We can all fall prey to ‘the thief of time’: putting things off, finding ways to dodge the work we should be doing (or should have finished).
- Get clear on what you’ll gain by completing the task, or even part of it. Visualise this in as much detail as you possibly can: how will you feel, what will be different, where will you be, with whom?
- Work out what you’ll lose if you don’t get started, let alone if you don’t get the job done. What’s it costing you to keep putting this off?
- Put it in writing – a reminder on your phone, a giant sticky note on your computer that colleagues can see.
- Get a buddy – a friend or a peer, someone who you know well enough to ask if they’ll buddy up with you. Commit to helping each other stop putting things off and start getting them done.
- Do it first thing – get to your desk early and get the job done whilst things are still quiet. Or at least make the put-off task the first thing you do – that way you’ll be freeing up headspace for the fun stuff.
- Get support – this could be from your wider network, maybe on social media. Ask for tips and tricks that your contacts have found work well.
- Get going – even 5 minutes doing that thing you’ve been putting off will be better than a perfect, round… nothing.
- Keep going – when you’ve done the promised 5 minutes, take a very short break and try to hit 15 minutes.
- Barter – there’s probably a task you’re pretty good at, that someone else finds a real drag. Ask them if they’d be willing to show you how they do the task you’ve been putting off and in return you can help them boost their own skills.
- Put something else off – but that has to be something you enjoy. No coffee, no games on your phone, no clothes shopping, until the task is done. Earn those everyday treats we can easily take for granted.
You may also find this blog post useful: ‘10 tips for getting stuff done’.
Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available now on Amazon and ‘The Feedback Book’, due out in September.