You’ve checked your inbox twice, made a cup of coffee and had a sneaky look on Facebook. But that all-important task still hasn’t been done. We’re all guilty of it: putting off a job that we really don’t want to do.
When you’re regularly missing deadlines or your productivity is low, putting off those jobs could be damaging your career prospects and placing you in the firing line at work. So if you’re a serial procrastinator, here’s our guide to getting back in control.
Most of us avoid doing what we dislike, but the problem is that most jobs aren’t all fun and games – it’s called work for a reason! Quite often, the best way of tackling unpleasant tasks is to get them over and done with, and reward yourself afterwards – that’s how your mum got you to eat your greens, after all!
But we know it isn’t always that simple. If you’re dreading every day at work and Sunday nights are filling you with anxiety, it could be that you need a career rethink or talk to your boss about managing your work load. But if it’s a simple case of dawdling over your tasks on a daily basis, it could be that you just need a bit of help organising yourself. Being disorganised is self-destructive as it leads to stress, but it is a habit that can be hard to kick. Stress can be a great galvaniser – which is why many of us leave jobs until just before the deadline.
Getting into good habits is a great way to keep productivity up. Are you getting enough sleep? are you eating energising food? these factors will without doubt affect your mood when you get to the workplace. It’s hard to concentrate when you’re yawning or have an empty stomach. Give yourself a set period for settling in everyday at the office. If you need to make a coffee, check your emails and catch up on the headlines, that’s fine, but stick to ten minutes.
Set yourself minimum goals for the day, and try to beat them. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you fail at first though, as negative thinking can lead to a downward spiral of losing self-confidence. Don’t take on too much all at once as well, breaking a task down into smaller parts can make it seem much more manageable. After all it takes a lot of bricks to build a pyramid.
If you’re a list maker but only ever tick off the easy jobs, try interspersing an easy job with a difficult one. The feeling of accomplishment should spur you on. If you tend to have similar tasks to do every day, have an idea of how much you have to get done before you can take a break. Rewards are important as they will incentivise you to work. Time yourself for 45 minutes of intensive work, and then reward yourself with a five minute break and a hot drink. Setting yourself realistic goals will make them seem much more achievable.
If you get distracted midway through a job, it could be that you’re not in the right frame of mind to deal with the task at hand. You’re most alert first thing in the morning, so face the day head on and do the most difficult job first. If you have to do a difficult job later on in the day, keep distractions to a minimum and make sure your work space is conducive to getting things done and not too cluttered – although don’t prioritise tidying ahead of getting the important task done.
Finally, think through your tasks for the following day and even make a list of key tasks you need to complete. Getting yourself organised the night before will wipe the slate clean for a fresh start the next day
So, are you ready to tackle tomorrow now?
For more workplace advice or to speak with one of our experts regarding your next career move, contact your local branch today.