We are all guilty of procrastination, some to a greater degree than others. Tasks left undone are a distraction that interferes with being a productive individual. It diverts your focus from the task at hand to those tasks that are undone. This lack of focus has a negative effect on our productivity.
Before you embark on the path to productivity, you need to break your addiction to procrastination. Here are 12 steps to help you do that:
Having your plans committed to paper is a motivating force. When you are completing a task in the present, it helps to know that its completion is making your future goals attainable.
These lists can become too long and, as a result, unrealistic. Then when these too numerous tasks are incomplete at the end of the day a sense of failure creeps in and destroys your ambition. Choosing one or two critical tasks and completing them is a superior approach.
This does not mean you need a list. Tackle the most challenging tasks during your peak productive time and address the less challenging tasks during off-peak hours.
Nothing disrupts your productivity more than constantly dealing with crises. Be a planner, not a cop. Planners shape the future and cops react to crisis. Proactive habits will minimize the development of crises and maximize your productivity.
I’m not suggesting that you be sloppy in your work, but I do encourage you to expand your paradigm of a job well done. If you are a perfectionist, you will never achieve the level of productivity that you aspire to. There are things you should just get done, there are things worth doing well, and there are things worth doing exceptionally well. Perfectionists don’t know the difference–do you?
If you are undisciplined you will not accomplish what you start out to do. Train yourself to be disciplined. One way may be to reward yourself when you complete a task.
Make the most of your available time and energy by utilizing the talents of others. Having great people skills will make you more productive by enabling you to enlist the help of others. This is commonly known as delegating. If you think you can do it all, you are doomed to fail.
Have you attended a meeting in the past week or two that was a complete waste of your time? Saying no to adventures in futility can recapture valuable time that enhances your productivity. Just say no!
Doing something well requires focus, and single-tasking allows you to achieve that focus. More to the point, single-tasking allows you to maintain that focus because once a task is off your plate, your mind is clear and ready for the next one. Multitaskers can’t truly focus!
If you are working on a task, work on it until it is completed, even though it may be taking longer than you anticipated.
Tell your spouse, co-workers, and friends what you intend to accomplish. This will provide you with an added incentive to see it through. Having others to hold you accountable is important.
Particularly daunting projects should be broken down into smaller components. Finish one small piece at a time.
—Andrew Cravenho is the CEO of CBAC–invoice factoring for small businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small- and medium-size businesses take control of their cash flow.