Procrastination at work: 5 tips to stop procrastinating and improve productivity

Procrastination can be a big problem in any workplace, and it is a problem which can sneak up on you unexpectedly. When you are working long hours and your to-do pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller it can be difficult to stay motived and productive. It’s a problem which can fuel itself, as the more you procrastinate the harder it becomes to get stuck into the tasks you need to complete.

It can be a tough habit to break, but leaving things to the very lastminute can have a very negative effect on the quality of your work, so it’s important to tackle the problem of procrastination head-on.

Never fear! From time tracking to rewarding task completion, we’ve put together a great guide containing 6 tips your team can use to reduce the urge to procrastinate and keep productive over the long haul.

What Are the Effects that Procrastination Can Have on Your Work Efficiency 

We all know what it’s like when we get behind in our workload. The stress of playing catch up can leave you dreading the start of your day. Overtime it can really start to impact not only your workplace productivity but also your general mental health.

Thoughts of what you need to get done can get stuck in your head, and you can find yourself distracted from the task at hand. It’s all too easy to find progress slow going in your tasks as your split focus makes it difficult to work at your normal efficiency.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you nip procrastination and the bad habits that come with it in the bud!

5 Tips to Stop Procrastination at Work

Dealing with procrastination in the workplace can be tough, but knowing the right processes and understanding what you can do to help your team is a great way to start getting on top of the problem.

No one single thing is going to solve all of your problems, and procrastination is something that we need to stay on top of rather than something we can ever eliminate altogether. Use our tips to create workplace habits that will help your team get on top of workplace procrastination and stay there for the long haul.


1. Break Down Bigger Tasks Into Little Steps

The first of our procrastination tips might seem like basic commonsense, but it’s still worth putting out there. All too often you’ll see people looking at large projects and wondering how they’re ever going to get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Breaking work down into manageable, small tasks can make a massive impact on your work life. Small, achievable chunks of work can be completed on a day-to-day basis, letting you create a sense of accomplishment within the workplace. Feeling progress towards the end goal of a long-term project is incredibly important in maintaining team morale.

Make sure your team members start their workday with a completable set of tasks and that those tasks get finished. This will let the team leave work every day with a feeling of success, and come to work in the morning without feeling like they will be beating their heads against the same work they were doing yesterday.

2. Change Your Work Environment

The environments we place ourselves in can have distractions, and these distractions can stop us from being productive in our work. Often they can come from the sameness of the environment. Spend months working next to the same people or around the same items and you’ll inevitable create some procrastinatory habits, whether that be discussing a common interest too regularly with a work friend, gazing out the window at a particular view, or fiddling with a particular object.

Changing your work environment and mixing things up a bit can be a great way of combating those bad habits. Shift up the workspace so that people are working in different areas of the office and the workday suddenly won’t seem as ‘samey’ or boring in its’ regularity.

If you work from home the distractions can be particularly impactful. Maybe it’s time to spend a few hours working from the local library, or spice up the day with a coffee while you work from a nearby café. If you are able to get out into a new environment, you may find yourself with a spike of energy and motivation.

It can be a good idea to change things up even just during the day. Taking some work calls through your mobile, or having a one-on-one meeting witha colleague? Look at it as an opportunity to get out for a quiet walk while you review things, or have your chat while you grab a coffee together.

If you think about things for a bit, you’ll realise that changing up the environment you are working in can let you work without feeling like you are stuck in the workplace!

3. Create Personal Deadlines

Accountability is a great way of keeping your team productive to be sure, and as a manager you should be using deadlines as a tool to maintain an accountable workplace. But deadlines are also a great tool to keep yourself motivated!

Encourage your team to follow your example and set yourself some personal deadlines during your workday. Meeting these will help you feel a better sense of progress and completion in your work. It will make it easier to judge where you are at with your work expectations and may just give you the kick in the pants you need to get moving when you are in a procrastinating mood.

Having personal deadlines amongst your team can motivate everyone even more as you create a sense of friendly competition in the team to see who can be the most productive and achieve their goals during the day.

4. Don’t Spend Time on Things that are Unimportant

It’s all too easy to get bogged down in the things that don’t really matter all that much. Remember that not everything needs to be absolutely perfect, and don’t let yourself waste valuable time agonising over the details of a task that doesn’t mean much for the project as a whole.

Completing your work to a high standard is good, but it isn’t always necessary to go the extra mile, especially for minor things. Don’t waste your valuable time resources drafting Shakespearean level interoffice emails to your colleagues when you could be getting on with more important tasks, and don’t sit doing nothing while waiting for a response on something when you could make some progress in another area!

5. Set Personal Rewards for Getting the Job Done

We’ve talked about setting personal goals and deadlines as a way to combat procrastination, but it’s important to follow up on those goals by giving yourself a pat on the back and a reward for meeting those challenges.

When you’ve had a productive morning take the opportunity to grab a tasty treat on your lunch break. Using positive reinforcement on yourself can help you to train productive work habits into your daily routine, and help you get a better sense of satisfaction from a job well done!

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