Everyone falls victim to procrastination at one time or another. And although procrastination may stem from several sources, the most common source is an overwhelming fear or intimidation of a project, or uncertainty in your skills to meet a challenge to your satisfaction.
Employees who procrastinate frequently will see a sharp decline in the quality of their work and their output. Naturally, this will draw the attention of their employers, and in extreme cases could lead to termination. To make sure procrastination doesn’t ruin your career, here are six tips from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana to help you overcome it and become a more organized worker:
1. Create a schedule — In most cases, procrastination is the byproduct of not having a plan. Sitting down in front of a blank slate you have been assigned to fill is intimidating, enough so to turn your attention elsewhere. But developing an outline or a schedule, and creating a reservoir of information and knowledge to draw from, will aid in filling in the blanks.
2. Assign yourself a deadline — Deadlines serve two purposes: (1) they can be a scare tactic used to make you realize how limited your time is to complete something or (2) they can be an organizational tool that helps you divide a project up over the week while providing a concrete completion time to aim for.
3. Break up the project into manageable pieces — Smaller tasks are easier to manage and far less intimidating than a project viewed in its entirety. Part of your planning process should be to find ways to segment the project into more manageable pieces. Each piece represents a step toward completing the project, but instead of tackling the entire project at once, you can concentrate on the smaller task—one by one—that lead to completion.
4. Reward yourself periodically — Reward yourself whenever you complete a portion of your work. This will help combat exhaustion and the stress that exhaustion leads to. Take ten minutes to browse the web, or get some fresh air by taking a walk. Depending on your work environment, get out of the office and read for a little while, or engage in some sort of fun hobby or activity. Rewarding yourself for each significant step you finish will help inspire you to press on.
5. Don’t try to be perfect — No one wants to turn out subpar work, but perfectionism tends to bring about procrastination more than it does in aiding the quality of your work in any way. Understand that producing good work is a process, and seldom does any work turn out absolutely perfect.
6. Just start the process — For some projects, just getting it done from the get-go, banging out that rough first draft is the most effective means to overcome the fear of starting. Once done, the rest of the time allotted to you can be used to draft, refine and tighten up the project at a casual pace. Alternatively, waiting too long will force your hand, demanding that you produce the entirety of the project.
Some people equate procrastination with laziness, and while that may be true in some cases, in most cases it is the result of feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. These are perfectly natural and acceptable feelings to experience. The trick is to learn techniques that allow you to tear down fear and intimidation, to level the playing field and take ownership of your work. If the project is large, break it down into manageable chunks. If the project is long, reward yourself with periodic breaks—especially after you have made significant progress.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.
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