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How to keep your mind on the job and get the work finished

Are you a master of putting off important tasks? Ella Walker has these top tips to stop you stalling

Published 01/04/2016

Stop stalling: focus on the task in hand instead of putting it off
Stop stalling: focus on the task in hand instead of putting it off
Stop stalling: focus on the task in hand instead of putting it off

We all do it - and we all wish we didn't! I'm talking about procrastinating, the art of putting things off; finding a zillion non-urgent things to do, in order to avoid cracking on with something that's probably far more pressing and important.

Here are some simple ways to help make sure you just get on with it, and stop slowing yourself down.

1. Make a list

Use a list to focus your mind on what you need to tick off, and as you progress through the list, ticking things off as you go, the satisfaction will keep your motivation up.

2. Break it down

Breaking down your task into its component parts and compartmentalising individual jobs will make the whole of it seem far more manageable. Bite-size pieces are always easier to swallow.

3. Feed your mind and body

It's hard to be at your best if you're tired, hungry or dehydrated. Make sure you have drinks and snacks to hand so you don't keep wandering off to the fridge for supplies and getting waylaid.

4. Have a specific deadline

Immovable deadlines - ones you have to meet at all costs - are great for keeping procrastination in check, even if they are deadlines you have set yourself.

5. Share your goals

It's easier to stick to a deadline if you're not the only who knows it exists. Tell friends and family that you have a task to do and a deadline to achieve it by and hopefully they will help keep you on track, either by leaving you to it to get the work done, or by checking in on you to make sure you're up to speed and hitting your targets.

6. Set a timer

If you're really struggling with the concept of a deadline, set a timer and work at speed, racing the clock. Set the timer for 15 minutes, work solidly for that amount of time, and when the buzzer goes, take a two minute breather. Repeat until you've ticked off everything on your to-do list.

7. Hit the ground running

Avoid setting aside the afternoon to 'get things done'. Wake up and blitz it before lunch.

8. Do the worst jobs first

Dreading something? Do it first. The relief you'll feel after having tackled it will spur you on to do the smaller, less stressful jobs.

9. Don't be too hard on yourself

Punishing yourself for procrastinating won't help either. It's OK to take breaks but if you're feeling the fear, the best thing to do is bite the bullet and get on with the job in hand.

Belfast Telegraph

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