Let us all be explicitly and frankly honest here.
Chances are you should be doing something other than reading this article. But instead, you got waylaid and distracted and decided to take some time off. In fact, I think this is a worthy opportunity to give you a little nudge in doing the reports that are piling on your desk. No? Well, if you insist then. Procrastination is a given, it is not only students with a deadline who do it after all—everyone is equally guilty of it but it is very much manageable. The fact is, you, yourself may have been wanting a positive shift towards your inclination towards delaying things and have found yourself reading this article. If so, well done! Give yourself that well-deserved pat on the back. Procrastination is very normal and in an office teeming with endless opportunities for distraction (social media, internet surfing, games, etc.), we may find ourselves giving in to the inevitable. Whether one is working in a retail conglomerate or an internet marketing agency, it is undeniable that both have equal avenues for distraction and procrastination. However, this mindset can be rather destructive especially when you have deadlines to meet or are working under a time limit. When you operate this way, you have the propensity of cramming all things at the last minute, and when you do, you get less than stellar or favorable results.
Fortunately, while procrastination may be normal, it does not necessarily have to be a permanent mindset you are doomed to have. You are very much capable of prioritizing things that are of critical value and other important work, but you need the initial realization that you are indeed procrastinating. Once this realization is made, a few hacks can be incorporated, and you would soon find yourself more productive than ever before. Are you seeking for ways to be more productive? Or at least, dispel stalling tasks? Well, you may just find the productivity hacks below useful.
1.) Use red and blue colors more often
Clean your desk of unnecessary clutter and remove the things that may distract you. According to a study, there are some colors that would improve brain performance. Red has been associated with attention increase to little details whereas blue has been considered as a catalyst for creativity. So, the next time you are thinking of redecorating your desk, incorporate these colors as they are not only pleasing to the eye but they help you with your productivity as well.
2.) Create an agenda for you breaks
Essentially, we have a list of things to do for the day in order for us to have a steady workflow and to accomplish need to do things faster and easier. However, almost none of us ever do this for breaks as we see our breaks as an avenue to do anything or everything under the sun. While this remains to be true on breaks, it would be wiser if you created an agenda of the things you want to be doing on your break and assign a designated time limit for them (taking selfies, surfing the web, reading articles, eating snacks, cigarette breaks, naps, etc.) But, it is crucial that you designate only twenty minutes of your time doing these non-work related activities. In doing so, you will be wiser in utilizing your breaks. You will also accomplish necessary tasks while doing the things you enjoy as well.
3.) Set a timetable for your tasks
This one is a no-brainer. However, as procrastinating is a habit that is unyielding and is not as easily changed, perhaps replacing it with another habit is key. When you have a task assigned on hand, set a timetable for each step (Note: It is important to be very specific with the exact time you are going to be doing a step in the task). Deadlines are great for accomplishing an essential task and setting a specific time for a task to be finished creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.
4.) Do stressful jobs in a stress-free environment.
Stressful projects cause us to dawdle and delay would ensue. When you are assigned a difficult project that you find that you are unable to enjoy doing, look for a carefree environment, one that you are comfortable in (that is if it applies to your current job). Perhaps undertake these projects in the comfort of your home, or under the cozy lights of a coffee shop. When you are in an environment that you are comfortable in, you will find that it is a lot easier and faster to complete difficult and taxing tasks.
5.) Do shortcuts
Become productive lazy and instead of looking for ways to procrastinate, make a habit of looking for things that would make your job easier or perhaps faster. Be creative in achieving an end to your task. After all, when you are driven and equally lazy, you will discover new ways to bring out the productivity and creativity in you.
6.) Ask a colleague to monitor you
Designate a task deputy who would be unrelenting when it comes to overseeing how you are doing in going about a task—someone who has enough guts to reprimand you if you are doing unnecessary activities. Or if you are feeling particularly rebellious and think that being admonished would not give you the desired effect, you can have an application installed which would block certain websites that would cause you to procrastinate.
7.) Consider having a gadget-free desk
Save for the ones that are essential to completing a task, clear your desk of all the unnecessary technological clutter. If you are not expecting any important calls from clients, stow your phone away as in this way, you would be eliminating any potential distractions (May it be in the form of Facebook notifications, calls, text messages, etc.). In doing so, you would be creating an ambiance totally free from potential distractions and would help you focus on the task at hand.
8.) Prepare during the night
To expedite the process of figuring out what to do the morning your task commences, do some of the essential steps in your work while you are at home. This would not eat so much of your time and would accomplish things faster. Say you are writing an article; begin by starting the night before with an introduction. So that come next morning, you would only need to think of a body and conclusion.
9.) Ready your dietary fuel
Nibbling on various snack items helps us concentrate while we are at work. Unfortunately, some of us see this as an open avenue to waste about five minutes of our time in taking trips down the pantry and indulging in small talk with our other co-workers. Instead, have your nibbles ready on your desk so that you would be utilizing the time spent in traipsing to the pantry in finishing focal tasks.
10.) Create a checklist
Break down your task into tiny little tasks which you may consider as steps into achieving an end goal which is accomplishing everything. List them down and create a checklist for them. Making a checklist is akin to achieving a goal. Additionally, it would also pressure you to finish more mini-tasks if you have seen that there is still a lot to be done and would give you that small rewarding feeling if you see things checked off.
Procrastination is inevitable, but it does not have to dominate our daily lives—most especially if there is urgent work to be done. Remember, one way to overcome procrastination is to realize and be aware that you are doing it and when you do, complement that realization with a conscious effort to eliminate it. When you do precisely that, you can then incorporate these various changes into your work lifestyle and then soon enough, you will find that you are accomplishing things faster and more efficiently.