Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination. It’s something that even the best of employees struggles with, and it can be hard to combat from time to time, even more so when you have a particularly daunting task at hand. Unfortunately, there is no magical pill or potion to cure such a pesky habit; rather, it’s a matter that requires a total change in mindset. The rationale behind procrastination is broken down exceptionally well according to Parkinson’s Law.
Parkinson’s Law, by definition, is “the notion that work expands to fill the time available for its completion” (Google). In other words, as long as you have available time prior to a deadline, the task at hand will stretch to fill that span of time until the deadline is met. This is, in essence, the opposite of productivity, especially when considering the reality that time is money. So—how do you go about shaking such a lingering habit that begs to stick around? In this post, three keys to eliminating procrastination from your workday will be discussed, and you’ll be well on your way to knowing only days of productivity!
- Adapt to the change in ideology
As previously mentioned, kicking procrastination is first going to require a change in mindset. When it comes to breaking a habit (or forming a new one, for that matter), consistency is key. Bear in mind at all points throughout your day:
- Your procrastination tendencies. Do you suddenly feel the need to clean out your desk when it comes time to work on a report? Do you start reading through insignificant e-mails when you should be calling back a frustrated client? Being aware of these tendencies can help you avoid such behaviors and remain ahead of the game!
- The weight that’ll be lifted off your shoulders once the task is complete. You know that nagging feeling throughout the process of procrastination? For instance, you’re having a lot more fun enjoying a long lunch than pricing new office supplies, but there’s that itch in the corner of your mind, reminding you that you should be getting some work done? Work to alleviate that apprehension; it’s difficult to enjoy anything when a task is hanging over your head like a puffy gray cloud!
- Allott yourself a specific amount of time to complete the task
If it is true that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion,” then allow yourself less available time, or a specific amount of time, to complete the task. To put it simply: do not let the work expand. Think about it: if the deadline for the completion of a task is two months away, it would take a procrastinator the entire two months to get the task done. Rather, more accurately, it would take the procrastinator a month and a half to even begin the project. (This is not to be confused with being particularly busy and needing the entire two months to complete the task. Remember, Parkinson’s Law addresses “available time.”) Instead of working mindlessly until the deadline, break up the task into smaller pieces, and set small-scale deadlines throughout their completion. You could find that you get on a roll and finish the project early!
For example, to increase productivity, here at Dexcomm we have made it a point to have a weekly meeting every Tuesday at 2:00pm, and we allow the meeting to go on for a maximum of one hour. This way, we discuss all things necessary for a short amount of time on a weekly basis, as opposed to putting off the things we need to address and forgetting important points in the meantime. Additionally, we found that without the set maximum time limit, we tended to go on tangents, lingering on certain topics for longer than was necessary. Therefore, we have allotted amounts of time within that hour to discuss certain things (five minutes for old business/good news, ten minutes to talk through to-dos, etc). It’s called a “Level 10 Meeting;” you can check out more information about it here to increase the productivity of your company’s meetings.
- Reward yourself for completing the task
A great way to motivate yourself to get the job done is by setting rewards for yourself! This doesn’t have to be anything outlandish, but even something as simple as allowing yourself to read your favorite blog once completing the task. If you like coffee, allow yourself another cup once working away at that report for a minimum of forty-five minutes before diving back into it. By setting rewards for yourself, you’re working towards more than simply completing the task, you’re also working diligently towards something you truly enjoy!
Procrastination is something we all fall victim to from time to time, so it’s important to not beat yourself up for it! Instead, simply refocus on your goals. Remember to fully adapt to the change in your ideology, allot yourself a specific amount of time to complete the task at hand, and to reward yourself for doing so! If you manage to keep these three things at the front of your mind, then you will have successfully conquered procrastination and crushed Parkinson’s Law for good. If you want more tips on bettering your business, be sure to subscribe to our blog today!