Career Woman

How to stop procrastinating and get on with that job you’ve been avoiding


We’ve all had those jobs that crop up every now and then at work that are just too awful to even think about starting right away. So we put them on the back burner by adding them to that Trello list where jobs go to die, or putting them right at the bottom of our to-do lists, where they should stay forever. That’s the idea anyway, unfortunately the reality is that these jobs have a habit of actually needing to get done eventually. So here’s some tips to get started on that job you’ve been putting off:

Get past the first hurdle

When you’re struggling to get started with a task that you don’t really want to do, there’s always a tipping point – or rather a ‘transition point’ – where you either complete an action and are underway, or you avoid it again. This action can be something as simple as arranging a meeting to kick off the project or even opening the file you’ll be working on.

Stay focused

One of the biggest obstacles between you and getting started on the job is how easily you can be distracted from doing it. There’s always a good excuse with an email alert or a notification on an app, while your office is full of distractions that can take you away from what you actually need to do. So you need to stop this from happening. Tidy your desk, get some headphones on and let people know you can’t be disturbed right now.

Know when you’re at your peak

Did you know that there are set times in the day when your energy levels are at their best and times when they are at their lowest? These are called ‘ultradian cycles’ and if you track your working day you’ll be able to identify the times when you’re at your peak and schedule your work accordingly.

Don’t let bad thoughts get in the way

Another thing standing between you and getting started is inside your head and it wants to keep on throwing obstacles in your path. You’ve probably been putting this job off because it makes you feel anxious or inadequate, and those thoughts will keep coming up, but if you use visualization you can picture them floating away instead of lingering and causing more delays.

Break up the job

Another psychological hurdle comes with the size of the job, which can seem really intimidating when you’re about to get started. But that’s all about perception and can be changed. Instead of trying tackle it all as one big task, try and break it down into smaller ones as part of a schedule of work. This will help you get it done more effectively but most importantly make it seem less daunting.

Don’t get thrown off course

Once you’re underway, it’s still easy to get distracted, especially early on, so you need to acknowledge distractions as they happen and use breathing exercises to focus your mind back on the real priority. Smaller jobs can come along that can be tempting to prioritize over the bigger piece of work, but you need to put them to one side and get back to work. If it helps, try using the Pomodoro technique of scheduling in 25 minute bursts of work followed by 5 minute breaks.

There will always be jobs that you want to put off and sometimes you can get away with procrastination, but when you really do need to get on with a task, these tips will help you avoid distractions and fears that can get in the way.

How to stop procrastinating and get on with that job you've been avoiding

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