5 things you should do to stop procrastinating at work
Procrastination is a vicious circle we all so easily get caught in at work from time to time. We push back and wait upon starting a project because somehow its scale scares us, because we might not have the energy it requires to do properly, and in pushing back we grow guilty, and distressed and more anxious than we ever were at the start. Killing procrastination isn’t just about doing the professional thing for your organization, it is also about freeing your mind of anxiety and unnecessary stress, about putting you back in charge. It is about determining what your day brings and having control over its outcome.
So here are 5 easy tricks, I learnt over the years to stop procrastinating and that make me happier, more relaxed at work. (wouldn't that be nice?)
1 Prep’ your day
The most stressful part of the day is being caught by surprise. Finding out last minute that you have meetings you haven’t prepared for, decisions you haven’t given enough thoughts to or catch-ups with your team where you'll just turn up to without being as impactful as you could be. An easy solution to that is prepping for your day ahead. I personally look at my calendar the night before, and go to bed knowing what tomorrow will bring. And in my morning shower (favourite meditation spot) I go over the decisions I need to make, the conversations I need to have and prioritize ahead of the game. You can do that during your commute or the night before at work. Whatever works for you. But I cannot tell you how freeing and relaxing it is to arrive at work feeling fully in control. Your day won’t ‘just happen’ to you, you will be leading it.
2 Schedule early meetings
With early meetings, there can't be any last minute cancellation possible, no time conflict possible, so virtually no ways to give in laziness and to get out of your obligations. Apart from that practical element, early meetings always motivate me to start my day very hands-on, in control, and highly energised. Plan to have calls and meetings early, face the day right on with a go-attitude and the energy will stay with you all throughout the day. I swear.
3 Put that phone away
Yep, you've hear me. Not much more should be said about that one. It hurts. I know. But do it.
4 Follow the 1 hour trick
More often than not, I find myself planning 3-4 hours’ time slots for ‘projects’, for ‘brainstorms’ with myself. What actually happen is that a big chunk of that large time slot ends up being interrupted by breaks, emails and other slack conversations. And the real impact of that time gets diluted because it is simply too hard to focus on one thing for that long without some crazy self-discipline. Plus, kicking off a full project at once can look really daunting. A quick fix I learnt in this book, is to break down my tasks in 1 hour slots. One hour of pure concentration, no loo break, no tea, no slack, no email. Nothing. And when the hour clocks in, you can then indulge in a well-deserved, guilt- free kitchen/ web surfing break. Again this isn’t just about doing the professional thing. This technique truly frees up my mind of anxious thoughts- because you have no choice but to be present to the moment and to concentrate on the one task at hand. The hour is ticking, and there is no time to overthink all the other things on your to-do list, or worry about what you will eat for lunch, or which workout you should schedule tonight. You are in the now. Try it.
5 Be gentle to yourself
Don't kill yourself with guilt. Don't we all wish we could be efficient 100% of the time, and yet end up procrastinating from season to season? Reality is that worrying about it makes the situation worse. All we can do is commit to get better at it and take the first steps towards more efficiency and more focus. Loving your weekends does not make you unprofessional, having a coffee break doesn’t make you a bad employee. But choosing to follow some self-discipline rules to get a bit better every week- is the true reflection of your inner drive and motivation.
You are good, you do care. You’re just human.
What are your tips to stay fully focused at work? We'd love to hear from you, so hit us in the comments. The more, the merrier!