Stop procrastinating with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
James Manktelow: Hello. I'm James Manktelow. I'm CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free career-boosting tools and resources.
Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools. Procrastination is a really common problem – one that disrupts careers and stops people achieving the things they're capable of. Wouldn't it be great if you could just stop putting things off, and start reaping the rewards of completing tasks on time? At Mind Tools, we believe you can, in just three steps.
JM: As most of us know all too well, procrastination is when we put off tasks that we should be focusing on, usually in favour of doing something that makes us feel more comfortable. There's no doubt it's an obstacle to career success, and the first step to overcoming it is to recognize that you're doing it.
You may already know when you're procrastinating, but just to be sure, prioritize your To-Do List. If you're putting off unimportant tasks, that's just good prioritization. But if you're not tackling the top-priority tasks, you need to take action.
Other tell-tale signs of procrastination are acknowledging what tasks you need to do but not starting them, and agreeing to do minor tasks for other people instead of focusing on your own more important ones.
AC: Once you've recognized that you're procrastinating, you need to move on to step two: work out why you're doing it. This often comes down to one of two reasons: you find the task unpleasant, or you find the task overwhelming. Identifying which of these two reasons applies to your situation will help you move on to the third and final step: Getting over it!
JM: If you find the task unpleasant, think of ways to motivate yourself to get started. This could involve promising yourself a reward, like something nice at lunchtime. Or ask someone else to check up on you. We all know that peer pressure works!
You could also think about what might happen if you don't get this task done. It could have nasty consequences for your career, or your company's bottom line, or both.
AC: If you're procrastinating because you're overwhelmed, you need to take a different approach. Break the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Then start with the easy ones, even if these aren't the most logical first actions. You'll feel that you're achieving things, and this will make the whole project seem less daunting.
Following these steps will help you start to conquer your procrastination, and will lead to higher productivity and a greater sense of achievement.