We’re all prone to a little procrastination at times and although this isn’t a new thing, research shows that we’re getting worse and worse at concentrating. With the rise of the internet, and companies spending millions of pounds on making their products more addictive, this isn’t entirely our fault. Where the net is the problem however it could also be the solution.
Productivity software, like Cold Turkey, which temporarily block distractions have gotten more and more advanced over the years. With the ability to set specific time limits to focus on individual tasks, motivational quotes in place of the websites you’re trying to access and an allowance for breaks, these new applications are allowing us to create our own schedules. Almost every guide to productivity will tell you that scheduling is key, however it’s how we schedule, not whether we schedule that has the greatest importance on our workload.
The most common reason for procrastination is that we find the project overwhelming, breaking it into more manageable chunks and using those to create an action plan will work much better than a to do list, full of individual tasks. If you have a big report to write, don’t just put that onto your list, instead add all of the parts that make it up; research, draft, first paragraph etc., as the little bursts of satisfaction from each tick will spur you onto your next task. Once you’ve created a list, it might help to schedule specific times. Once we enter the office, all of us are likely to head straight to our emails or LinkedIn, however starting your day with these little tasks will immediately put you in the wrong mind-set. Instead stick to the 20 minute rule; Working on your biggest most daunting task immediately, for at least 20 minutes, without opening any other windows. 20 minutes has a special importance for task-keeping, as research shows it’s the average time a person can fully concentrate on a project, before their mind begins to wander. Breaking your day up into 20 minute segments then will ensure that the quality of your work doesn’t tail off. Feeling like you’re going to let someone down can be the greatest motivator of all, so asking someone to meet you to go over your work, is sure to mean you’ll get it done in time for your meeting.
Similarly just talking through your ideas can bring new ones to light. Just one of the many reasons, we’re proud to have a mentor scheme here at Goodman Masson. Everybody procrastinates from time to time, however if you’re finding it’s becoming more frequent than your steadily climbing coffee breaks, it might be time to make a move. Procrastinating can be a sign that you’re unsatisfied, uninspired or unhappy in your current role and if you’re spending more time away from your desk than at it, a change of scenery could do you the world of good. Check out our current job roles here, for what could be the start of a career that isn’t an uphill climb.