“There is enough time to complete the task, I will do it later.” How many times do you say this to yourself every day?
There is virtually no one alive that does not procrastinate in one task or the other but the effects it has on our overall success varies from person to person. Your willingness to complete a task should outweigh the negative thoughts that naturally come your way when you have something to do.
Even the little things you think are of little consequence could affect your career significantly. Apart from how it impacts your productivity, your colleagues and business partners will definitely notice, and you can guess what will happen when those people peg you as a lazy person.
To be more productive requires that you do whatever is necessary to complete the tasks before you and ultimately achieve your goals. So, I came up with these simple ways that have helped me complete my tasks in due time and achieve more.
1. Do not delay
One of the characteristics of a person that procrastinates is, leaving tasks till the eleventh hour. You keep telling yourself that you’ll complete the task until the deadline is near and you have to rush through the task.
It is indeed true that we are often motivated to complete a task when the deadline is staring at us in the face but it makes us less productive, overall. This way, you end up doing a task that should take 6 hours for example in 60 minutes.
When you work under such situations, you’re unlikely to take your time to think through the task and give it your very best, meaning that you’ll likely turn out work that’s below your standard.
The first thing to do when you have a task to complete is not to delay it. Begin tasks as soon as you have any spare time. Even if you can only do a small part, there’ll be that much less for you to do later and it’ll be that much easier to tackle.
2. Set realistic goals
We all dream big. In fact, we often set very big goals for ourselves. There is no harm in setting big goals but what is important is that you set realistic goals.
For instance, my goal for the year 2018 is to read achieve a certain level of proficiency in some new skills.
I set out to achieve this goal only after evaluating its feasibility and then making a comprehensive plan of how I intend to achieve the goal. It made it easier to accomplish after setting realistic targets.
3. Break it down
If the task is big, there is a tendency to feel less motivated. The task is likely to seem complex and difficult to complete. My career goals for the year are on track now because I broke the task down into small chunks.
If you break down your plan into time slots and allocate specific tasks to them, you’ll be able to track your progress much more effectively and know what you have to adjust at any point in time. In addition, as you complete each stage, the feeling of accomplishing a task keeps you motivated.
One of the things that fuel procrastination is distractions. When you are working on a task, you have to keep away all distractions. Your emails, cell phones, social media platforms and any form of distraction at all should be kept away
Robert Greene wrote in his book, Mastery that geniuses are geniuses because they focus on one single thing. The importance of focus, in completing a task cannot be overemphasized. You have to completely ignore distractions around you and focus on the task at hand.
5. Set deadlines
Brian Tracy in his book ‘Eat that Frog’ said, “A goal or decision without a deadline has no urgency”.
It has no real beginning or end. Without a definite deadline accompanied by the assignment or acceptance of specific responsibilities for completion, you will naturally procrastinate and get very little done.”
You can set deadlines and even sub-deadlines depending on the nature of the task. It keeps you on track and ensures that you complete your tasks in due time.
6. Set priorities
Identifying your most important tasks is crucial to achieving maximum results. Doing less important tasks will likely take the same time doing an important task will take.
The difference, however, is the result. Setting priorities and focusing on the most important tasks that add value to your goal is one way to achieve success.
7. Take a break
Never put yourself under too much pressure. If you follow the simple steps in this article, there won’t be a need to be under pressure of completing a task. Taking short breaks to reflect and review the task you’re working on will do you no harm.
In fact, taking some time off to let off steam will keep you refreshed and help you work better. You’re not perfect, nobody is. So, don’t attempt perfection, it puts you under unnecessary pressure.
8. Stay positive
When you set out to accomplish a task, you must put your mind to it. But you need to be positive about the reality of completing the task and achieving the desired results.
Don’t tell yourself that “this might not end well.”
Instead, say “I can complete this task if I put my mind to it.” Keeping yourself motivated will spur you to continue the task and complete it in no time.
9. Don’t give excuses
There is never a perfect time to start. If you’re the type that says to yourself “I will do it when I’m in the mood” or “I work better under pressure”, cut it off. They are excuses that perpetuate procrastination. Never have to excuse yourself from completing a task by giving excuses.
10. Procrastination isn’t the end
Everyone procrastinates, so it is not unique to you. No matter how much you try, you will still procrastinate. The important thing to do always is to procrastinate on small activities that add little or no value to the task. This way, you procrastinate and still remain productive.
Since we all have to procrastinate, we must find the best ways to do it less often. To achieve great success in life, overcoming procrastination is of utmost importance. It is, therefore, important that we make conscious efforts to overcome procrastination.
As I have come to realise, procrastinating less translates to being more productive.