A Quick Guide to Hacking Workplace Procrastination

February 20, 2015

4:30 pm

We’ve all been there; we wake up and go to bed thinking about our endless to-do lists. Yet, we find ourselves doing everything except what’s on that list. Being productive has a lot to do with habits and also mindset. Impediments to productivity is a combination of poor organization and psychology.

The purpose of this guide is to share tips that can help you overcome the mental obstacles that may be slowing you down at work. You’ve read our guides to the best productivity tools, but if you can’t overcome your psychological obstacles, there’s no way you will maximize your work. Here are some tips:

Stop Blaming Distractions

The first step is admitting that you are procrastinating. Entrepreneurs are often responsible for everything, so they end up overwhelmed with the amount of tasks due. According to research, procrastination is an “emotional-centered coping strategy.” The solution here is to understand why you are not motivated: Is the work not interesting or is the task too difficult? It’s important to deal with these emotions to move forward.

Be Kind to Your Future Self

We view our future selves as strangers. That’s why we say yes to that second tequila shot or order large fries instead of a side salad.

When we decide to procrastinate, the good feeling lasts only today. But tomorrow, this feeling is not that great, making the task more stressful. Sometimes we cheat our future selves by working late or not taking time off, that down time is precious today and you may end up paying tomorrow.

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Create More “Have Done” Lists

Entrepreneurs  love to-do lists because they are daily reminder of  progress. Most times, we can only complete half of the tasks on a list. What is more demotivating than seeing uncompleted tasks hanging on (insert name of your favorite productivity software tool)?

The problem with to-do lists is that we get satisfaction from crossing tasks off when done. Admit it, once or twice you’ve added a task on your list that was already done just for the pleasure of crossing it out.

Another issue is that leaders sometimes have tasks that are not on to-do lists or have specific deadlines (For example, tell an employee over coffee how well they are doing). Instead why not create a positive list that outlines how productive you’ve been. If reviewing to-do lists is demotivating, create a completed-list to feel satisfied.

Sometimes “No” is More Powerful Than “Yes”

Most startups have an open-door policy that can be detrimental to personal time. Now that we have calendars online that can be shared with coworkers, kidnapping time is much easier. It feels good to say yes, but you need to be disciplined about your time. In his new book EssentialismGreg McKeown argues that we should pursue only those things that are truly important — and eliminate everything else. He advises entrepreneurs to step back and identify what is important and say no to everything else. Learn to push back gracefully.

Stay productive by starting to train your mind.

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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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