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Three steps to stop procrastination – CMD Recruitment

Procrastination is a problem that affects all of us from time to time, but some people have better tactics and coping mechanisms to help them to overcome it, says Dan Barfoot, operations manager at CMD Recruitment.

Many of us are familiar with the feeling of dread when we have a critical task that needs to be completed but we can’t quite seem to stay focused.

Procrastination is a problem that affects all of us from time to time, but some people have better tactics and coping mechanisms to help them to overcome it.

If you’re struggling to stay on task and want to know how you can be more effective and focused throughout the day, try these three steps to overcome procrastination.

Procrastination is a term given to the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the very last minute or until they are overdue.

You might avoid a task because it’s boring, because it’s unpleasant, or just because you would rather be doing other things.

When we look at the psychology of why we procrastinate, we learn that it’s down to the drive to delay is stronger than the drive to act.

This is an irrational state that is usually driven by anxiety or fear. But the fear of the consequences is far less severe than the fear of getting started.

Some people procrastinate for a very good reason. They like to feel a little under pressure in order to excel at the task.

These are called active procrastinators, and they are typically perfectionists and people who thrive in high-pressure environments.

Passive procrastinators might not know why they procrastinate, but it could be down to mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and OCD.

In this case, it would be beneficial to address the underlying issues.

If you’re struggling to overcome procrastination and would like to feel more in control of your workload, try these three steps.

Set small goals

When you’re starting at a few big tasks on your to-do list, it can feel daunting. Even with deadlines attached, it can be difficult to get started, even if the consequences of not finishing could be problematic.

When your procrastination is the result of feeling overwhelmed, you need to break everything down into smaller steps. By breaking down big tasks into smaller components, you will feel a great sense of achievement as you work your way through the list.

Checking off a few minor tasks might not seem like much, but everything is a step in the right direction and it will help you to tackle the issue head-on.

Remove distractions

If you have an opportunity to do something more fun or enjoyable, you can guarantee your brain will take the easy way out. An example of this would be trying to watch TV while you work as a way to keep you motivated. This is counterintuitive because you’ll just end up watching TV and giving your work the bare minimum attention.

Instead, remove or block any distractions that might get in your way. Common distractions include social media, TV, friends and pets.

When we’re trying our hardest not to focus on something that needs a lot of focus, even something boring like housework can feel like a better option. Try to refrain from letting yourself get distracted while you pick your way through the list of smaller tasks.

Forgive yourself

Beating yourself up for procrastinating is just going to increase your fear and anxiety around the task. Instead, give yourself a break and accept that this is a normal human response to something that we find unpleasant. It might be irrational, but it’s certainly not uncommon, so don’t blow it out of proportion.

You should also look inward to examine if there is an underlying reason you might be procrastinating. Perhaps you are dealing with feelings of anxiety or depression and this is impacting your ability to focus on tasks. By addressing the underlying issues, you might be able to make it easier for you to tackle the big tasks that you put off in life.

Procrastination is an all-too-common part of being human. We all do it from time to time, and there is no sense in beating yourself up for your poor working habits.

Instead, make your tasks more manageable, remove all potential distractions, and give yourself a break when things don’t go to plan.

Dan Barfoot is operations manager at CMD Recruitment, which has offices in Devizes, Melksham, Calne, and Bath

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