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Productivity / Time management tips

Seven steps to overcoming procrastination

Procrastination isn’t a long term strategy, but sometimes us soloists treat it as though it is! If you're constantly putting things off that need to be done, then read on for ways to overcome procrastination and get you off the avoidance treadmill.

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Procrastination happens to the best of us. And we rationalise our action, or lack of action in this case, in so many ways.

The harsh reality is that procrastination is just a nice way of saying avoidance. Why do we avoid things? Simple – because we don’t enjoy them, or because they take us out of our comfort zone.

So instead of succumbing to the dreaded beast – try these tips for overcoming procrastination:

1. Be honest about why you are avoiding the activity. Is it fear, is it that you don’t get on with someone, is it because you have to deliver bad news and you’re not sure how to go about it?

2. Commit to doing it at a certain time. I usually do the things I’d prefer to avoid in the morning, so they are out of the way.

3. Prepare! If you need to write yourself a script, do it. If you need to have absolute quiet, switch off the phones for a couple of hours. Whatever it takes – set yourself up for success.

"Why do we avoid things? Simple - because we don’t enjoy them, or because they take us out of our comfort zone."

4. Just do it!

5. Reward yourself when you are finished – but only when you are finished. I reward myself by going out for coffee afterwards, or taking a break.

6. Appreciate the feeling of getting something done that would normally sit in your in-tray for ages.

7. Consider whether you should actually be doing this job. There are some things that we just aren’t suited to, or that we don’t have the expertise for. If the things you avoid fall into this category, consider outsourcing them to an expert.

Want more articles like this? Check out the time management tips section.

What tasks do you tend to put off? Which of the above strategies for overcoming procrastination might work for you? Let us know via the comments. 

Megan Tough

runs Complete Potential, a company that helps businesses solve their strategy and people problems. She loves being a solopreneur, and when she doesn't have her nose to the grindstone, is fulfilling her other passion of fitness and health.

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