We’ve all been there – sat at work surfing the internet, knowing full well there’s a big project, report or task looming ahead. We know we have enough time to complete it, but we need to make a start, and soon. After your second cuppa, you’ve still not made a start. Procrastination could be a serious issue if it means you’re always putting off doing things, but when you’re feeling uninspired to get going, what can help to motivate you?
Figure out why you’re putting it off. What is it about the task or report that leaves you feeling unmotivated and fed up? Sometimes, there’s no reasonable reason, we just don’t want to do something, but being an adult we know we need to put our big boy or big girl pants on and just get on with it. Or, it could be that this means interacting with that annoying co-worker or maybe this is a ‘group’ project that means only one person ends up doing the work – whatever the reason, try and figure it out. It will help you to make the next steps and get on top of what’s holding you back.
So now you know why you’ve been putting it off, how do you get over the initial issue and move on? Sometimes, our procrastination has built up over time. If you’ve ever worked anywhere where there’s lulls in the work, it can be really difficult to motivate yourself when something comes in that needs attention. The first thing you could do is make a list of things that need to be done and give yourself a time limit to complete them. If you have a number of things, or a number of steps to achieve 1 thing – write it out and set out specific but realistic timescales for completing them. As you progress through the list, crossing off the items can help you feel you’re achieving something, which in turn, helps keep you motivated to move forward.
Rewards – these are always important in life! But, use the tools you need to get you motivated! Coffee break with a slice of cake? Beer after work? Whatever moves you to action, utilise it. Make a deal with yourself that whatever you are doing has an end to it, with something you can look forward to. You can also set yourself challenges, so if you complete the task early, you get something extra.
Minimise distractions. This can be a really big issue for a seasoned procrastinator. Maybe that inbox is calling you with useless information, newsletters and e-mails from the other half about what you want for tea! Whatever it is that provides that distraction, get rid of it while you focus on your task to earn your reward! Some people like to listen to music or watch TV while they work, but if you find it distracting get rid of it. This can be more difficult in an open plan office, so think about other possible options – can you move desks for a while to complete the task, use an empty office or meeting room? If you need to turn off your e-mails for a while, set your out of office. That way, people won’t be calling you for the info they’ve e-mailed you about. It gives them a clear indication of when you’re back at your desk to manage the things they’ve asked of you.
Focus on the long game. Think about the more long term benefits to getting this task completed – past crossing it off the to do list and that after work drink. Will this impact your performance reviews, is it something that’s likely to come up again? Is it an opportunity for other prospects in the company? What about if you don’t complete the task? What will happen? How much trouble will you be in? Considering the consequences of your lack of action now could help to motivate you to complete it and get it off your desk. No one wants to face the boss and tell them you couldn’t be bothered to complete a simple task, so thinking about the negative side of things may help get you moving.
So, none of this is a magical cure for your procrastinating behaviour, but if you utilise the tips we’ve shared here, it can help to put you on the right track. Your habits form over time, so before you know it, you’ll be back to your normal effective self at work.
So, what’s this got to do with The Wage Shop?
Our great advice is just part of your simple, flexible service. With The Wage Shop, we make sure you’re paid on time and take care of your Tax and National Insurance contributions, leaving you to focus on your day to day workload.