How to Conquer Workplace Procrastination

Imagine sitting at your desk, switching back and forth between open tabs on your computer. Are you scrolling through your emails and debating where to start? Maybe you’re staring at your to-do list or pretending to work. Sound familiar? This is procrastination in the workplace. Everyone is guilty of it. Even the most hard-working employees can procrastinate if they aren’t mindful of it. While procrastination initially feels good, saving you time and energy, it can quickly become exhausting and stressful.

Practice these five tips to conquer procrastination and make your workload more manageable.

  1. Prioritize tasks. If you have no idea where to start, identify all upcoming items on your to-do list. Rank them from urgent to non-urgent. Consider deadlines, available resources, and project workflow stages. Prioritization provides structure amidst chaos. It can give you a clear understanding of what actions you need to take to finish your to-do list.
  2. Avoid perfection. Think of one specific item on your to-do list. Break it down into small steps. Focus on one step at a time. This can decrease the chances of burnout, as you are not trying to accomplish everything at once. Rid the mentality of completing each project “perfectly” or “just right.” That makes you less productive and even more tense in an already stressful time.
  3. Remove distractions. Plan ahead. Schedule time on your calendar to focus on specific tasks. If possible, avoid anything that brings your attention away from the task at hand. Disable your notifications, designate times to check your email, and leverage your power to say “no.” Being conscious of outside distractions and regulating them will optimize your productivity and keep you on track.
  4. Find a productive environment. Whether it’s a coffee shop, co-working space, or quiet office, it’s important to know what environment best supports your working style. When you position yourself in your ideal environment, you maximize your efforts and likely to get more work done.
  5. Ask for help. People are naturally anxious about tasks outside their comfort zone, which can ignite fears around specific tasks and cause people to procrastinate. Instead of viewing fear as a roadblock, consider it as a growth opportunity. Ask yourself, “what can I learn from this new task?” and “who can help me learn it?” Don’t expect to know everything. Everyone has to start somewhere. Asking for help allows you to learn new tasks, build relationships, and boost confidence.