Do you find yourself wasting time procrastinating? Then follow these 7 tips to point you in the direction away from procrastination and into action so that those tasks that you are putting off actually get completed.

1. Have clear goals and set priorities – It is very important to have a clear picture of the outcome you are after and then plan what you need to do to achieve this taking into account any deadlines you may have and the time required to complete the task. If you are not sure how to do this then join us at our next Your Future workshop.

2. ‘Divide and conquer’ – This is a great phrase which works well to reduce procrastination. It involves dividing all those big tasks into much smaller, more manageable ones which will take far less time to complete and therefore reduce any feelings of frustration. Take a close look at the action plan you have written and choose the smallest unpleasant task and divide it up into 2 or 3 mini tasks which won’t take much time to complete and take action on one of them now. Once you have crossed that mini task of your list you will have a great sense of achievement so reward yourself before starting on the next mini task. Before you realize it the task you have been procrastinating over will be completed and crossed off your list.

3. Be accountable – As with all goals, by telling someone what you are planning to do and by when will make you much more likely to actually do it.

4. De clutter - Begin by looking at those things that you are putting up with on a day-to-day basis. Think about how often you find yourself annoyed, frustrated, stressed, upset, or irritated by something or someone on a daily basis (we often to put up with a lot of things unnecessarily and this just makes us annoyed and drains us of energy). Write them down on a piece of paper and then highlight the top 5 which you want to eliminate and take action on them.

5. When are you most productive? –Think about what time of the day you feel really alert, full of energy and in which you achieve the most. This is the time to deal with those tasks you have been putting off. Allocate a specific amount of time to the task, block it out in your diary and then stop when that time is up. Keep it short initially so that you stay focused during the allotted time. You will be surprised at just how much you achieve.

6. Find your motivation – In order to get that unpleasant item completed by its deadline, find what really motivates you and use that as a reward for completing the task.

7. How are you spending your time? – Sometimes, and only sometimes, procrastination can have the advantage of making you work harder on other tasks on your to do list. If this is the case and you realize that you have completed all of your list apart from the item you have been procrastinating on then reward yourself because tomorrow you will need to go to tip 1 above and start taking action on that remaining item before finding anything else to add to your ‘to do’ list!

“Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow”. - Gerald Vaughan

Author's Bio: 

Anne Galloway is a careers coach and small business consultant who believes that work can and should be creative, meaningful and enjoyable. Her specialties include assisting clients find the 'right' career for them and showing them how to sell themselves confidently on a CV and at interviews, and taking an independent view of business systems and procedures and developing strategies to increase sales and revenue. Anne is regularly sought out as valuable sounding board due to her ability to highlight risk in order to take control and reduce it. Her first book, 'Your Future - A practical guide to action' was published in 2011.