We're all guilty of pushing projects aside to accommodate other responsibilities but letting those unfinished tasks hang over your head is likely causing you even more stress than you already have. Get to the bottom of your procrastination and back on track in 2016 by following these four simple tips...
1) Break down projects into more manageable segments.
Starting a project with the sole intent to finish makes us more likely to procrastinate starting at all. We don't know exactly how long it will take so we can't be sure we'll have enough time to spare. A better approach than this "all or nothing" mentality is to dedicate small chunks of time to the project and work without pressure. This will help you work more efficiently while also feeling less overwhelmed.
2) Eliminate distractions.
Taking a minute to reply to a text or read a Tweet may seem harmless in the moment, but all those minutes add up to hours of lost time. You can also eliminate distraction by preparing for obstacles. That can be keeping a small refrigerator with water and snacks by your desk, or tracking your online behavior with an app like StayFocusd. By being proactive about the problems you typically encounter, whether hunger or browsing the internet, you'll experience fewer distractions and get more done in less time.
3) Make an outline for those super complex projects.
It's normal to dread those truly daunting tasks that are unfamiliar or extremely in-depth. As a natural human response, most of us will react with either fight or flight-and if you're a "flight" type that means putting the project on the back-burner until you get the gumption to get it done. Rather than succumbing to your fear and procrastinating, pretend your role in the project is to simplify it for someone else. Create an outline as if you were handing it over to a coworker to complete. Since starting is usually the hardest part of a project, putting together a guide will not only serve as a reference but also give you the initial push you need to get going.
4) Ask for help.
If you constantly find yourself procrastinating because you feel in over your head with the project at hand, learn to ask for help. Whether it's a coworker or friend, asking for help will take you off the path of procrastinating and put you on the path of working towards finishing the project. Also, by getting another persons help, they'll likely keep you on task rather than wasting time.