Distracted at work? Here are 7 ways to fight procrastination

Written by Katrina Goldband  • HR  • 10 October 2022

Distracted at work? Here are 7 ways to fight procrastination

We’ve all procrastinated in order to avoid starting or completing personal or professional tasks. Whether you’re working from home or the office, there are plenty of distractions that can derail your day and inflate your workload. 

According to a study overseen by Darius Foroux, author of the best-selling book Think Straight and Do It Today, 88% of employees admit that they procrastinate for at least an hour a day. Contrary to what many people think, procrastination is not a sign of laziness but a result of fear of trying to deliver perfection. Delaying and working under pressure can lead to stress, guilt and ineffectiveness, so here are some tips to help avoid the stalling, to stay alert and remain engaged in the workplace. 

1.       Set clear goals

An essential starting point is to set clear and concise goals. Be as specific as possible. You’re more likely to procrastinate if the goals set are vague and not clearly defined. It’s also important to make them achievable and meaningful. 

2.       Baby steps

If the task at hand feels like a huge mountain to climb, it helps to break it down into steps to make it easier to manage mentally. While the end goal may seem like a big feat, checking off smaller steps on the way can give you a sense of achievement, keeping you motivated all the way through to the end.

3.       Concrete deadlines

While working on a big project, it’s usually only the final product that is on everyone’s timeline. It can be immensely helpful to break it down, naming times and dates when you expect to have each subtask complete. That way you are feeling a sense of progress and accomplishment during the process. 

4.       Reward yourself

Who doesn’t like a little acknowledgement to recognise the challenging work they’re doing? While it’s easier to receive a reward than it is to give yourself one, don’t forget that you deserve to celebrate the steps you’re completing. Have a short scroll through social media. Treat yourself to that chocolate bar. We all need something to look forward to and keep us motivated!

5.       Your environment

Whether you’re dealing with loads of laundry staring at you while working from home or getting the latest gossip by the water cooler, there are always distractions out there that can keep you from concentrating on the task at hand. It’s important to create an environment that minimises these diversions as much as possible. At home, if space allows, try to keep a minimal workspace away from those everyday, small distractions. In the office, block your calendar, set breaks throughout the day, and try to refrain from temptations between them.

6.       Focus on the “why”

Many of us know what we need to do and what’s expected of us, but do we understand why something needs to get done? It can be hugely motivating to understand the importance of the task at hand and its effect. Knowing how your work impacts the business can help give you a sense of purpose, focus more clearly, and ultimately be more decisive. 

7.       Don’t sacrifice the good for the excellent

We all want to do an excellent job and get recognition for our hard work. Sometimes, that drive can lead us to feel that we need to do everything perfectly the first time around. This is not always possible, especially when the task is something new and maybe more complicated. By relaxing your mindset and realising that mistakes may happen along the way, it can keep your stress levels down, making it easier to keep focused and stay on course. 

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