Procrastination is the thief of time - and money too, at the PC. Your Internet connection, equipment and power cost you. Some tasks are no fun - but don't let them pile up. Constant dithering and delaying will wreck your health, wealth and reputation.
Here are 10 tips for helping you stop procrastination dead:
- Before you even sit down, sort out in your mind what’s 'urgent', 'important', both, or neither. (If an 'urgent' task isn't 'important' and the deadline passes, so what?). An 'urgent and important' task should normally come before an 'important' task. If you have a poor memory, write or type a quick list of your Top Five To Dos for the session, and delete or amend as need be.
- All other things being equal plan on doing easy tasks before difficult short tasks before long tasks. Always have something concrete to show for work-time in front of your PC.
- As far as you can YOU decide what 'important' and 'urgent'. There are bullies about - bosses, colleagues and customers - who think their merest whim is law. Learn to say 'No' politely. They may not like it, especially at first. But you'll grow.
- If you need help for your work, get it now, not later. If it’s not there now, you can ask later - more chances. If you leave it till later, it may have gone off earlier so no chances....
- You’re there going through your emails, databases and memos and suddenly out of nowhere, new jobs appear. The tendency is to 'do what's on top of the pile' first. Don't. Put it into the right place in your existing list.
- Do you get distracted easily? Try and be aware of this, and stay aware of what tasks need doing - and by when.
- Are you more energetic and creative morning, noon or night? Can you reschedule your targets to take this into account? Or do you just plod along, whatever? You may be a tortoise or a hare, but you can still win your own personal race if you plan ahead.
- Don't give up your breaks. You need to pace yourself. But put a time limit on all breaks, surfing, chatting or just daydreaming can eat into worktime with disastrous results. A rushed job is rarely your best shot, or a true reflection of your abilities.
- Be particularly wary of long lunch breaks, and overeating or drinking. If your afternoon's festooned with urgent and important chores, you’ll feel inclined to procrastinate big time if you're hung over, stuffed to the gills, or dead beat.
- Give yourself a treat if you hit all your deadlines. Doesn't have to be chocolate! And don't procrastinate on rewarding yourself when you deserve it.
Got other tips? Share it with us in the comments below.