Procrastination is a pit we all fall into during the work day. Everyone needs a moment to unwind, but there is still work that needs to get finished. Here are twenty five ways you can avoid procrastination and increase productivity to get more out of your time.
Develop Healthy Habits
Humans, by nature, are creatures of routine. Pick a healthy habit, like completing a task before checking your email or creating a to-do list, and stick to it for at least a month.
Limit Your Inbox Addiction
While email has become the primary method for communication in the office, the inbox might become a source of distraction. Try to check your email only at certain times of the day so you can stay focused on the more important tasks at hand.
Stay Away from the Snooze Button
Waking up just a little bit earlier every day will help you get more out of your morning. Those nine minutes after the snooze button aren’t going to do you much good anyway, so why not get out of bed and start the day off right.
Keep a To-Do List
Keep this list simple, and break tasks down into small chunks. Each item should take no more than five to thirty minutes, so that you feel accomplished every time you can place a check next to your goal.
While You’re At it, Keep a To-Don’t List
It takes the average person three weeks to develop a habit—and not necessarily good ones. Therefore, avoid procrastination triggers by making a to-don’t list; include things like Facebook, Tumblr, emails, cell phones, etc.
Your brain isn’t geared to take on too many things at once. By tackling one task at a time, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and accurately.
This may sound counterproductive, but taking breaks actually increases your work productivity. You should take a moment to stretch your legs, make a quick stop at the kitchen for some water, or de-clutter your work space. Do anything as long as it gives you fresh perspective from the task at hand.
While you’re on your break, you might want to consider going for a walk or jog. Being active does wonders for your body, mind, and emotional health.
Keep Away from the Phone
Most offices have a strict no-cell-phone policy, but even if yours doesn’t, try to avoid checking your phone every few minutes. Unless you are expecting an emergency, you should try to avoid this distraction.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Get rid of the more important items on your to-do list. Not only will this help you organize your work duties, but you will be making the virtual decision to get more things done throughout the day.
Complete the Task You Hate First
While you should concentrate on the most important task for the majority of your day, if your to-do list isn’t growing any smaller, perhaps it’s because you just need to get started. The best way to get over a dreaded fear is to face it head on. So get the task you’re looking least forward to out of the way first, and you’ll move down the list in no time.
Clean Out Your Space
This includes your desk space as well as your inbox. Try to keep your inbox at zero by organizing emails into respective folders. Keep your work area clear of mess and clutter.
Avoid Social Media
Unless you are in charge of public relations and social media, stay off Facebook and Twitter. These socializing tools will not only be distracting, but they may become a source of depression when you’re in an office, expected to do work.
Every creative person will have some sort of brainstorming method to turn to. If you’re stuck on an idea, take a few minutes to write them down without any distractions.
Always Have a Pen in Hand
This is the writer’s mantra, but it’s a useful adage for anyone. You may say you have a photographic memory, but let’s not test that theory. Keep a pen and notebook on you at all times so that you can jot down notes whenever you come across an idea you think is worth saving.
Find Your Happy Place
When coworkers are busy socializing and distracting you from your job, the best way to avoid joining the crowd is to plug into some music or find your happy place so that you can concentrate on work.
If your coworker is asking you to do busy work that will take time away from your own tasks, learn that it's okay to decline. You have your own to-do list to stick to.
Leave Reminders for Yourself
Out of sight, out of mind isn’t exactly true when you have a deadline looming above you like a dark storm cloud. Leave reminders for yourself to avoid missing important dates.
If you’re going to tackle that task, then tackle that task. Don’t bounce around, or go looking for distractions. Commit to a task and don’t stop until you get it done.
Track Your Time
In order to better invest time into the tasks that matter, keep a record of how much time you spend reading blogs, chatting with coworkers, checking your email, and other distractions. You will be surprised with how much of your day you’re wasting.
Pat Yourself on the Back
To boost confidence and encourage yourself, one trick is to keep a journal of your accomplishments. Even if they’re small tasks that you managed to get done, reading about what you were able to achieve throughout the day can give you that boost of confidence to get through the rest of the hours.