5 things you should do right now to stop procrastinating at work
Procrastination is the worst vicious circle we all so easily get caught in. We push back and wait to start a project because it scares us, and by pushing back we grow guilty and even more anxious. Killing procrastination isn’t just about doing the right thing for your organization, it is also about freeing your mind of anxiety and unnecessary stress, feeling that you are in charge. It is about determining what your day brings and having control over its outcome.
So here are 5 easy tricks, I learnt over the years to stop procrastinating and to make me happier, more relaxed at work. (don’t we all want that?)
1. Prep’ your day
The most stressful part of the day, is usually finding out last minute that you have meetings you haven’t prepared for, decisions you haven’t given enough thoughts to or catch-ups with your team where you’ll just be present without being impactful. An easy solution to that is prepping for your day ahead. I personally look at my calendar the night before, and go to bed knowing what tomorrow will bring. And in my morning shower (favourite meditation spot) I go over the decisions I need to make, the conversations I need to have and prioritize ahead of the game. You can do that during your commute or the night before at work. Whatever works for you. But I cannot tell you how freeing and relaxing it is to arrive at work feeling fully in control. Your day won’t ‘just happen’ to you, you will be leading it.
2. Schedule early meetings
There is no last minute cancellation possible, no conflict possible when you schedule your meetings before lunch time. Plus, it really motivates me to start my day hands-on, rather than slow starting by consuming content on my favourites websites sipping coffee #2 (more like #4 but who’s counting). Plan to have calls and meetings early, face the day right on with a go-attitude and the energy will stay with you all throughout the day. Guaranteed.
3. Put that phone away
Not much more should be said about that one. It hurts. I know. But do it. (read more on challenging yourself to go no-mobile here)
4. Follow the 1hr trick
More often than not, I find myself planning 3–4 hours’ time slots for ‘projects’, for ‘brainstorms’ with myself. What actually happen is that a big chunk of that large time slot ends up being interrupted by breaks, emails, slack conversations. And the real impact of that time gets diluted because it is simply too hard to focus on one thing for that long without some crazy self-discipline. Plus, kicking off a full project at once can look really daunting. A quick fix I learnt in this book, is to break down my tasks in 1 hour slots. One hour of pure concentration, no loo break, no tea, no slack, no email, no nothing. And when the hour clocks in, you can then indulge in a well-deserved, guilt- free kitchen/ web surfing break. Again this isn’t just about doing the right thing. This technique truly freed-up my mind of anxious thoughts- because you have no choice but to be present to the moment and to concentrate on the one task at hand. The hour is ticking, and there is no time to overthink all the other things on your to-do list, or worry about what you will eat for lunch, or which workout you should schedule tonight. You are in the now. All I can say, is that it works people.
5. Be gentle to yourself
We all procrastinate, we all feel guilty about it and we all would love to be efficient 100% of the time. Reality is that worrying about it makes it worst, and we all can really do is try to commit to get better at it. Loving weekends doesn’t make you unprofessional, having a coffee break doesn’t make you a bad employee. But choosing to follow some self-discipline rules to get a bit better every week- is the true reflection of your inner drive and motivation. Trust you are good, trust that you care. You’re just human.