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Battling with procrastination? 6 tips on how to improve your productivity

Is procrastination threatening to destroy your business? Did you know that thinking about a task for five minutes every day for a year would add up to 30 hours of wasted time? It is time to stop procrastinating and get your productivity into gear.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination can be simply put as “putting off what can’t or isn’t enjoyable to do until tomorrow”. The problem with this is that you end up with loads of little tasks which then urgently needed to be attended to and you feel stressed and sleep-deprived because you didn’t attend to the task when you had scheduled them. But why do we do this? There is some science behind this behaviour. We have two parts of our brain which are in constant competition with each other -the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for taking in information and making decisions while the limbic system is responsible for making us feel good. When we are not conscious of our behaviour or we not involved in a task we may be more prone to give into our limbic system which releases dopamine and makes us happy.  Both systems are critical to our life but we must be careful to hand over the reins to the limbic system when we are involved in work decisions.

People who suffer from chronic procrastination have the following traits:

  • They believe they have more time available for tasks than is true.
  • They believe that they work better under pressure.
  • They believe that working on a task when they are not in the mood will not be the optimal way to spend their time.
  • They think they will be more motivated to do a task later.

If you recognize yourself in these traits, then here are six tips on how to crush your procrastination.

Make a sandwich with your least favourite tasks

We all have task which aren’t our favourite. So what do you do with them? Put them between tasks which you like doing. If you don’t like calling someone but you like to check your emails and you like to research a new method on how to do your job, then put the phone call between the two tasks. This will give you a positive mind set when you start the undesirable task and it will give you incentive to complete the task so you can do your next favourite task.

Break your tasks down to bite-size pieces

Sometimes our tasks can seem daunting, like climbing Table Mountain. But it is achievable if you take it in small hikes. Break the task into smaller tasks. Work on each task and as you go you will gather momentum and before you know it you will be on top of your tasks.

Get rid of distractions

Distractions feed your instant gratification mood of your brain. It is important to remove all forms of distractions while you work. You could disconnect the internet while you work if you don’t need access for your task. Put the websites tabs which lead to procrastination in a folder on your web browser which is difficult to reach so that you will think before you try to access them. If you work at home make sure you create a distraction-free workspace so that you can focus on creating your epic business.

Prioritise and delegate the less important tasks

Make a to-do list of your work. The task which are less important and can be delegated, give it away to a trusted employee. This will free up your time to focus on the parts of your business which are important to you and which you desire to do.

Remember your goals

You started this journey for a reason. It is important to revisit the reason when you feel yourself being led to waste your time. By reviewing your goals and becoming aware that a delay today will put more stress on tomorrow, you may be encouraged to get to it straight away.

Reward yourself

Give yourself a reward after you have worked hard. When you have achieved your goals for the day, you could reward yourself with an hour of TV or a coffee date with your favourite person. Rewards help to motivate us to get the job done.

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