Publications & Products
Volume 5, Issue 24

4 Tricks to Vanquish Procrastination

The bustle of the holidays means the season for procrastination is upon us, writes a business professional.

"It's even more difficult to get work done when you're stuck at the office, wishing you were enjoying time with family and friends," writes Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and president of TalentSmart, on LinkedIn Pulse.

Procrastination hurts our work, sure—but it can also harm our health, he writes. A 2015 study by Bishop's University found a link between procrastination and hypertension and heart disease. As procrastinators experience more stress, they are more likely to delay health activities, explains Bradberry.

Here are four steps to take to overcome procrastination:

  • Divide the task into smaller steps. Sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed by an assignment, we say we don't know where to begin. Bradberry suggests breaking the task into manageable bites. "What can you accomplish in 60 minutes that will help you slay the beast? Then, what can you do in 60 more minutes?" When it comes to challenging to-dos, he points out, inactivity is the enemy.
  • Cut the distractions. Being busy, he writes, is not the same as being productive. Visualize what will happen, suggests Bradberry, if you continue to put off the task. "Distractions numb you by shifting your attention away from these consequences," he writes. Reminding yourself of these costs makes distractions less enticing.
  • Tie easy tasks to the big picture. Bradberry suggests thinking about how a mundane task ties to the bigger picture. "You might hate data entry, but when you think about the role the data plays in the strategic objectives of your department, the task becomes worthwhile," he writes. "When the smaller, seemingly insignificant things don't get done or get done poorly, it has a ripple effect that's felt for miles."

    It also helps to police yourself, he advises. Rather than pushing a despised task to the bottom of the to-do list, make it a rule that it must be completed before moving on. It's similar to eating your vegetables before you can eat dessert, he writes.
  • Visualize success. Worrying about everything that may go wrong binds your hands, writes Bradberry. "You must shift your mind in a confident direction by focusing on all the positive things that are going to happen when you succeed," he writes. "When you believe you can do something—and you visualize the positive things that will come from doing well—you equip yourself to succeed."

This article is from the Advancement Weekly, Dec. 14, 2015 issue.

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