Few people can claim to be entirely immune from procrastination, whether in their personal or professional life. At one point or another, almost everyone falls into the habit of continually putting off unpleasant work or tasks.
Attacking the Tendency to Procrastinate
People procrastinate for a variety of reasons, such as the desire to avoid difficult or unwelcome work, the fear of failing, or simply a lack of motivation. But whatever the reason, procrastination can become a major problem for individual employees and entire organizations when it comes to performance and productivity.
One simple strategy to help reduce procrastination that has worked well for countless people is simply creating a set routine for certain tasks—for example, always complete specific items on Monday mornings, always finish some type of work before leaving the office Friday afternoon, or spend the lunch hour every Wednesday focusing on items on your to-do list.
Benefits of a Set Routine
One of the major benefits of a set routine for work, aside from helping you stay organized, is that it eliminates the question of when to get started. And getting started, of course, is the true solution to procrastination.
For example, consider a manager who knows she has to review employee time sheets by the 15th of every month. The task may take no longer than 2 hours, but it’s so monotonous and dreadful that she always puts it off until the last minute. But what if the manager decided to block off the afternoon of the first Friday of every month to review the previous month’s time sheets? She will likely find that having time set aside for this task not only makes it easier to get started but also helps reduce the anxiety of incomplete work.
It’s obviously stressful when work has to be done by a set date but hasn’t been started yet, but if the work is scheduled for a later date, the work hasn’t been put off but is instead planned and accounted for.
Take Time to Get Started!
One of the most important steps to overcome procrastination is simply getting started. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest. However, there are many tools and strategies available for those who have a tendency to put things off, and simply creating a routine is a great place to start.