People have been avoiding work since time began. But the habit of putting off unpleasant or overwhelming tasks until the last minute is not only unhealthy, it can be detrimental to your status in the workplace. The good news is, there are steps you can take to master this bad habit and develop newer, more healthy ones.
Step One: Just Say No
Procrastinators have mastered the art of excuses, from those given to colleagues, to the ones they tell themselves. Stop taking on additional commitments that prevent you from completing your own work by learning to say no. Once you legitimately have free time on your hands, offer your assistance where you can.
Step Two: Limit Distractions
For anyone that works from home, your children, spouse, doorbell, home phone, and other everyday noises and interruptions can limit the amount of work you get done; whereas at the office a chatty co-worker, social media, your cell phone, or the internet may be to blame. Whatever your triggers are, limit exposure to them, and limit your number of excuses not to work.
Step Three: Bide Your Time
Schedule the bulk of your work during the time of day when you’re most productive. If you need time to gain momentum in the mornings, use that time for more menial tasks such as responding to emails, making work calls, or having meetings.
Step Four: Be Realistic
Changing any bad habit is a gradual process that won’t happen overnight. When you commit to change, take it in phases so that you don’t become overwhelmed, mastering one before moving on to the next.
Step Five: Prioritize
Make a list of everything you need to do, and rearrange those items according to priority. Take the item at the top and break it down into manageable steps, and get moving!
Step Six: Give Yourself Permission
Want to avoid that extremely unpleasant task? Go ahead! But rather than completely wasting your time by surfing the web, playing Candy Crush, or checking your Facebook account do something else productive in its place.
Step Seven: Use a Timer
While the thought of eight straight hours of work might make you shut down and employ your avoidance strategies, you can handle anything in 15 minute increments. Set a timer and when it goes off, chances are, you’ll just keep going!