Procrastination – What it is and how to beat it

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Procrastination – What it is and how to beat it

procrastination

Procrastination can be one of the biggest killers of efficiency. Being distracted, multi-tasking to the point of disruption and loss of attention to detail, or just avoiding a task can be one of the most frustrating things as a business owner… especially when it’s your staff that are the ones off task.

So, what is procrastination, and how can we prevent it to increase productivity both in the short and long-term?

The dictionary definition of procrastination is quite simple as to defer action and although this is true, there is a lot more to why it’s a struggle to stay on task then this definition highlights.

James Clear takes a more in-depth look on what procrastination is. He mentions in his blog, that the best way to understand, and help limit, procrastination is by imagining yourself as two people: your Present Self and Future Self. Clear goes on further to explain that goal setting is things that your Future self, whereas your Present Self takes action. And, unfortunately, “researchers have discovered that the Present Self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff.”

Essentially, procrastination is avoiding long-term work for something with a more short-term but immediate outcome.

 

How to Limit Procrastination

How To Limit Procrastination Now

Are you procrastinating right now by reading this article? Although this type of procrastination, known as active procrastination, where the procrastination results in a new skill or improved knowledge and is much more beneficial then it’s much lazier sitting-on-the-couch-binge-watching-episodes-of-law-and-order counterpart passive procrastination… it’s time to you got back to the tasks you need to be doing.

1. Just start

Set yourself a 2-minute window where you’re going to have an uninterrupted start on a task. Often, it’s the motivation to start a task that is the most daunting and when you have momentum, which is created in that first 2 minutes, then it’s much easier to continue with completing the task.

2. Immediate Accountability & Easier Achievability

Bring your Future Self more into reach with immediate accountability such as a shorter timeframe or a commitment to someone else. By making others aware of the commitment will also help you remain accountable – no one likes that guy that constantly flakes on their commitments. You can also self-reward by a larger task into more achievable sub-tasks and rewarding yourself as each mini task is completed.

3. Design Your Future Outcomes

Known in the psychological space as commitment device, this is where you alter your ahead of time environment to design your future outcomes. Think of removing distractions by temporarily muting your emails and calls, planning out focus times in your day and remove your phone from your desk area.

 

How To Limit Procrastination Long Term

Procrastination is a habit that you can choose to kick for good as long as you have a clear system for deciding what tasks are important and what needs to happen first.

This sounds simple, because it is.

One of the most effective long-term ways to combat procrastination is through a 15 minute, five-stepped routine called The Ivy Lee Method.

According to James Clear, by adding The Ivy Lee Method into your daily routine, you will be able to combat procrastination because it’s simple enough to work, forces you to make tough decisions, removes the friction of starting and helps you focus on one task at a time.

What do you need to do?

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

 

If you, or your team, are constantly off task and avoiding the important tasks or are easily distracted, try out the above techniques to help prevent procrastination with our DAILY TOP 6 TOOL, created from The Ivy Lee Method mentioned above.

Finally, now is the perfect time to start those tasks you’ve been avoiding! If one of the tasks that you’re procrastinating about is with your business accounting then don’t procrastinate any longer – contact us today and tick that task off, once and for all.