Before you can even begin thinking about how to stop procrastination, it is imperative that you identify tasks that you really don’t like doing. Once you do, you can honestly begin to ask yourself if you are postponing task or prioritizing.
When you have answered this question, you can then think seriously about those tasks that fall low enough on our list of priorities in order for you not to want to deal with them.
You access and re-access your priorities on a daily basis, as you should; especially as busy as you are today this is inevitable.
However, most times we know exactly what we are doing when we put off certain things. Whether you want to face it or not, you know when you are procrastinating and the fact you do it mostly on your own clock means you can justify doing it.
If you think this isn’t you, just think about the time you just had to check your e-mail ten times before finishing that paper. If you have established that you may have a problem with procrastination take heed to the information that follows.
Make a List of Task That Are Prone To Procrastination
First thing you want to do to learn how to stop procrastination is make a short list of the tasks you really dislike doing. Next to each task, write a sentence or two describing why you don’t like the particular task.
In order for this to work you must be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t be ashamed to admit if something is very hard for you, boring, or if the only reason you are doing it is because your spouse expects you to do it.
Now that you have your list and your reasons for disliking that task, it’s time to think about if getting the task done with benefit you or not.
If you have decided that it will benefit you, think about if the benefit of knocking out the task is greater than the annoyance of doing it.
Sure it’s a pain every single month sitting down with the check book and paying all the monthly bills and expenses, but there is no doubt that you can get yourselves into huge trouble if you do not do it. Completing this task requires quite a bit of effort on your part.
You have to sieve through all the mail and separate the junk mail from the bills. Then you have to get out the check book and write out checks for each of the monthly expenses you have Then you have to balance your check book to make sure you have enough funds to cover all the expenses Then it’s off to the post office for postage stamps and mailing the bills. Most people will agree, once you get through sieving through the junk mail it’s not so bad.
Break Complicated Task Down Into More Manageable Task
By doing this you are well on your way to learning how to stop procrastination. How so you ask? Well, what you have already done was taken a task that you dread and broken it down into more manageable task.
Almost all complicated task reach completion this way, there is always some level of organizing and dividing of priorities. If you pay your bills every month, you have already exercised your ability to “divide and conquer” a task.
Some times we are faced with responsibilities that frighten us; we aren’t frighten because the job will cause physical harm, but because we think we may not do a very good job.
Just like you broke boring or complicated task into more manageable jobs, you can do the same for a task that frightens you. Attempt the part of the task that is the least frightening and work your way through the completion of the task by doing smaller components first.
In addition to organizing and prioritizing of work, there will be some level of planning. If you have a task you need to get done for the boss, you will have to spend some time just sitting and thinking about how best to approach the problem. You should run different scenarios through your head and try to anticipate some of the questions you will be expected to answer, then think about what information you need to obtain to answer these questions.
Here is a another list things you may want to consider as you complete this task:
Will the task be completed by you alone, or will you require assistance?
Are you the bottle neck in the completion of a larger job, in other words does a coworker require something from you in order for them to complete their part?
Will you need to layout what needs to be done before you start?
Think about what parts of the job scares you and ask yourself why.
Hopefully as you sort out what needs to be done, you are able to minimize your fears and be mindful of the work that needs to be done and the way it is done.
Bounce Ideas Off Other People
Sometimes the best way to find a solution to a concern or problem you are having is to talk it over with someone. What you will find is that even if the person has no experience with what you are talking about, you may come to a conclusion just by talking it over with them.
What you want to avoid doing is getting yourself all worked up about the task and dive into it without proper preparation. Give yourself a realistic time frame that you think you can accomplish the job in. When the job is really tough and has many components, and breaking it down into more manageable task doesn’t work, you may have to try another approach.
You should start thinking about how you can better organize the task into sub-task.One approach to doing this is to divide the sub-task into ranking groups. Each group will have a number 1-3 that is associated with the level of priority.
For example, tasks that fall in group 1 will be the more important tasks and shall be more complicated. These are the tasks you are tempted to procrastinate the most, because they will generally hard to begin.
Usually group 1 tasks will not be completed on one attempt, and will probably always require time planning how the task is to be carried out.
Group 2 task are of less importance than group 1 tasks, but are not considered tasks that you can knock out in five minutes. These task will take some level or effort and may be moderately complicated.
And finally, task that fall into group 3 are lowest of the priority list, but are not task that can be blown off. These task will usually take minimal time and effort to complete.
Completion of the group 3 task will give you a sense of accomplishment and also gets you warmed up before you attempt group 2 and 1 task. Do not concentrate solely on these task because as mentioned, these are low on the totem pole in terms of importance. Also, by concentrating on the group 3 task you neglect the more important groups 1 and 2 task. Although group 3 task are low on priority, they help get you warmed up.
This approach can easily be applied at work to help you get your day started. Once you get into the office you get can begin working on your group 3 tasks, this will get you into the working mode. You can knock out a few items from this list to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. Be careful though, you don’t want to complete all the things on this list. In fact, you should strive to leave a decent amount of work from this pile for the next day.
After getting a few things done in the group 3 pile, you are ready to begin working on 1 or 2 task. Once you get started on the group 1 and 2 pile, spend a significant amount time working on them. Try to spend at least an hour working on these task, so that at the close of the hour you will have made a great deal of progress. Even though the group 1 and 2 task are more difficult than the group 3 task, you get more enjoyment out of out making progress toward group 1 and 2 task.
Spend a minute imagining how excited and relieved you will feel at the end of the business day knowing you have made significant strides with your 1 and 2 task. Before you leave for the day, organize your piles for the next day. Make sure you have a few tasks in the group 3 piles that you can start with the next morning. Then select which 1 and 2 task you will work on after you have finished category 3 task and you are warmed up for the day.
Just like procrastinating can become a habit, you can make a habit out of this practice. Every morning you go into the office, repeat this same routine until it become second nature to you.
You can also apply this technique at home and in your personal life. Every evening when you get home, sit down and write up a list of jobs you need to get done around the house.
Make sure you rate them in terms of priority, just as you did for responsibilities at work. Things that should not make the list include going to that new restaurant that you have wanted to try or stopping by the electronics store before you get to work in the morning.
You may want to include checking the kids homework before they go to bed or making a list for grocery shopping. Think about things you know need to be done, but for some reason or another you procrastinate with them. Hopefully, you found these procrastination tips helpful and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
On your quest to learning how to stop procrastination remember this procrastination quote: "Procrastination is like masturbation, if feels good at first, but in the end you realize you just screwed yourself." Moreprocrastination quotes.