Vivek is a relationship, result-oriented, and network-driven professional with over 60k hours of experience from the Consumer space across Urban and Rural Retail covering Modern and General Trade, Ecommerce, Digital Marketing, Youth Marketing, and Influencer Marketing areas. He has played multiple roles in leadership positions managing large teams of people. He has worked across varied sectors including Retail, FMCG, Fashion, Pharma, Wellness, and Toys with extensive travel within India and various international markets.
An ever-growing challenge in the workplace is procrastination. In an era where distraction has taken over a lot of space amongst the daily rigmarole of people – how should one really deal with it!
The monthly meeting schedule was announced a month in advance however Rajesh couldn’t complete the presentation. The time on his clock was 4pm and he was sitting on a 6 pm deadline. He was under a lot of stress cursing himself as to why did he delay this entire piece.
What really happened that he couldn’t complete this?
Was he too occupied in other urgencies?
Was it because there were a lot of external factors that drove this issue?
Was it cultivated over a period of time through patterns, habits, and attitude?
You may have come across a situation like this in your own career directly or indirectly.
This is quite a common problem with a lot of people.
This trap is better known as ‘Procrastination’. It is a conscious process during which people de-prioritize a certain activity in lieu of spending time on something else. The habit of delaying a priority task, usually by focusing on the non-priority ones, makes one feel relaxed due to the completion of the activity.
Whatever thoughts you may have about Procrastination…here are 10 ways to conquer it including aspects that may be leading you into the trap:
1. Set Well Defined Goals – Someone has rightly said that people who don’t have goals work with people who have it. When you have your own goals, you work towards them and move in a certain direction. Having goals can help you in avoiding the challenge of procrastination and the ones who move towards it enjoy the reward of having accomplished it. Do remember, the reward is lot more powerful mentally since one is able to train the mind to follow the command.
2. Jot Down your Goals – When we write down the big-ticket goals that we desire to achieve for the day, week or month and they are backed with clear timelines…the probability of the same getting accomplished increases considerably. The condition for this to happen is an uninterrupted focus for the allocated time. This would imply saying NO to:
Answering the phone | Checking of emails | social media
Another important consideration is to avoid the dilemma of getting into the right mood to initiate the project or task.
3. Be aware that you are Procrastinating – Putting something aside for genuine reasons or actively prioritizing something isn’t procrastination. The challenge happens when something is getting put off on a consistent basis.
Is the time getting spent on a lot of ad-hoc activities? Are there items on the to-do list that aren’t getting the desired attention? Are there routine activities like emails that are being read over and over again? Have you started an important activity and a few minutes later, you break for a cup of coffee? Monitor these to understand where the gap is.
4. Work to Enhance your Focus – One of the biggest challenges when it comes to enhancing your focus is to devote 2 to 3 hours on one of the most important thing to be accomplished.
It could also mean what Mark Twain had once said – “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” What this implies is to do the hardest thing first.
5. Hack your Mind – This implies when we do procrastination for good. When we are confident and believe that we can progress in all areas of life – it leads to something. The mind hack automatically divides the task down into tiny segments to make it appear easy for us. The mind also gets into the analysis-paralysis mode of Success and Failure. All that you need to do is to get started and make progress.
6. Discover your own Power – Sometimes people avoid doing certain tasks because they find it boring or uninteresting. Operate like a reset switch to be used once in a while just like a computer rebooting. This will ensure that even if you have missed something…you can always re-start and continue on that journey. For this to happen, one of the key enablers is effectiveness in decision making. If one can’t decide what to do and what to postpone when it will automatically lead to Procrastination.
7. Mindset – The real challenge isn’t procrastination but the mindset that you are not able to take time out for something or you don’t understand something. What can bring results are the lenses with which you see a particular thing. A lot of times, people have their past running the present wherein they start to feel that a given task will automatically take a back seat. The solution is to forgive your own self and start embracing the newer you to accept the evolving need that you are capable enough to address.
8. Remove unwanted distractions – Once you have committed to the task then the agenda has to be on accomplishing it. A big obstacle is connected to self-imposed distractions.
Avoiding social media or other internet-led activities beyond the purpose of what needs to be done demands close monitoring. You always have the choice for someone else to monitor on a friendly note. This gives you a better realization of how you are doing.
9. Are you organized or unorganized – When you are not organized then the probability of procrastination to set in is extremely high.
On the contrary, when someone is organized, it leads to clarity in both thoughts and actions. Such people carry some of the following traits: maintain a to-do list – either digital or physical as per their comfort, use task management apps or tools, tackle the hardest tasks at peak attention times, drive time-driven short term and long-term goals.
10. Reward yourself – If you have planned something important and you are able to accomplish it…then it is important to treat yourself well. When we break the bigger objectives into manageable chunks and see them accomplished, the feeling of that achievement helps us to achieve a lot more. It is this feeling that pushes us to the next level.
To summarize, it is important to procrastinate on low priority, not urgent, and low-value tasks. This would mean that you are able to actively manage what you need to.
Avoid getting into the procrastination cycle that may lead you to feel guilty thereby affecting your moods, thought patterns and you end up making excuses for yourself.
There are different time-based actions that people take. It might range from 15 mins to 60 mins however there isn’t a perfect approach in this. The key aspect is to keep garnering small WINS and be in that positive frame of mind.
A lot of times perfection leads to a high degree of procrastination and thus, don’t let perfection become procrastination. Get into the habit to…Do It Now!