Everyone suffers from bouts of procrastination now and then. But when things really start to pile up you can get behind on important projects potentially costing you money, family time or even your health due to unnecessary added stress. That’s why recognizing the symptoms of procrastination is so important.
Here are signs you may be a procrastinator:
- You’re always focusing on the simpler, low priority items on your to-do list, thinking if you check them off you’ll be able to focus on bigger picture items.
- An important task on your to-do list remains untouched for weeks at a time. Ever set up reminders for these types of projects on your computer and find yourself frequently changing the date?
- You’ve finally carved out time to focus on a high priority item, you sit down to do it, but immediately find something else “more important” to do – make a phone call, check your e-mail, etc.
- Rather than tackling your own priorities, you agree to do things when others ask (even tasks you’d usually avoid) you to do so.
- You’re compulsively checking texts, messages on social media sites and e-mail hoping something more important will require your immediate attention.
If you can identify with some, or even all, of the above signs, you’re a procrastinator and you’ve got to get that dreaded task started! But how?
Here are some tips from our NYC Professional Organizer to help you break down that procrastination barrier and feel a sense of accomplishment:
- Identify the tasks you put off most often and then do them (as often as necessary) for 21 days. Then, they will become habit, and you’ll be able to work them into your routine, rather than skipping them.
- Address your most dreaded task first thing in the morning before you do anything else. Get it done and enjoy the fact you’ve completed it for the rest of the day.
- Another option is to make a plan to complete this task (schedule the time to do it) during the time in your day when your energy is highest. If you typically hit a mid-afternoon slump, you’re not likely to tackle a much dreaded project then.
- Start the task. Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” This NYC Professional Organizer has found that to be the truth! Once you get going, the momentum will help you keep it going until it’s completed.
- Sometimes you may need to break a very large project into smaller steps. As you complete each step, you’ll be closer to achieving your goal. Set realistic deadlines (always make sure to get deadlines from others when they’re assigning you a task).
- Always reward yourself for completing a dreaded to-do list item. Treat yourself to lunch, go for a walk, celebrate with others if it was an especially large project.
And there you have it – advice on how to NOT let procrastination get the best of you! As with most organizing strategies from our NYC Professional Organizer, thinking ahead and planning will give you the greatest chance for success. So, what are you waiting on? Get going on that to-do list!
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