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February 27, 2017 By John Boitnott

How to Kick Procrastination in 2017

February 27, 2017

By John Boitnott

Read More from John Boitnott

February 27, 2017

How to Kick Procrastination in 2017

By John Boitnott
Contributor

For many people, procrastination is an accepted part of daily life. While there are deeper reasons behind the habit, often we simply would rather do something that brings more immediate gratification. If you’re one of those who started 2017 with a New Year’s resolution of procrastinating less in order to accomplish more and now that we are at the end of February those resolutions have fallen by the wayside, here are a few things you can do to get rid of the habit for good this year.

Minimize Distractions

Most often, people procrastinate by doing something else. This may be taking an extra trip to the water cooler, debating politics on social media, or one of many other daily distractions. The key is to identify those distractions and take measures to block them. If being surrounded by other people in an office proves too distracting, take a cue from the many professionals who say they’re more productive when working remotely. If you can’t resist the temptation to check social media when you’re working, disconnect your internet connection or use a tool like Work Mode to block it.

Work in Sprints

In recent years, many professionals have advocated work sprints as one of the best ways to boost productivity. Instead of prohibiting procrastination altogether, you can use this technique to work in short bursts of activity, allowing yourself the reward of taking a break once you reach the end. Whether you practice this with your team or alone, you’ll feel much less daunted by a task when you know you only have to dedicate 30 minutes or an hour to it before taking a break.

Use a Time Tracker

You may not realize how much time you’re wasting throughout the day, but a time-tracking tool can help. When you see how much time you’re spending responding to emails, surfing the internet, and chatting with colleagues while your computer sits idle, you’ll likely want to make changes. Once you’re aware of any bad habits you might have, you can begin to replace them with the to-do list items you’ve been putting off.

Break Up Large Tasks

Some tasks encourage procrastination because they’re simply overwhelming. If you know you have to put together a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming conference, for instance, you may delay getting started because you know the project could take hours to complete. Instead break large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces that you can spread out over multiple days. If you put a half an hour a day into working on your presentation, you’ll have it completed quickly.

Procrastination is a bad habit, but it’s a habit shared by most of us. After you recognize this (and maybe stop being so hard on yourself), you can foster habits in 2017 that help you get even more done.

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