“Put off till tomorrow what you are to do today” – most certainly, it has happened to implement this rule at least once to anybody. What is interesting is the fact that this behaviour is so common that a professional sophisticated name was coined for it – procrastination. Unfortunately, leaving things for later often turns into “never” and can be a significant obstacle on the way to effectiveness and efficiency, especially when it concerns persons running their own business or performing functions that require making key decisions. Procrastination kills the regularity, reduces alertness and breaks down your plans. It is not difficult to imagine potential consequences for a company or project resulting from such negligence. Fortunately, it can be avoided. How? Learn about three steps that will make it easier for you to stop putting tasks off for later.
Step 1: Think why you are reluctant do it at a given moment
The fear of failure, poor work organisation, perception of a task as a particularly difficult one or incorrect estimation of time necessary for its completion – the reasons for placing new tasks on the shelf named “one day I’ll certainly do it” can vary. However, without identification of the enemy, it is hard to choose the right strategy to fight him. If something seems to be too complex for you, divide it into smaller, easier tasks which will lead you to your goal. Always organise your to-do list according to the criterion of priority – this will make it difficult for you to deceive yourself that something is less important and can be done later. The problem with definition of timeframe can be, in turn, solved with measurement of completion time of particular tasks. If you use IC Project, you can do it easily with the Clock module.
Step 2: Become aware of negative consequences of procrastinating
The effects of procrastination are not always immediately visible. The relief resulting from delaying a difficult task is temporary and the consequences can be serious. Maybe you have experienced a situation when the vision of additional costs connected with employment of a new person made you unable to take any decision for a month, resulting in impeded company development. Think of a situation when you lost a client only because the offer that was supposed to be perfect finally was not completed or it was prepared at the very last moment and turned out to not be good enough. Not nice, right? Therefore, before you get tempted to put something off, think of negative consequences it brings.
Step 3: Simply start acting!
You must understand the reasons why and become aware of potential losses resulting from putting a specific task off. There is no better strategy to fight it than… starting the activity. If the whole project seems to be too scary, it is worth choosing the easiest task for the start. Do you need to write something down? Open a Word document. Do you tend to put off transfers? Start from logging into the bank. The performance of the first, even the smallest step, will make a given task become something more than just one of the points on your checklist – it will become more real. Turning it into a specific process, you will find it easier to commit to further activities.
Breaking up with procrastination and replacing it with a habit of getting down to things straight away is not easy, but possible. What allows to get rid of the unwanted habit is the awareness of the things that make us chronically put some tasks off as well as perseverance in self-improvement. Contrary to appearances, it is a matter of decision which… should not be put off.