Five ways to beat procrastination at work

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Highly productive people don’t suffer from procrastination less often than others, they just know how to put their head down and wade through less interesting tasks, according to one leadership expert.

Dr Travis Bradberry, the co-founder of TalentSmart, says the best way to tackle procrastination is to use a calculated approach.

In a post published on LinkedIn, Bradberry says everyone can overcome a productivity slump – they just need to find the technique that works best for them.

Here are five ways to power through work when you’re feeling unmotivated, according to Bradberry:

1. Figure out why you’re procrastinating

Bradberry says often people fall into a procrastination “loop” because they are unable to figure out why they are unmotivated in the first place.

“When you aren’t in the mood to work, procrastination is telling you something important,” Bradberry writes.

“It could be something simple, such as you need to take a break or get something to eat. It could also be something complex, such as you’re carrying the team on your back and you’re dissatisfied with your job. Whatever it is, instead of punishing yourself for procrastinating, take a moment to reflex.”

2. Remove distractions and get on with the job

Sometimes the only way to battle procrastination is to put your head down and get things done, according to Bradberry.

This means staying away from incoming emails and distracting Slack notifications.

“That first step is difficult, but once you get going – typing that first paragraph or taking off on that first wave – your mood improves dramatically,” he says.

“When you focus your attention on how difficult and cruddy it is to get started, you discourage yourself from doing so.”

3. Don’t be a perfectionist

Another way to tackle procrastination is to stop trying to get everything right the first time.

“We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and what we produce might not be any good,” Bradberry writes.

“But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve?”

4. Learn to forgive yourself

Not enough people realise it’s okay to procrastinate, according to Bradberry.

In fact, it’s completely normal. The main thing to remember is not to beat yourself up over it, Bradberry says.

“You might think that punishing yourself will help you to avoid procrastination in the future, but it actually has the opposite effect,” Bradberry says.

“Beating yourself up sends you right back into the procrastination doom loop.”

5. Work in the right environment

If all else fails, a change of scene might help beat a mid-week slump, Bradberry says.

This could mean walking around the block or even working from another desk.

“This isn’t what works for everyone, but you need to exercise discipline by working in the environment that’s right for you,” Bradberry says.

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