All leaders struggle with procrastination on occasion. Here are 5 proven ways to beat it.
One of my most important triggers for procrastinating is a lack of energy. I’ve found that I am most likely to procrastinate when I’ve been stuck in the office at my desk all day. The best way I have found of combating this is to move around regularly during the day. One thing that gets me out of a funk and away from procrastinating is to take a walk. The change of scenery and the fresh air refreshes me for the next part of focused work.
Get Some Sleep
This, of course, is also connected to the energy needed to focus on work and avoid procrastinating. It is important that leaders get 7-9 hours sleep every night consistently. If I am tired through lack of sleep, I have discovered I am more likely to procrastinate, because I feel I don’t have the energy to focus on my work.
Switch Off from Social Media
For leaders and procrastination, social media can be a huge time drain and an easy temptation. Turn off all social media notifications on your mobile and tablet. Consider using software to limit the time you spend on social media (I use iOS’s Screen Time settings to limit my time on social media to 20 minutes a day). If social media is a temptation for you on your desktop, then consider installing something like the Freedom software to block it at certain times. Why not simply make a decision not to open social media at all until after your work day is over?
Prioritise and Follow a Task List
Have you ever got to the end of the day, having felt busy all day, but then realised you procrastinated your way through a huge part of it and you have no idea what you have actually done? A task list is essential to know what needs doing and when. If it’s a long one, then that might even persuade you that you don’t have time to procrastinate! That said, you should ensure that only the next action for each of your projects is on your task list (a principle of the Getting Things Done system). Otherwise, your list might be so long that it pushes you into procrastinating! Then mark your Big 3 tasks for the day – the most important ones for moving you forward on your goals, and do those first. The sense of satisfaction will often outweigh the need to procrastinate!
Schedule Time Blocks for Work
One of the best ways I have found to avoid procrastination is to work in blocks of time using the Pomodoro Technique. This entails focused work for a block of time (typically 25 minutes) followed by a short break (usually 5 minutes). After a certain number of focused work blocks (for example, 4) you then take a longer break (usually 15-30 minutes). This encourages you to focus, but also to use the breaks to move around and refresh and reenergise to focus again.
My experience shows these 5 things can help me to avoid procrastination. Leaders: procrastination can be beaten! Why don’t you try them and let me know how you get on in the comments below.
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