Seven Ways to Deal with Procrastination

That may Surprise you!

by Tammi Johnson in Time Management, Work Life
June 1, 2017 0 comments

7 Ways to Deal with Procrastination

Procrastination seems like an innate human characteristic, as almost every person somewhere in their life has done it—running away from tasks and putting them off for upcoming days. I was a true procrastinator, one-of-it’s-kind, but then one day, I had the epiphany that I am probably not making the most out of my life. Then, accidentally, I came across something that entirely changed my life—i.e. positive psychology. It’s when I discovered how to deal with procrastination and reduce stress. If you feel groggy, demotivated and feel tired of procrastination, this could your chance to deal with your laid-back attitude once and for all. Try out these 7 tips derived from positive psychology.

Tip 1: Focus on your strengths

Positive psychology teaches us to focus on things that work for us, and that includes working on your strengths. Another thing that works for you is your teams’ strengths. The combination of all of your strengths is your precious resource.

Ask yourself: how can I use my strengths or my teams’ strengths to perform the task at hand? You may find creative ways to accomplish a task and increase your engagement, productivity and enjoyment.

Tip #2: Prepare Yourself for It

We are likely to work on just about anything if the perceived level of effort will be less than the perceived benefit. In order to increase our changes of getting to an important task, we need to either increase the perceived benefit or decrease the perceived level of effort, or even both. For instance: Growing up in a small town in Israel I had no awareness of the importance of fitness and well-being.

As an adult living in the US, I started learning more about the benefits of physical exercise to one’s physical and mental wellbeing. But just knowing the tremendous amount of benefits of exercise couldn’t get me of the couch, until, I started setting out my workout clothes next to my bed. As silly and simple as it was, the first thing I would do when I get up in the morning would be to get into the workout clothes.

In days when I had to be at work first thing in the morning, I would still get up and wear my workout clothes. Just this simple act reduced my perceived level of effort for getting there. I already felt half-ready. I started using this technique at work too. Preparing files next to me, even when I wasn’t ready to start working on them.

Tip #3: Give It Sometime

The most difficult part is getting started. When we are overwhelmed by the task at hand we tend to procrastinate it even more. Just by deciding to spend as little as 5 minutes on a big task can make a big difference. Many times I commit myself to no more than 5 minutes on a task that can take around 5 hours. This ways, I am able to get myself over the starting point. And I find myself spending the whole 5 hours. And even at times when I don’t continue after 5 minutes, it still makes a big difference in the perceived level of effort required in getting over the procrastination barrier.

Tip #4: Control Your Energy Level

We have been told that we should perform less-interesting tasks earlier in a day when we are energized; however, there are a few hacks that could keep you productive and creative throughout the day. For example: Taking a 10-minute break, to clear your mind can make a big difference. For many of us, It’s counterintuitive. When we are too busy we feel like we don’t have time for breaks. Our breaks will actually end up producing more ‘time’. They will increase our energy in a way that our productivity will increase and we will end up getting more word done in a shorter amount of time. It lets us take control over our own time. My favorite break is 20 jumping jacks or a 5-minute meditation. It’s worth it, trust me!

Tip #5 : Reminiscence Your Past Successes

Think about that time when you felt most productive. One of the highlights from my career is actually from the first few years when I was leading a team of software developers in Israel. Until I had my first child, I used to stay at work for very long hours. Many weeks leaving at midnight just to turn around and come in he following morning. Once my oldest daughter was born, I had to adjust my schedule and squeeze 14 hours work days into 9 hours work days. It made me more focused and less distracted. Amazingly, I was able to get more work done and procrastinated much less.

Tip #6: Increase Positive Emotions

Positive emotions were proven to increase productivity and creativity, motivation and overall wellbeing. Increasing positive emotions will open us up to tasks we may dread otherwise. Ask yourself: Do I express appreciation to my employees each and every day?

Do I communicate a ratio of approximately five positive messages for every one negative message to employees and co-workers I interact with? Do I provide opportunities for my team to identify and utilize their strengths? Do I use my own strengths?

Tip #7: Make It Meaningful.

In his book Prisoners of our thoughts , Alex Pattakos provides principles that could help a person find meaning at work. Dr. Alex Pattaos based his book on Dr. Victor Frankel’s work about the search for meaning. The principle number 3 in his book says: “Detect the meaning in life’s moment”, describing that there is a meaning at every moment. We may need to notice and find that meaning.

Think about one thing you can start doing today to overcome procrastination and make it your new habit.

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