We’ve all procrastinated at one time or another. And while for some, procrastination may represent a brief lapse in productivity, others are plagued with chronic procrastination that threatens their livelihood and business. Wherever you may be on the spectrum, it’s important to recognize your tendency to procrastinate and respond promptly, especially now that tax season is upon us.
The following five steps will help anyone, regardless of the severity of their procrastination problem:
1. Determine the holdup. Whether you’re addicted to the adrenaline that comes from waiting until the last minute, you believe you work better under pressure, or you’re lacking the experience and expertise to complete a particular task, you’ll be unable to resolve your procrastination issues until you know what’s causing them. And don’t fool yourself. There may be one reason you’re procrastinating Task #1 and a completely different reason you’re procrastinating Task #2. Take the time to determine exactly what’s holding your back.
2. Fake it ‘til you make it. Sometimes there’s no way around a tiresome task than to get busy and do it, even when every part of you is resisting. Often, the only way to gain the momentum necessary to tackle these unpleasant tasks is by putting one foot in front of the other until it’s completed.
3. Tackle the most formidable tasks first. The tasks you procrastinate are generally the most unpleasant. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor if you tackle those tasks first. You know what they say: swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day. When you complete these tasks first thing, you’ll find yourself recharged and ready to tackle the remainder of your day with ease.
4. Break bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. Those overwhelming projects are best handled bit by bit. Break those large projects into smaller tasks that can be handled on a daily basis. Schedule these smaller tasks into your day so that you are able to better inch towards project completion.
5. When feasible, delegate or outsource. You don’t have to do everything yourself, especially when it makes more sense to delegate the task to an employee or outsource it to someone who’s more qualified for the job. Whether it be remodeling your office or doing payroll, it’s important that you evaluate how much it will cost you (in time) to complete yourself versus having someone else do it for you.
Luckily, procrastination is curable. With a little self reflection and a few action steps you can move forward into greater productivity and profitability. These 5 steps should get you started.
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