Many people who work from home will be familiar with procrastination – the putting-off of something that needs doing in favour of something else, or even nothing at all!
Procrastination is a time and money eater. It also causes anxiety and stress. So why do we do it? Procrastination appears to be a natural phenomenon in humans. Essentially, we are wired more for immediate payoffs than long-term ones.
Writer James Clear describes it as the conflict between the Future Self and the Present Self – like when your Future Self wants a beach body but your Present Self wants the donut!
It’s also easy to put things off when you are surrounded by pleasing distractions. But here are five ways to beat it.
- Create a to-do list of your most pressing tasks. When it comes to tackling your list, complete and tick off each one before starting the next.
- Break down tasks into smaller blocks – such as half-hour slots. This can be especially useful for a big project.
- Create an environment that doesn’t foster procrastination. This may involve disconnecting from social media or setting fixed hours for work.
- Commit to good habits. Doing things out of habit means you don’t need to waste time deciding what to do, but rather do it automatically. For instance, you might create a habit such as “I always work on the accounts between 2pm and 4pm every day”.
- Get an accountability partner – someone who checks up on your progress on a task. If delaying the task is inconvenient to your partner, you won’t want to let them down.
One thing to remember is that shame and guilt rarely work when it comes to beating procrastination. So, don’t berate yourself over it – recognise it as part of your brain-wiring and find ways to beat it.