We all procrastinate at some point in time. We have deadlines and yet we wait to the last minute to finish a project. We want to be done by Friday but the task lingers on to the next week. It seems like sometimes the only time we get everything done by a specific deadline is when we are leaving on vacation.
We procrastinate because we fear failure or because we fear dealing with certain people or taking on responsibility. We put off the inevitable even when we know we should start and finish the job.
Here are four steps that will help you eliminate procrastination in your personal and professional life.
Clearly Define What Needs To Be Done
When you have a clear definition of what needs to be accomplished it makes it easier to begin the project. Many times we put off starting a project because we do not have a full understanding of the scope of the project or the expectations of what we need to produce. The more specific you can be in describing what needs to be done the less likely you will be in making excuses for not beginning the project. The same concept applies when delegating a task to a team member. Be sure to clearly define the expectations.
Know WHY You Are Doing Something
Everything comes down to “why.” It’s the “why” that drives your actions and determines the decisions we all make. The more important the “why” the more likely we are to want to begin the project. Take the time to think about why you are doing something, what completing the project means to you and exactly what you stand to gain when you finish. This information will motivate you to move forward.
Review the Consequences of Lack of Performance
What happens if you don’t meet you deadline or you put the project off so long it is impossible to have enough time to do a great job? If the consequences are great enough, chances are you will want to get started sooner. The greater the consequences of failure the higher the likelihood that you will push yourself to move forward.
Reward Yourself For Meeting or Exceeding Deadlines
Hey, we all like a present from time to time. Set up check-points and deadlines for your projects. Give yourself small rewards each time you meet a check-point and then something larger when you hit your overall deadline. Some projects can seem overwhelming but when you break them into smaller, achievable elements you will feel comfortable beginning and ultimately finishing the project.
Eliminating procrastinating is a trait of highly accountable people and leads to greater results in your personal life and higher productivity in your professional life. Great leaders are accountable leaders and eliminate procrastination.