Is there a job on your to-do list that pops up again and again, which you simply can’t bring yourself to complete? We all have them and unfortunately, there is usually no escaping them.
Whether it’s a report you should’ve written weeks ago, a difficult conversation you need to have with a colleague or simply a stack of emails that need actioning – these tasks may seem small and menial to outsiders, but to the beholder, they can appear impossible to complete.
Usually, the longer you procrastinate, the harder it is to get started again. What was once a small irritating chore can easily turn into a seemingly heavy, burdensome assignment that grows in size and weight every day.
Don’t let your to-do list take over! Use the tips above to help you take action.
1. Explore the real underlying obstacle blocking you:
What is really stopping you from completing the task at hand? While on the surface you may plead lack of time or resources, it may also be a mental block – perhaps you are afraid of not performing the job well enough or of what others may think. If there is an underlying emotional or mental block, working through this issue may be all it takes to get things moving.
2. Set yourself small goals and take bite-sized action:
Large projects or tasks don’t need to be accomplished in one go. By breaking down the task into tiny pieces and setting yourself small, easy-to-achieve goals, the task won’t seem so daunting. For example, instead of clearing your entire inbox in one day, make a commitment to clear and action five emails every day. Or if it’s a report, set aside one hour every day to whittle away at it.
3. Don’t let your choices turn into burden-heavy obligations:
Many people who procrastinate describe the feeling as “being trapped” or experiencing a “burden”. This feeling of disempowerment and obligation certainly doesn’t help when you’re procrastinating. It’s important to remind yourself that every action is a choice – feeling that you are free to choose and have in fact chosen to complete this task, can help remove this feeling of entrapment and burden.
4. Reward yourself for any progress on the task:
Any progress you make on your most hated chore, even the smallest advancement, is worth a pat on the back. Research shows that people who are praised for their work are more productive. Obviously, small improvements may not be worthy of celebration, but they are worth acknowledging to yourself and used as motivation for further improvement.
5. Discover your own personal work rhythm:
You’ll find that at certain times of the day you feel more alert and productive. These peaks and dips in your energy levels are all part of your natural rhythms, which determine your patterns of action, rest and performance. You need to work in harmony with your energy levels. Don’t force yourself to work when levels are low – make the most of time when levels are high.
6. Train your brain:
Another great way to improve your time management skills is to invest a in a training course that can teach you the skills you need to stay on track. At Trainwest we offer a Certificate IV in Project Management which can provide you with the skills and knowledge not only to manage overall outcomes but also the scope, time, cost, human resources, quality, risk and safety aspects of the project. Investing in a management course will kick-start your career in more ways then one, as not only will you become more productive but you’ll also be building on your qualifications!