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Avoiding Procrastination

Procrastination can steal our precious time as we spend ages worrying and pondering on a challenging task ahead and agonising over what might go wrong, rather than just dealing with it. This article will help you avoid procrastination to ease stress and make you use your time more effectively.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is a common way to avoid responsibility as it delays dealing with a problem. This may create a great deal of unnecessary stress as the deadline approaches, and you work around the clock to meet it. As a result of this procrastination, your colleagues may feel that they can’t rely on you and this will affect your professional reputation. It is also very time-consuming.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Once you understand why you put things off, you can take steps to manage this problem.

  • Failure to plan
  • Fearing failure
  • Task too complicated – not sure where to start
  • Not having enough information or resources
  • Not interested/challenged by the task
  • Perfectionism

How Can We Avoid Procrastination?

Eat the Frog –

'If it's your job to eat a frog, it's
best to do it first thing in the
morning. And if it's your job to eat
two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first!'

Mark Twain

This quote essentially tackles the issue that by eating a frog at the beginning of the day, you can go through the day knowing that this is probably the worse thing that is going to happen all day. So in our day-to-day lives, the ‘frog' is your biggest most important task that you are most likely to procrastinate about if you don't do something about it.

As well as eating your ‘frog’ consider these points to help you tackle your day the most effectively;-

  • Accept that procrastination is common and that you are not unique
  • Fearing failure is absolutely normal. By facing our fears, we can solve our problem
  • Tackle your areas of procrastination by doing little things. Tell yourself –“I am wasting my time” and adopt the 'do it now' approach
  • Take time to clearly identify task objectives and priorities
  • Break tasks down into bite-sized chunks, so they don't seem so daunting
  • Be positive when facing procrastination. Congratulate yourself when you succeed in overcoming it
  • Adopt ‘single handling’ thinking. You will pick up a job once and once only. Put it down when it’s finished
  • Never choose low priority work in front of high priority work
  • Schedule a ‘start time’ as well as a ‘finish time’ for work being planned

Shortcuts to Avoiding Procrastination

Quite simply; there are none. It just comes down to practice, which is the key to mastering any skill. In the same way that we train our muscles, our mind needs the same commitment to developing a new habit. A good start is to put your ‘frog' at the top of your ‘To Do' list each day and actually eat it before you do anything else!

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