The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind – jump in.
– Charles R. Swindoll.
Have you ever sat down to complete an important task — and then suddenly discovered your eyes were fixated on your TV screen watching movies or engrossed in surfing the internet? Or perhaps you suddenly realize that your dog needs to be fed, you need to respond to some chats, your house needs cleaning — or maybe you should go ahead and have lunch, even though it’s only 11 a.m.?
Everyone puts things off until the last minute sometimes, but when you chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions, you are procrastinating. You may believe you perform better under pressure, but more often than not that is just a way of you justifying putting things off.
Procrastination is the habit of delaying an important task, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead. It is different from laziness, which is the unwillingness to act.
You may delay but time will not
– Benjamin Franklin
Sometimes, procrastination takes place when you ignore things to be done until the “last minute” before a deadline. Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of life—putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment or breaching a stressful issue with a partner.
Procrastination usually results in sorrowful regret. Today’s duties put off until tomorrow gives us a double burden to bear; the best way is to do them in their proper time.
– Ida Scott Taylor
Procrastination can restrict your potential and undermine your career. It can also disrupt your teamwork, reduce morale, and even lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, self-doubt, depression and job loss. So, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to prevent it.
Looking on the bright side, it is possible to overcome procrastination — with effort.
The first step to overcoming procrastination is to recognize that you’re doing it. Then, identify the reasons behind your behavior and use appropriate strategies to manage and overcome it.
HELPFUL TIPS TO AVOID PROCRASTINATION
1. You have to recognize the fact that you are procrastinating: if you start postponing things you need to do, the tasks before you or you direct your focus unto something else because you want to avoid doing your task, then you are probably procrastinating.
2. Ask yourself, what are the reasons you give: For instance, are you avoiding a particular task because you find it boring or unpleasant? If so, take steps to get it out of the way quickly, so that you can focus on the enjoyable aspects of your job.
3. Make lists of things and chunk them: this will prevent you from ‘conveniently’ forgetting about those unpleasant and overwhelming tasks.
4. Set deadlines and priorities: The priorities will help you to easily identify the activities you should focus on doing and the ones you can ignore. The deadlines will keep you on track in achieving your set goals and will mean that you don’t have time for procrastination!
5. Tackle the hardest tasks at your peak times: Do you work better in the morning or in the afternoon? You need to identify when you achieve your best results in doing things, that is when you are most effective and do the tasks that you find most challenging at these times.
6. Act on it!
The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.
– Alexandre Graham Bell
7. Don’t be a perfectionist: Sometimes you would rather avoid doing a task that you feel you don’t have the skills to do than do it imperfectly. You don’t have to wait until you are certain about the outcome of your task before you start working on it. So what do you do? Something, Anything. As long as you are not just sitting there idle. If you screw it up, start over. Try something else.
8. Reward yourself: Celebrate small victories for having completed your tasks. The reward may be a short water-cooler conversation with a colleague, a stroll to a nearby café for a coffee pick-me-up, or maybe a larger reward such as treating yourself to a movie. Let your brain know that you will reward it for focusing and being attentive.
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