Do You Need a Kick?


Four Strategies to Avoid Procrastination (Part 2)

“Why do today what you can do tomorrow?”

How many of us have heard that comment? As leaders, we often delay or defer making decisions on things that need to be done.

Famous leaders like Thomas Jefferson famously warned us that we should never put off for tomorrow, what we can do today.  Abraham Lincoln led the movement to abolish slavery, insisting on not escaping the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Procrastination requires either improving our time-management skills or exercising more self-discipline.

Most of us procrastinate. Then we feel guilty about it and criticize ourselves for avoiding it. And yet we still do it. Sometimes we just need a good kick.

In my last post, I gave you four strategies to overcome procrastinating on work assignments that you don’t like.  This week I have four strategies to help you ‘avoid’ procrastination by removing the temptations.

Here are my four strategies to improve your work productivity and accomplish your goals.

Remove Distractions

The real challenge for leaders is to know when to show restraint.  Distractions are the fuel of procrastination.

Here are a few to avoid:

  • Office clutter: Clean up your space at the end of each day, at home and in the office. A clean space will keep you focused and not interrupt your work.
  • Email notification: Establish specific times to check email. Automatic notifications are distracting and cut into the time you spend on each project.
  • Telephone calls: Do not take all calls. Choose a time to return calls and texts.
  • Environment: Remove distractions such as books, magazines, etc., from your workstation.

Start Small and Build

Breaking a habit of procrastination does not happen overnight. You need to start small and build to end procrastination once and for all.

Begin by creating a daily to-do list.  I have an exercise book at my desk where I write a weekly task list. If at the end of the week, I didn’t complete my list, I forward them to the “top” of next week’s assignments.

Don’t pile on the work. Create a daily schedule breaking down your larger tasks into smaller ones.

Set Realistic Deadlines

Schedules and deadlines will help you stay focused.

Be realistic with your scheduling, and even allow time for interruptions and emergencies. Don’t create a schedule on the best-case scenario, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

It’s important to realize that your team’s time management has to do with the way you lead. Remember, leaders set the tone, and if you miss deadlines, people notice.

Reward Yourself

Procrastination is one habit you need to quit.

When you’ve accomplished a task, you’ve been postponing, reward yourself!

Taking action builds confidence, just like repetitions with weights build muscle. Reward yourself for the successes, this will lead to more action and achievement.