While we all like to think we are the masters of our tasks and calendars, all of us have had a task we absolutely, under no circumstances, wanted to start. Whether you’ve been putting off essays, projects, or that work assignment that’s been giving you nightmares of ending up in front of the whole office in your underwear, eventually, you’ll have to get these tasks done. So why not get them done sooner rather than later? Here are six ways you can trick yourself into not procrastinating:
- Tell yourself that your most important task isn’t that hard, then do it. Yes, that’s right. Have no fear. Tackle the mightiest, most intimidating task you’ve got on your agenda as soon as you start your day. Often times, we bog ourselves down by wallowing in the mire of the idea that our tasks are bigger than our abilities. This not only hurts your chances of getting your huge task out of the way, but you also end up impeding other tasks by wasting valuable energy worrying about that one big thing. Also, getting started right away gives you more time to deal with a problem, should you encounter one.
- Actually get to work when you get to work, so you can goof off more later. Instead of loitering around the coffee maker, looking at Internet memes, and checking your Facebook updates every five minutes, focus your energy on digging into your workload right away. The quicker you can start your daily tasks, the less likely you are to get derailed. Give yourself a small task to complete within the first 15-20 minutes of your day. This can be as simple as responding to all the emails you couldn’t get to the day before. You’ll be amazed how a little positive energy from completing even the simplest of tasks can spur you on to your next task.
- Tell yourself you can only do one thing at a time. While the world (or at least smart phone companies) may be telling you that multitasking is the greatest thing to happen to the universe, too much multitasking can actually send your day into a downward spiral of procrastination and unproductivity. Think you can just step away from that project you’ve started to fire off a quick email about this afternoon’s meeting? Think again. That one little email may turn into a cataclysmic office event that requires your full attention the rest of the day. Instead, try to wrap up items one at a time rather than bouncing around to several tasks at once, which brings us to our next point…
- Make a list that breaks your work up into little steps. We have all heard the saying "don’t bite off more than you can chew" before. That’s because it’s good advice, and applies to more than just eating. All too often, we let ourselves get overwhelmed by the amount of work we have hanging over our heads. Making a list lets you digest your work bit by bit as the day progresses, rather than scrambling to choose what all-important task you’ll need complete next on the spot. This tip can be particularly helpful if you make a daily list for the next day the last thing you do before you leave the office or desk. By doing so, you’ve left yourself a little road map for tomorrow that will be waiting for you in the morning.
- Make your clocks lie to you. If you find yourself having to do this little trick, you’ve reached some rather advanced levels of procrastination. Setting your clocks ahead by as little as 10 or 15 minutes can help you stay ahead of the game. If you are the type who perpetually turns in everything one day or even one hour late, this simple trick can help you meet deadlines with ease.
- Lie to yourself about year deadlines. Convince yourself that your project is due earlier than the actual deadline. Mark it on your calendar and tell your friends. In addition, if you have one large project with a deadline that seems ages away, breaking up the project into smaller tasks can not only help you attack the project more efficiently, but can also help improve your time managment skills. Or, if you have a smaller project coming up in a few days, try knocking it out right way. Not only will you have more time to make corrections and changes if need be, but you may just wow your boss and co-workers by actually turning in a project early.
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