We’ve all had those days when we just can’t start things. There are tasks you need to get done but avoid them. You keep putting something off and working on other things. You’re procrastinating. 

It’s not that you aren’t getting any work done; you are just delaying or postponing a specific action or task. Over time, too much avoidance can affect productivity. 

Fortunately, making subtle changes in your approach can improve your productivity at work. This blog will discuss common reasons why we procrastinate at work and provide practical tips to beat our lousy procrastination habits.

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why we procrastinate

People procrastinate for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common are:

  • You don’t enjoy doing a specific task
  • You are worried about a negative result or poor performance
  • The task is challenging
  • It’s an action that makes you anxious
  • You put it off because you have plenty of time
  • There isn’t a clear direction or order of steps
  • Little value or no reward

10 ways to beat bad procrastination habits and get things done

Want to get more done at work? Put a halt to workplace procrastination with these simple-to-implement tasks:

1. set golas and create a realistic to-do list

To-do lists are highly effective only if you make realistic lists. You can put much unnecessary pressure on yourself by creating to-do lists that are not manageable within the amount of time you have to work on them.

Be realistic with your time, how long tasks take to complete, and how much you can get done during a given day, week, or month. 

2. start with a task you enjoy

Always start the day with something you like to do. This will help to get you into the flow of the workday. It can be as small as checking your email, having a daily huddle with your team, reviewing your schedule, or getting in the right work mentality. Plus, you will be able to check something off your to-do list. 

3. break down tasks into smaller, more manageable actions

People often procrastinate when they feel overwhelmed. One effective way to make things more manageable is to break down a task into smaller, easier-to-manage actions. Focus on completing these more minor actions one by one until the larger task is complete. 

4. stop overpromising

Overpromising can put a lot of pressure on you to perform. If you can’t do something, say so. You have limited time, and it’s essential to manage it well. You quickly get stressed about everything you need to do when you overpromise. You end up stressing about what you must do instead of getting it done. 

5. don’t try to multitask

Focus on one thing at a time. Give your full and undivided attention until the task is complete. Once done, move on to the next thing you need to work on. Continue this process until you complete all your tasks for the day.

6. sort tasks by priority

Sorting daily tasks by priority lets you get the most important things done when you are fresh. Tasks can take longer than anticipated, and other things can arise during the day. If you start with the most critical tasks, even if you don’t complete your whole list, the most important things we still get done. 

7. set deadlines and commit to them

Setting a timeline for tasks is important. It can help you plan tasks short and long-term. You have a better idea of when to work on tasks and, most importantly, when you must complete them. 

8. cut down distractions

Distractions are a time killer. They take your attention away from what you need to do and break your focus. Close your email, put away your phone, mute social media alerts, and don't listen to music. Stay focused!

9. start each day fresh

Forget past procrastination. There is no need to dwell on the past. Even if you had a tough day previously, focusing your efforts on today’s tasks will help you catch up. Remember, some days, you won’t get as much done as you would like, but you’ll also have days where you accomplish a lot. 

10. take short but frequent breaks

It is challenging for people to concentrate at full capacity for more than 90 minutes at a time. Once you pass this threshold, your efficiency will go down, and you will have greater difficulty concentrating. Tackle tasks in realistic blocks (30 minutes per task, for example). Take frequent short breaks to keep your mind fresh and allow yourself to recharge. 

Procrastination at work can affect your overall performance. To sum up, to achieve your goals, you will need to manage better the time you spend doing the task, but also the time spent planning the task.

Planning days in advance is fine, but the most important thing is to complete the task in question, even if this means reducing the number of tasks you do! Commit to action, not the number of things you want to do!

If you tend toward procrastinating, try the tips above to reduce your temptation to avoid specific tasks and actions in the workplace.

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