I will do it later

You post­pone high-pri­or­i­ty actions until the very last moment, you start a project at the last minute before your dead­line, you seem to cause need­less delay by focussing on less impor­tant things first…

Is this some­thing you rec­og­nize? Then remem­ber these sev­en tips to help tack­le your pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

Where is this behavior coming from?

Find out why you are pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. The fol­low­ing ques­tions can help you iden­ti­fy the source of your prob­lem:

  • Do you include too many tasks, or is there only 1 task that’s too big to begin with?
  • Are you a per­fec­tion­ist and do you keep your task com­plete­ly in order from start to fin­ish?
  • Do you have dif­fi­cul­ties to organ­ise your thoughts or take a deci­sion on how to get start­ed?
  • Do you try to avoid less pleas­ant or dif­fi­cult tasks and the stress asso­ci­at­ed with it?
  • Do you need to be under pres­sure in order to get start­ed?

Make a plan

Cre­ate a detailed plan with dead­lines. Make sure you divide a large task into small­er sub­tasks and that each of these has a dead­line as well.

If you’re deal­ing with a mul­ti­tude of tasks, orga­nize your tasks by pri­or­i­ty. Which tasks are most impor­tant or urgent (/= pleas­ant) and which tasks can also be done at a lat­er date?

Your plan­ning gives you a first overview of all tasks or sub­tasks that need to be done and serve as a way to con­trol your work.

Avoid distractions

Make sure you’re not dis­tract­ed by calls, e‑mails, radio, brows­ing the inter­net, col­leagues or fam­i­ly mem­bers who ask some­thing, etc. There will always be things you’re rather do or which oth­ers feel are more urgent. Try to sched­ule reg­u­lar moments to answer e‑mails, make tele­phone calls, meet with peo­ple, … and at oth­er times con­cen­trate only on the task at hand.

Find help

You are not alone. Dare to ask for help when you need it. An insight or tip from some­one else can help you get start­ed even if you don’t see a way to begin. Even when the task is too dif­fi­cult or you have too much work, tere may be peo­ple to sup­port you.

It can also help to share your plan­ning with some­one, so this per­son can check up on your dead­lines. Set­ting a meet­ing for some­one to review your doc­u­ment may keep you from push­ing the dead­line.

Some­times all you need is hav­ing a per­son in the same room. The sense of con­trol helps keep you from becom­ing dis­tract­ed.

A good beginning is half the work

Try not to focus too much on ful­ly com­plet­ing the task. In stead, focus on get­ting start­ed. Even is there is not enough time to fin­ish, or you think you won’t get far, it’s best to get start­ed.

Once you’ve start­ed, it’ll be eas­i­er to con­tin­ue work­ing. It may even hap­pen that your task takes less time than you pre­vi­ous­ly esti­mat­ed.

Morning or evening person?

Tasks you don’t like doing or don’t know how to get start­ed with are bet­ter saved for the moment of the day where you have the most ener­gy. Some peo­ple feel best in the morn­ing and can con­cen­trate bet­ter. Oth­ers feel fresh­er in the after­noon or evening. At those times of the day a dif­fi­cult or unpleas­ant takes is eas­i­er to work through.

Sched­ule those moments to work on less pleasent or dif­fi­cult tasks.

Reward yourself

Reward your­self each time you com­plete a task or sub­task. You can do this with small things like: fin­ish­ing your report, and then hav­ing a cof­fee with a col­league. Stick to the plan and don’t break your rule if your task is not com­plet­ed.

You’ll also notice that fin­ish­ing a task will gen­er­ate a good feel­ing and sat­is­fac­tion.

Gepubliceerd door Stijn Vogels

Natural born probleemoplosser met een oog voor usability, design, trends en details. Professioneel bezig met letterwoorden als SEO, SEA, SMO, DIY en CYA.