There are countless reasons to put off working on a project. Maybe you’re daunted by the size of it, or the deadline is far off, so you don’t feel urgency to get moving. Whether your procrastination is the result of perfectionism, negative thought patterns, or even boredom, there are easy changes you can make to increase your motivation and complete high-quality work without missing deadlines.
Take charge of your day
It’s easy to find excuses to not take action. I don’t have time. I’m too busy. I’ll do it later when things calm down. To move beyond procrastination, you need to take charge of your time.
- Don’t let external demands control your time. Deadlines and mundane tasks are likely a part of your days. Take charge of your schedule.
- Minimize interruptions. Turn off your Teams, Outlook, and text notifications if you can. Block off time on your calendar. Prioritize your tasks.
- Ask yourself: What needs to be done now? What can wait until later?
- Figure out and respect your preferred working methods and energy levels. Consider when you’re most productive and schedule your day accordingly.
Set small deadlines
If you sometimes feel like you’re accomplishing nothing, it may be because your idea of getting something done is too big.
- Focus on the wins, no matter how small. Set small goals and interim deadlines throughout the day.
- As you hit each small target, you’ll build momentum and feel motivated to strive toward the next goal.
Achieve an optimal level of positive stress
We all face stress at work — deadlines to meet, unexpected problems to solve. It may sound counterintuitive, but a little stress can be a good thing. Positive stress can give you the energy you need to stay motivated. The key is to achieve an optimal level of healthy stress.
- Know your limits. Find a challenge you can realistically take on.
- Don’t be complacent. Push yourself to achieve great things, one step at a time. Remember that a challenge should stretch you without breaking you.
Collaborate to stay engaged
When we pool our resources and expertise to work on a task with others, we share ideas, discuss options, and develop ideas as a team. One person’s enthusiasm might inspire you. New eyes bring new perspectives, which may help you look at a task in a new way.
- To ensure your collaboration is effective, be sure you have a diverse group to offer different perspectives.
- Allow some quiet space to build on the ideas that emerge.
- Effective collaboration can be structured or informal.
Try these techniques to help you take action and leave procrastination behind, and look into these self-paced, online elevateU resources for further motivation and guidance.
- The Art of Staying Focused (30-minute course)
- Beating Procrastination by Boosting Your Creativity and Drive (19-minute course)
- Taking the Lead with Workplace Motivation and Engagement (20-minute course)