When you leave work each evening, do you close the door behind you safe in the knowledge that you had a productive day and achieved your goals? Or do you leave with a troubled mind, regretting all those items still on your list that you failed to complete? The likely answer is that it depends on the day. Some days are more productive than others. However, if you’re frequently failing to complete tasks and meet objectives, it’s time to take action.
There are many reasons you could be failing to check items off your to-do list. Some of these may be outside of your control. One big reason could be that you procrastinate. Instead of starting that big project you decide to do the coffee run. Or, you decide to check your Twitter or Facebook page. Sound familiar? If this is you, you’re certainly not alone, and there are steps you can take to beat procrastination and work smarter.
Establish The Right Conditions
Before you start on your list, are all the conditions adequate for you to complete your tasks to the best of your ability? For example, is your workstation set up properly or is some aspect causing you discomfort? Is your clothing or uniform comfortable and sufficient for the task at hand? Do you have all the materials and tools available to complete the work? If the answer to these questions is no, take steps to resolve them once and for all. Request a workstation assessment and rectify the problems. Make changes to your clothing or uniform. If you have a practical job, ensure your uniform is sourced from a reputable supplier such as http://www.cherokeeuniforms.com/category/10090/ and will allow you to get on with your job without having to think about what you’re wearing.
Gather together all the tools and materials you need so you don’t have to stop part way through to find them. There are several apps you can download to help you get organized, complete your work and avoid procrastination.
Getting the conditions right will prevent false starts and will allow you to complete the task unhindered.
Eat The Frog
It was Mark Twain who wrote about eating a live frog first thing in the morning. It isn’t a real frog, of course, but it refers to the tasks you don’t want to do. Frogs are those items that lurk at the bottom of your list until you’re up against the clock and are rushing to complete them.
Getting these tasks out of the way first, provides the motivation to be productive for the rest of the day. It’s a sense of achievement. And, if you complete nothing else all day, at least that task is crossed off your list.
Remove any possible distractions. This could be chatty colleagues, snacks, social media feeds, etc. Switch off your phone, close your email for a while and tell colleagues you’ll chat with them later. If distractions are absent, you’re more likely to focus on the task at hand and get the job done.
Start Well And End Well
At the end of each day go through your checklist and tick off any items you have completed. Add new items that have arisen. Leave yourself notes if there’s something you need to remember. Before you leave, tidy your desk, file emails and ensure everything is ready for the next morning.
When you arrive at your desk the next morning, check your diary and list, so you know exactly what you’re working on that day. Starting well and ending well, will help you to remain organized and prioritize tasks.
What methods do you employ to beat procrastination? Do you rely on tried and tested strategies or do you look for apps or tools to help?