One of the major reasons for procrastination at work is that people avoid jobs and activities in areas they’ve previously struggled with. Instead of trying to improve in that area, most people avoid it altogether, making it worse. However, if you improve a skillset, you’ll become more motivated to do that job, helping to end the cycle of procrastination.
Recognize that everyone has both strengths and weaknesses. Just don’t let yourself rationalize or defend your areas of weakness. Instead, create a goal setting system, like the one below, to become good at your weaknesses. Set a goal and make a plan to become very good in each of those areas. Follow these 5 rules and you’ll be a top performer by the end of 2014.
How to Get Past Procrastination
Rule 1: Break it down
When you have a project that you’re procrastinating on it’s likely because you’re too overwhelmed with its size to tackle it. Begin by making a list of every step that you will have to complete to finish that project from beginning to end. Next, organize the steps by priority and sequence. These small tasks can now be added to your To-Do list in reasonable chunks of time.
Just like the old saying "by the yard it's hard; but inch by inch, anything's a cinch!"
Rule 2: Identify any Limiting Factors
Determine if there are parts of your plan that are going to be more difficult or slow you down. What are they and why will they slow you down? Is it weakness in a skill needed to complete that task? Plan ahead to get help in that area so you don’t quit.
If it has to do with resources or time, you should also plan for that accordingly to avoid discouragement.
Rule 3: Set a deadline
Take each of the small tasks from your master list for the project and set deadlines for completion of each part of the project. You can also set subdeadlines for completion of some smaller tasks on the list to keep you moving along. Subdeadlines are especially helpful for big projects.
Rule 4: Take action on your plan immediately
You’ve gained some momentum from just planning the project. Keep it going by starting on the first task today (or at least this week). By diving into the project you’ll start to feel more confident and motivated to complete it.
Rule 5: Always do the most dreaded task first in the day
This goes back to your daily To-Do list. If you’ve got something from your project that’s going to be especially difficult or you’re likely avoiding, do that task first thing in the morning. You’ll run out of willpower, mental energy and likely time to complete anything big at the end of the day. Don’t stop the positive momentum you’ve generated, keep that project moving and hit your deadlines!