5 Ways to Avoid Procrastination Pitfalls
It's funny that as I write this, I am procrastinating and looking online at everything other than this blank word document. Forty-five minutes just shot by as I pinned my favorite recipes, outfits and cute kitten pics on Pinterest. Hold on, someone just sent me a friend request. Okay. I'm back. Where were we? Yes, procrastination. It happens to the best of us, and not because we are lazy or unmotivated. We just get burnt out on the ins and outs of working life.
Life and parenting coach Lauren Rosenfeld says it best:
“We all procrastinate, sometimes. But be careful. What we avoid ends up taking over our precious time and our energy. If you take two days with your stomach in knots, walking past a pile of bills (or laundry, or unsorted mail, or unscrubbed pots and pans) that would otherwise take fifteen minutes … You've just spent two days and fifteen minutes on that task. Wouldn't it be better just to take the fifteen minutes to get it done?
Amen to that. It's true that cycles of procrastination come and go. But here are five ways that I'm tackling things when the procrastination bug bites:
Organize Your To Do List Logically
Make a list of to do's at the start of every week, or even ever day. Just be sure to make it doable. There's nothing like crossing things off a list one by one. That's a good feeling. But there's also nothing worse than feeling like a failure come 5 p.m. because of a list that wasn't even possible in the first place. Make your daily goals attainable.List the most undesirable of tasks first on the list and tackle those out the gate. By getting those out of the way before lunchtime you are ensuring those tasks are tackled when you have the most energy. Fill the rest of the list with the easiest task last so while you're working away, you know that things will only get better each time you cross something else off of your to-do list.
Take a Break
While this might sound counterintuitive to trying to avoid procrastination, a time that is reserved for refueling or reenergizing is a must. Whether you take time out for a healthy bite to eat, or clear your mind while you play a game or two, you'll feel refreshed. The best work is done with a fresh mind and attitude. Staring at a computer screen without coming up for air all day is a surefire way to burn out – fast. It might also help to have something fun planned at the end of a particularly stressful day. It gives you something to look forward to and real motivation to keep working hard.
Change Your Scenery
Working from home definitely has it's advantages but it can get lonely and tedious. Sometimes taking your work outside of the office gives you a whole new perspective on the tasks at hand. Try working from a different location – like a coffee shop, a library, or the park. The difference in atmosphere might be enough to get your creative juices flowing. Seeing other people working might also give you the motivation to keep on plugging away.
We all have a friend or know someone whose energy seems to be boundless. Maybe it's someone who is very successful in what she does or is a great sounding board for ideas. Try meeting up or even having a quick phone chat. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people, especially ones that inspire you, is a great stepping-stone for making progress in your own work
life. Branching out also helps you to think outside of the box. Getting input from others is a great way to be sure you're on the right path and in turn you'll likely remained focused.
Stomp Out Distractions Before They Happen
Avoid procrastination pitfalls – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, favorite sites – by making them less accessible. I make it a point to log off of all social media when I'm under the gun. Otherwise the temptation to stray is too much. Close down your IM or chat features on your computer for just a few hours at a time. Life will go on without your chatter, and you'll be able to accomplish double what you put your mind to without the distractions.
Moms, what causes your procrastination and how do you deal with it?
Image via Flickr