Procrastination is one of the worst habits you can have as an executive support professional, but it is also one of the most common. Though everyone does it to some degree, procrastination negatively affects focus, productivity, and performance. These four tips will help you overcome procrastination and become more efficient.
1. Understand Why You Procrastinate
If you want to beat your procrastination habit, first you have to understand why you tend to procrastinate in the first place. Start by thinking about what tasks you are most likely to avoid. Do you avoid tasks you find difficult or are you more likely to avoid tasks you find uninteresting? Do you avoid tasks when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious? Some people also procrastinate out of indecision. Once you understand why you procrastinate, you can start addressing the root of the problem.
2. Identify and Eliminate Distractions
Having a lot of distractions nearby can make procrastination much more tempting. What are your top distractions? Do you procrastinate by checking non-urgent emails? Do you play around on your phone or chat with colleagues? Once you identify major distractions, you can start to eliminate them. If you have trouble focusing when there are other people around you, for example, you can reduce the temptation to procrastinate by finding a quiet workspace away from others.
3. Be Realistic About Your Goals
One reason people procrastinate is because they feel overwhelmed by a task. This often occurs when a person has too much on their plate. Being realistic about goals and deadlines can make tasks more manageable and eliminate the feeling that you have to procrastinate to cope. You can make to-do lists and goals more attainable by prioritizing tasks by urgency and breaking large projects into smaller tasks.
4. Keep Yourself Accountable
To overcome procrastination, you also need to keep yourself accountable. One way to do this is to choose someone at work whom you trust to monitor your progress. Encourage your friends at work to call you out if they see you losing focus or putting off important tasks. Another way to keep yourself accountable to your goals related to procrastination is to give yourself rewards for accomplishing major tasks and projects on time.
Most people don’t procrastinate because they’re unorganized or lazy. Most procrastinators are hard workers who avoid tasks when they’re stressed or overwhelmed at work. Anyone can overcome this habit if they put their mind to it. The key is to figure out why you procrastinate in the first place, eliminate triggers, and reward better behavior.
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