Consider scheduling just enough time to get started. A long, unpleasant task can be very difficult to start. Think, "I'm going to work on this for 20 minutes." That's easy enough that you should be able to sit down and get busy. Interestingly, once you get started, you'll probably spend a lot more than 20 minutes on it. Getting starting is the tough part.
3. Break the task into smaller parts. Larger tasks can seem overwhelming. By dividing the task into manageable parts, it will be psychologically easier to tackle the project. It's easier to do 10 small things than one big thing.
For example, once you've done five small things, you know that you've completed five things, instead of just starting on the one big thing without deriving any sense of accomplishment. So break that task down into smaller bites.
4. Which part is the most dreaded part? Frequently, there is a small part of the task that is really holding you back. Is it possible to get someone else to take care of that part of the task for you? Can you outsource it? Many times, if someone else handles the part you dread, everything else will fall into place.
5. Pick the best time to do it. We all have times of the day that we're better at certain tasks. We have times when we're better at concentrating, others when we're more creative, and other times when we have more energy. What's the proper time for you to tackle the task? Do you need quiet and privacy? Do you need access to certain people?
6. Get what you need to complete it. Make a list of the tools, supplies, and resources that you'll need to both begin and complete the task. It's hard to get started when you know you can't get finished.
7. Reward yourself! Give yourself a reward for completing the task. You've earned it! It doesn't have to be anything big, but we all like a little treat now and then. A little additional motivation never hurt anyone.
Imagine how much better your life would be if you could kick the procrastination habit out the door. Unfinished tasks have a profound effect on your sense of well-being and peace of mind. Living with the stress that procrastination can cause isn't necessary. Start using the tips above and remove the challenge of procrastination from your life. You'll be so glad you did!
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