How to Deal with Procrastination

todo by Mateusz StachowskiProcrastination can be a true career killer. Putting off tasks results in stress, feelings of overwhelm and in the worst cases, missed deadlines – which can lead to some serious repercussions. The same holds true with things you put off outside of your job or business – ignoring that leaky roof, not getting your car serviced and not paying your bills on time can also lead to serious problems.

The biggest contributing factor to procrastination is the lack of desire to complete the task. Perhaps the task is too difficult, too overwhelming or too boring. Or maybe there are just so many other things you’d rather do with your time. Whatever the case, if you’ve got something you’ve been putting off you need to find the motivation to get it done. Here are some things to try:

  • Make the task fun: Play some upbeat music, hang up some decorations or break out some party snacks– whatever it takes to liven up the task. A friend and I once had to do a very mundane coding project and we kept using quotes from the Austin Powers films to make it fun. Anything you can do to make it less painful will help you complete it.
  • Make it a game: Race against the clock, try to set a record for getting the most things done in a given amount of time or give yourself points for completing each piece of the task. Again, making it more enjoyable will help you stick to it to get it done.
  • Reward yourself: Come up with a reward for completing the task – it can be a simple as a special snack or as nice as getting yourself a new gadget. Our parents used this to motivate us to study and do homework, why not use the same method that worked for us in the past.
  • Partner up: Find someone to work on the task together or find someone who’s also trying to deal with a task they’ve been putting off. You can either sit together in the same room or put each other on speakerphone and encourage and motivate each other to finish the task.

The trick here is to make the task less painful and more pleasant. It’s like adding flavoring to medicine to mask the unpleasant taste. One thing you’ll find is that once you get one task out of the way, you’ll feel a bit more motivated to tackle the next. For bigger tasks, break them into more manageable tasks that you can complete within 30-60 minutes. Again, you’ll find that once you get started you won’t want to stop.

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