How to Defeat Procrastination Once and for All! Part 2
Last week, I acknowledged that I tend to be a serial procrastinator! I know we’ve heard it said over and over again, “conquer the most difficult tasks first so we don’t waste time procrastinating all day.” It’s a nice thought, but let’s get real. That’s easier said than done!
Learning how to overcome it is more important. In our previous article, we discussed (1) why we procrastinate, (2) the importance of creating a schedule with deadlines, and (3) using reward psychology for completing assignments. In the final installment of this two-part series, we look at a few best practices to help us slay the dragon of procrastination.
1. Introduce accountability in your work
Oh no, the word we’ve all been dreading. One of the best ways to introduce accountability into your work life is by involving others in the projects. Ask your co-workers or friends for help or advice if you have a project to work on. You may even look at similar projects to figure out how to start working on the assignment. Extrinsic motivation, like asking someone to review your work, can put you on the right track (i.e., push you towards getting quality work done). But what if you work remotely and, for the most part, set your own schedule (yeah, I’m talking to my fellow entrepreneurs)? This is when it can get tricky. I’m going to be completely authentic and transparent. I haven’t figured this out yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. Then, I’ll offer you a tip. I don’t recommend asking your spouse to be your accountability partner. It doesn’t work, and I know this from personal experience!
2. Create good habits
You will never overcome procrastination overnight. It requires consistent efforts and a never-give-up mindset. First, stop telling yourself that you are a procrastinator. Neuroscience indicates our “brains are wired for the negative,” so negative self-talk will hinder you from making progress. Second, limit yourself to short work periods. We don’t need to do a marathon of work. Instead, break your work down into 10–30-minute intervals. I use the timer on my phone to track the time I spend working on a project and give myself breaks. Third, take note of the progress you make, the setbacks, the obstacles encountered, and any significant work-related events. Use the information to improve your system, schedule, and work habits.
Do you keep postponing projects you need to do? I know I do! Let’s try to be more strategic in navigating the tumultuous waters of procrastination. When we better understand the root causes of procrastination, we can become more self-aware of our tendencies and use strategies to target and combat these behaviors.
Why do you think people procrastinate so much? Let us know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to check out our other great articles!
Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, an executive consulting firm specializing in collaborating, developing, and executing strategic initiatives and professional development strategies with its clients. Extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over twelve years of teaching experience as a Professor of Management, with a special focus on organizational behavior, leadership in entrepreneurship, human resource management, and international management.
_________________________________________________________________________  Gallo, A. (2011, August). Stop Procrastinating...Now. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 2022, from https://hbr.org/2011/10/stop-procrastinatingnow  Boyes, A. (2022, June). How to stop procrastinating. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 2022, from https://hbr.org/2022/05/how-to-stop-procrastinating