Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Four Powerful Ways To Stop Procrastinating

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If you struggle with procrastination, you know about the stress and frustration it causes.  Fortunately, you can overcome this habit, once you learn the right strategies and invest some effort to put them into practice. The following four tips will help you to stay focused and get your task or project done on time.

Cross The Pesky One Off First

Pesky, difficult, longest, hardest—whichever it may be, complete that task first.  While this might initially sound counterproductive since it’s the most challenging, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you cross the most difficult item off of your list of things to do.  In fact you will increase the odds of successfully completing everything else you have to do.

If you save the pesky one for last, you may subconsciously sabotage your speed and efforts on the preceding tasks.  Start on the most challenging project while you are still fresh.  Save the simpler, more repetitive projects for later in the day, when you are physically and mentally tired. By getting the least desirable one out of the way first, you will be rewarded with motivation.

Start with the easiest task

This advice sounds like a contradiction of the previous strategy. Yet I have found that sometimes it can seem too overwhelming and unpleasant to start with the hardest task.  In those cases, it can be helpful to start with the easiest task.  Once you get started, you will build momentum.  Research has found that once people get started on a task, they usually realize that it wasn’t as unpleasant as they had imagined.

Break Things Into Bite Size Pieces

If you are working on a large project it is easy to get overwhelmed.  Think of the project like eating a waffle.  Clearly you can’t eat the entire waffle in one bite, but if you break the waffle into bite size pieces that you eat one at a time you can consume the whole waffle.  Instead of focusing on the size of one project, break it into several small pieces.  This way you create “wins” throughout the project and will have a greater sense of accomplishment.

Focus On Your Highest Priorities

It is important to place your energy where it is the most valuable.  Focus on the activities with the high payoff first. If you have a proposal to send to a new client and an interoffice memo to create celebrating your 4th quarter sales—they are both of importance, but the proposal for a new client is a higher priority and needs more attention to detail.  Learning how to stop procrastinating includes prioritizing.

 

Just think about how much happier you will be once you’ve overcome procrastination.  Procrastination is a habit, and like all habits it will take some time and effort to change. Fortunately, by utilizing these four strategies, you will be well on your way to defeating procrastination.

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