I’m sure we’ve all been there. You have a long list of things that need to get done, you’re all ready to get to work and yet, you just can’t seem to concentrate on the task. You procrastinate, go on your phone and maybe even start doing other, less important tasks.
I very regularly struggle with this, especially when I am working on self-set or flexible deadlines. The work still needs to be done though and the more I put it off the more it starts to weigh down on me. So, if you’ve ever struggled with this, here are 5 ways to get your head in the game and concentrate on the task.
1) Break the task down into smaller tasks
Often the reason for not starting a task is that it just seems like such a big deal. You are worried that it will take hours and the end seems really difficult to reach. You procrastinate for hours instead of getting started. The way to overcome this is by breaking the task down into small, manageable steps. Each step should be well defined and not take too long to complete. That way you know exactly what you need to do and how to do it. Before you know it, you’ll have completed the task, step by step.
2) Focus solely on the task at hand
Often when I try to complete a task, I get sidetracked by emails, other tasks or just general things that pop in my head that need doing. Don’t do that. Set yourself a time, e.g. one hour, where you solely focus on your task. No matter what other things pop up, you focus on your task. You can keep a notebook with any of those tasks that randomly pop in your head and may need doing later but do not do them in that time. This will help you get and, more importantly, stay in the zone and actually finish that task.
3) Make decisions
Whenever a task involves a decision, we are more likely to put it off to avoid having to make that decision. Decisions involve being responsible for making the wrong one, and who doesn’t want to avoid that. I find myself taking ages to complete tasks almost daily, simply because they involve a decision I don’t want to have to make. Even if it is a rather small, insignificant one. So, to get a task done you need to just make that decision and run with it. It likely won’t affect the outcome of your life and making the wrong one likely won’t get you fired from your job (in most circumstances anyway). So, make an informed decision and move on instead of spending hours fretting over it.
4) Start it, even if you think you won't finish
It’s better to start a long, difficult task for 10 minutes one day than leave it to the next. Likelihood is that once you start, you will be completing more anyway and make some headway. But even if you only manage 10 minutes, it means this unsurmountable task has been started. You’ve made a dent. And that will make it much easier to pick up again the next day.
5) Remind yourself of past successes
We’ve all come across tasks we didn’t want to do before. We’ve procrastinated them for hours and ripped hair out over them. In the end, the majority of the time the actual task wasn’t even that big of a deal. The next time you really struggle to do a task, remember those past tasks. Were they really that big of a pain to complete? Did they really take forever? Or did you just procrastinate forever? Remembering the times you have successfully completed those tasks will make it easier to take action in the now.
Let me know if you try any of these tips out and how they go for you! At the end of the day remember that we all struggle with procrastination and not to beat yourself up over it. You can always only do your best!
This was Day 23 of my 30 Day Writing Challenge (I hope that’s correct). Any constructive criticism or comments are always welcome 🙂