Procrastination At Work: 6 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Improve Productivity

Procrastination can be a scourge which takes hold of any team, resulting in lost efficiency, lost quality, and ultimately in lost profitability. Identifying procrastinatory tendencies as they begin to form and stamping them out of your workflow is essential to creating a productive and fulfilling work environment. Procrastination can quickly create a negative work environment, where team members can begin to feel like they are not accomplishing anything with their work or that they can get away with laziness without any consequences or serious managerial oversight.

These situations can have a strong effect on the mental outlook of your team, harming your work relationships and creating negativity in your workplace. Unproductive workers are inevitably unhappy workers, and nobody enjoys being a part of a negative work environment. So take a look at some of our top tips for preventing procrastination and improving productivity in the workplace!


What Are the Effects That Procrastination Can Have on Your Work Efficiency?

Procrastination is a tough hurdle to overcome. At one point or another we all experience lazy days where we aren’t at our best during our work hours and can’t accomplish what we want to with our day. If we can’t push through those low periods and get things done, life can quickly become difficult as our to-do lists get longer and the pressure mounts to achieve our deadlines.

The key to maintaining work efficiency is maintaining strong working habits. Procrastination can break our good habits and make it hard to catch up with our workloads, causing us unnecessary stress and making us dread waking up for work in the morning. Don’t let procrastination ruin your day! Make strong working habits and work smart and smiling rather than stressed and overwhelmed.

6 Tips to Stop Procrastinating at Work

Breaking the cycle of procrastination isn’t a one step process! Use all of these tips together to form new positive working habits and break free of the procrastination cycle forever. Ease your stress levels and head to work with confidence that you can get the job done well and on time.

1.      Break Down Bigger Tasks into Little Steps

Sometimes a task or project can seem daunting in scope, and we find ourselves thinking that it will be impossible to get the whole thing done by our deadline. The key to handling these kinds of jobs is to break them up into bite sized, accomplishable chunks. Pick out small pieces you can get done quickly and easily to start the ball rolling, then use that momentum to get through the rest of the job. Setting yourself smaller tasks will help you keep your focus and feel accomplished as you work towards your larger goal.


2.      Change Your Work Environment

The environment you choose to work in can make a big, big difference in your productivity. Even if you are required to work in a designated office space, the way you organise that space and what you choose to surround yourself with can distract and hinder your workflow, or help you maintain focus and knuckle down to get things done.

The first thing to think about is reducing your potential distraction – procrastinatory tendencies are hard to get rid of when you have easy access to distraction! Turn off any social notifications from your phone/social media, store your personal belongs away from your workspace, and avoid keeping any ‘fidgeting’ items on your desk; those knickknacks which can occupy the hands while the mind wanders, like small toys or unnecessary stationary. Limit your workspace to the items which are necessary to your work, and leave the rest to occupy yourself during your breaks.

3.      Create Personal Deadlines

If you have a task or project which you’ve broken down into smaller chunks you will find yourself with a final deadline for the job as a whole but no structure for reaching it. It’s useful to assign yourself sometime targets for your smaller tasks. Not only will creating personal targets and deadlines help to keep you organised and on top of the work, you’ll also be able to get a clearer measurement of your progress towards your ultimate goal, and feel the accomplishment of achieving the stepping stones which will get you there. Make sure to take a moment to congratulate yourself on hard work well done when you are able to tick off your targets during the day!


4.      Get Rid of Distractions

We’ve discussed organising your office space to avoid personal items distracting you from your task, but these aren’t the only potential distractions you might encounter. The temptation to check the news, browse the internet or check the score of your favourite sports team can quickly take you off track and off target for getting your work complete. You also might find that socialising with co-workers with whom you are friendly might get in the way of getting your tasks complete.

The best way to get rid of distractions at work is to turn them into rewards for completing work! When you achieve your personal targets or make that important deadline, make sure to reinforce that positive work with a positive reward – set yourself a 10-minute timer to browse your socials quickly and relax for a moment, before returning to tackle the next task.


5.      Don’t Spend Time on Things That Are Unimportant

It’s important to always keep an understanding of your overall goal or role within your team. What is it about your work that has the greatest impact on your team’s productivity, or is most important to get done today? Making sure that you are prioritising the things that only you can get done, and that need to be done soon, is important to maintaining efficiency. When you are looking at work that isn’t pressing or has little impact on others in the workplace, it can become all too easy to procrastinate and leave that work for later.

6.      Set Personal Goals for Getting the Job Done

In any workplace there are expectations, but often those expectations are less about the day to day and more about the end result of a given job or project. If you set yourself personal daily goals for getting work done, then you will find yourself with incentive to get as much done with your day as you can. Setting personal goals also means setting personal rewards, so don’t forget to grab yourself that nice iced coffee along with a pat on the back for a job well done.

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