Susan Adams of Forbes.com asks, "Do you keep putting off things you should be getting behind you?" If so, she reveals some tips on how you can stop procrastinating.
Adams enlists the help of Joseph R. Ferrari, a psychology professor who has spent much of his professional life studying procrastination and author of a book titled Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done.
According to Ferrari, everyone procrastinates but not everybody is a procrastinator. He explains: "A procrastinator is someone who habitually and consistently delays tasks." By his calculations, approximately 20% of the population are procrastinators.
GET THINGS DONE
Ferrari says it's useful to try and work out why you postpone tasks – for instance, fear of failure or the myth that you work best under pressure.
Then, it's time to get on with things. Ferrari recommends keeping a to-do list and updating it often. Work out a list of priorities and tackle the most urgent tasks first, then do the worst jobs because putting them off will make your workload as a whole seem impossible.
However, make sure you are realistic with goals and deadlines.
Contrary to popular opinion, Ferrari does not believe that computers and mobile phones make it harder for us to get things done. "We just need to manage our technological distractions," says Adams.
She adds: "Check your email once an hour only. Don't follow up or answer an email unless it's necessary. Don't open one when you don't have time to read it. Quickly delete messages."
Work out who your most productive colleagues are and team up with them, advises Ferrari. "Work in teams," he says. "Surround yourself with non-procrastinators."
Ferrari also recommends picking your projects carefully. "Many people feel compelled to get involved in all the big accounts or projects at their office, but if you stay focused and effectively manage the needs of a few select clients, the boss will be more impressed," explains the author.