Deep Focus 8 minutes read

9 Strategies To Avoid Procrastination In The Workplace

Have you ever experienced situations where you feel overwhelmed due to large projects? Or do you feel like it’s better to do the tasks after some time? This is what procrastination feels like. In simple words, procrastination is the act of delaying the tasks of one’s own will and completing other unimportant tasks in the meantime.

As per the research by Dr. Joseph Ferrari, around 20% of employees procrastinate daily. But how does procrastination affect your overall performance? When asked, most of the employees stated that they feel motivated under pressure. Though this mindset has been going on for years, the results that were achieved by working under pressure clearly broke the myth. It is essential to fight the demon of procrastination and seek the light of productivity in the workplace.

Let’s take a look at the 9 best strategies to overcome procrastination in the workplace.

1. Set SMART Goals

If you are keen to fight procrastination, you must set up SMART goals. The acronym SMART was coined by Peter Drucker to explain the concept of goal setting and management.

Now, what does SMART mean? The definition of the said acronym is as follows:

  • Specific: Setting goals that are specified and have clarity in them. Once you get proper clarity about your tasks, completing them becomes more straightforward.
  • Measurable: Each goal needs to be measured or tracked to understand its progress. Keeping proper records of every task gives you a morale boost to work towards them.
  • Achievable: It’s important to understand one’s capabilities before taking up a new task. If you are confident of completing the job within specified deadlines and the resources available, only then should you take it up.
  • Relevant: Understanding the relevancy of each task gives you the boost to complete it. Once you know the impact the task will have on the company, it will make you want to complete it.
  • Time-Bound: Every goal needs an achievable timeline under which it can get accomplished. Setting impossible deadlines is only going to stress you out and make you delay the task further.

2. Break Down Large Goals into Smaller Milestones

It is quite common for a person to feel underconfident after seeing a vast project in front of them. But, once you break down the project into several small milestones, the same task seems doable.

Dividing the entire project into smaller sections gives you better clarity. Moreover, you can delegate tasks amongst team members based on the speculation of each person’s strengths. Knowing how to work productively within a team and when to ask for help will also help you manage your projects more effectively without procrastination. It’s all about planning, delegation, and effective teamwork to finish large projects.

By setting up milestones in the project, you will feel that you have accomplished more after completing each milestone without feeling intimidated. Additionally, the entire project will get over within said timeline without any hurdles.

3. Set Deadlines

The next tip you should follow to avoid procrastination in your workplace is setting up target deadlines. Each task needs to have a specific goal, relevancy, and timeline.

Activities that do not have any timelines are often considered unimportant and left for the last minute. These tasks later pile up, which leads to delayed project delivery. 

But, once you have set a specific timeline for each task, you feel bound to complete it before the deadline arrives. Deadlines do make us work under pressure, but they also eliminate the chances of procrastinating and delay. 

4. Use Time & Task Management Techniques

Our brain is designed to store all information and tasks, which it continuously arranges based on their priority level. But, mental lists can only work up to a certain extent, after which our brain is bound to forget a thing or two. That’s why it’s essential to adapt certain time management techniques that can help fight procrastination and complete all tasks on time.

Time Blocking Method

Time blocking is a popular time management method used by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. In time blocking, you need to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is allocated to perform specific tasks or a group of tasks. These tasks can be checking or responding to emails, attending meetings, working on projects, doing lunch, etc.

Getting Things Done (GTD) Method

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a time and task management technique developed by consultant David Allan. This technique lets you organize all your task-related information from your mind to an external system, in a notebook, or by using online task management tools. GTD method can be applied in 5 simple steps –

  1. Capture – Capture everything that you have in your mind on paper or a tool.
  2. Clarify – Decide which items are actionable and important tasks.
  3. Organize – Sort your tasks and set due dates.
  4. Review – Review your task list and update it as per your needs.
  5. Engage – Get important tasks done.

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is one of the most famous time management methods that several organizations follow. As per this method, you need to work continuously for 25 minutes and then take a small 5-minute break. Once you complete four such sets, you can take a long break. The main agenda of this technique is to make people focus on their tasks without feeling burned out. 

5. Finish Challenging Tasks When You Are Most Productive

Each person has a specific “time of the day” when they feel the most productive. For some people, it’s early in the morning, whereas others are at their peak during nighttime. Whenever you are in this productive zone, make sure to complete all your challenging tasks during the timeline. Why? That’s because you have the confidence and motivation to tackle any assignments during this zone.

By completing challenging tasks during your productive hour, you won’t feel overwhelmed throughout the day. Instead, completing such jobs will give you a morale boost to go through the day.

6. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions always surround us. Be it social media, mobile phones, people, gossip, or distractions are bound to come at us while we are working. But, if you want to overcome procrastination, you must eliminate such distractions.

Let’s say you are working remotely and have a handful of jobs at hand. But, your phone is highly distracting and prevents you from working properly. In such cases, you must put your smartphone in “Do not disturb” mode until all tasks are done. Else, you can also keep your phone and other gadgets away from the workplace.

However, there are different types of distractions when it comes to office work. For example, taking tea breaks in between work, gossiping with colleagues, clearing other people’s doubts, etc. 

Here, you need to set boundaries with your colleagues to maintain productivity. Take a tea break only after you are done with the task, tell your colleagues politely that you are working on an important task at the moment, and clear others’ doubts only after you are done with your work. 

7. Keep Yourself Healthy & Active

A healthy mind and body can help a lot in overcoming procrastination. How? If you have a healthy lifestyle, you will automatically feel productive after starting the day.

One of the major steps towards a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep every day. It’s quite common for employees to get only 4 to 5 hours of daily sleep due to overworking and stress. But, our brain needs rest to function properly, and for that, you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day.

In addition to that, you need to keep your physical health in check as well. Make sure to exercise at least 3 times per week, have proper meals instead of store-bought food or snacks, and make sure to have some time with nature every day for better vision.

It’s not difficult to achieve a healthy lifestyle. You can easily do so by following small tips that were taught to us in the school itself. A healthy mindset and body are productive, motivated, and calm instead of an unhealthy body that’s always stressed out and lazy.

8. Give Yourself a Reward

Everybody loves getting rewards despite their age. It encourages us to work more, achieve our goals and get good results so that we get more rewards. The act of reward has been extremely fruitful in overcoming the feeling of procrastination. That’s why many companies offer various remuneration packages to keep their employees happy and motivated.

Let’s say you have a large project with a deadline of two weeks. Instead of procrastinating it up to the last minute, divide the projects into several milestones and add rewards after every 4 or 5 tasks. 

For example, reward yourself with an early leave from the office after completing the first four tasks, watch a movie after completing eight more tasks, and so on.

The idea of getting rewards after achieving milestones will automatically motivate you to complete the said tasks beforehand and enjoy the benefits. By doing so, you get to complete the entire project within 2 weeks without feeling burned out or stressed because you got your rewards throughout the process. 

9. Surround Yourself with Motivated People

Your surroundings also play a major role in your workplace. For example, if you surround yourself with people who always procrastinate on their tasks, gossip throughout the working hours, or are always in a state of panic about not completing their jobs, you will also feel and act the same.

But, if you have a company of motivated, focused, and productive people, you will automatically want to work more and complete the tasks on time. It is essential to have such a company that will hold you accountable for not completing your tasks and encourages you to work more. If you are working remotely, have an accountability partner who will support you and help you overcome procrastination. 

Final Words

Procrastination is often confused with laziness, whereas it’s an act of simply delaying the task for the latter. It is quite common to procrastinate while working due to several reasons. But, when the level of such delays increases, it will cause problems in your tasks and reflect in your performance. 

Though there are several ways to overcome procrastination, there’s no solid method to completely eliminate it. While one technique might work for you, the same might not work for your colleague. You need to figure out the methods that work best for you and implement them in your daily life. It’s not possible to fight procrastination within some hours or days, but with each small step, you can overcome it slowly.

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