Procrastination is like a black hole: once you get sucked in, it’s so hard to pull yourself out of that state of mind. It’s so easy to avoid the work you have to do for the things you want to do, and it’s something that everyone has done at one point or another, even if a person won’t admit to it.
In 2012, Salary.com took a survey of more than 3,200 people and found that:
- 64% of them visited non-work related websites during the day;
- about 21% of respondents wasted up to 5 hours per week;
- and 3% of them admitted to spending 10 hours or more on personal tasks per week during the workday.
These are valuable hours wasted that could be used productively. How do we avoid the black hole of procrastination?
First, it’s important to keep a to-do list for yourself that outlines all of the things that you need to get done. Use that list to hold yourself accountable for the things that you are supposed to be responsible for.
Once you have written your to-do list down, prioritize what needs to be done first and what can wait. Go a step further and take all those tasks that need to be done ASAP and do the most difficult task first. Research has shown that if you do the harder things first, you will find that everything else will seem easier and you will be left feeling happier at the end of the day.
Another way to help combat procrastination is to start the things you know you have to get done. Not necessarily finish them right away, but get them started. They’re more likely to stick in your mind later on when you’re going through the things you know you need to do. This is an example of the Zeigarnik effect, which is defined as “the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete.”
If you are the type of person who does well with planning, then write up a plan of how you will be accomplishing your daily goals. You’ll want to be careful though, as too much planning is a form of procrastination itself. Sometimes, it’s best to just dive right in and start somewhere.
Everyone occasionally suffers from procrastination, but if you know how to handle it, you can deal with it head-on before it becomes an issue. Don’t let it rule your day or your motivation.
Do you have any tips on how to handle procrastination?