Exorcise Your Procrastination Habits: How to Work When You Don't Feel Like It
Procrastination, as we probably all know, is the greatest enemy of success. There are a lot of reasons why people procrastinate, especially in the workplace. It could be a lack of motivation and willpower; difficulty with time management; the task at hand is hard, boring, or unpleasant; or you just do not "feel" like working at all because there are more fun things to do like watching cat memes on the Internet. However, we can not avoid the fact that our bosses expect the same productivity, if not better, from us every day. Also, being effective and able to accomplish things is very fulfilling, and doing things you do not want to do even if you are supposed to do them illicit less guilt, stress, and frustration.
Researchers say that the best way to get inspired is to "walk away" for a while as a new environment can help spark "Eureka!" moments. But, what if "for a while" becomes "until the day ends" or "a couple of weeks over" already? What if it becomes too hard to boss yourself around and bring yourself to focus no matter what you do and tell yourself for motivation? If you have tasks that need to get done and projects that need to get completed every day, perhaps you need to be aware of what causes your procrastination and how to address them. In this case, you can turn the situation around and use your procrastination as a source of productivity and a weapon for success.
Yet, before I give the following suggestions on how to work when you do not feel like it, you have to believe that you can get better about not putting things off and increase your productivity if you work hard on the right strategies that will exorcise your procrastination habits effectively. So, here are some ways that will help get back to work, achieve your goals, and feel happier about yourself.
Procrastinate in a smart way
Procrastination is not really as bad as it sounds if only you are smart about it. You can procrastinate productively by using what psychologists call "structured procrastination." When you have a difficult task that really needs your attention but you cannot just wrap your head around it, you can turn to smaller and easier tasks that you can finish quickly and mindlessly. This way, you will be able to organize your thoughts more and plan your activities as you tick off boxes one by one. By the end of doing the easier activities, you will still be able to feel the adrenaline and want to do more, making you ready for the messier one you ignored a while ago.
Other people use the amount of stress from procrastination as a trigger to fire up positive actions for things you do not want to do, while others use it as a "thought incubator" especially when they need to make a difficult decision or looking for a solution to a problem. Both ways are very effective with some people, but not for everybody and not all the time. So, if you want to avoid work but not feeling guilty about it, perhaps the best solution is to help other areas of your life or take care of other lesser responsibilities instead of watching random YouTube videos or stalking your friends on Facebook. And make sure that you get back to what you are supposed to do as soon as possible.
Reward yourself when you reach a goal
Motivation is sometimes, if not most of the time, hard to come by in the workplace especially if you are doing the same thing every day or your boss is too skimpy on compliments for a job well done. That is why setting up a smart goal and accomplishing it is seldom enough. If your employer cannot give you the accolade you deserve when reaching a milestone at work, completing a special project or even just finishing all your day worth's assignments, why don't you do it yourself instead? Envisioning yourself on a tropical island with a glass of tequila on hand while dancing your heart out with newfound friends can be a great motivator to have your ass working until the end of the year.
You can also plan little rewards throughout your day like getting your favorite blueberry cheesecake together with your coffee. Imagining yourself in your bathtub getting a fragrant and bubbly soak at the end of the day can help you speed things up a bit. You can also try getting movie tickets for you and your friends so you can watch that new chick flick during the weekend. Booking a romantic dinner for you and your special someone at a fancy restaurant on Saturday night and planning how to spend the rest of your weekend together can help you finish things even before Friday comes. Therefore, you do not have to wait for other people to push and inspire you.
Set boundaries to better manage your time
You know very well that you cannot put off difficult tasks forever and you do not always have time for "structured procrastination." What if your deadline is already a couple of hours ahead but you still do not have the energy and spark to make you start moving? You can try to specify a schedule and allocate a few hours, or even less, of your day just for work while the rest is for anything else you want to do. Working in a highly demanding nature allows some people to focus more, and aside from getting things done, this technique also enables you to practice your self-discipline, which is very important in time management. Because after all, diamonds are made under pressure.
Another way to do this is to choose a certain task and use an alarm clock to set your boundary and allow yourself to work within the time limit while ignoring distractions like social media and annoying emails. When the alarm goes off, you can take a break for a few minutes. Stretch your muscles, grab a drink, or look up your favorite sites and set your alarm again. Once in four cycles of a few minutes work and a few minutes rest, take longer breaks before doing another cycle. This helps the brain to relax and refocus so you do not get burnt out for a particular activity. All you have to do is to carefully divide these intervals and make sure a task gets done with each pause.
Follow a ritual before doing any task
Before you do anything, it is human instinct to know what you are about to encounter in order to respond and act on it accordingly. Scientists conduct researches before trying out a new product or innovation, soldiers get to know their enemies and study the battlefield before going out on war, and teachers learn about their subject matter before imparting it to their students. In other words, you have to prepare yourself to work and it should start even before you go to bed the previous night. No one has ever been successful without a plan; so, start your day with a plan and goal you made the night before so that when you wake up the next morning, you are ready to take on the day.
Once you are in the office, do not start working right away. Go to your office and get yourself sucked in with the environment, talk for a while with your colleagues and try to inspire each other or just catch up with their lives in general. There is no other quick way to feel like working than making yourself comfortable with your surroundings. Organize your workspace and ensure you get rid of distractions like unnecessary stationery or "garbage." Open some windows and let some fresh air in if you can, make a few stretches; and finally, when you sit on your own desk and face your computer, turn on some classical or jazz music and start working productively.