The key to increasing your efficiency in the workplace is to slay the procrastination dragon. However it is no secret that this is easier said than done. Procrastination is something that affects us all at some point in our lives (if we are being honest with ourselves it has probably affected us at some point in the past 24 hours).
Here are a few tips on how to help boost your focus, increase your productivity and stay on track when working on that project that you have been putting off.
Getting Started
So you have a big project in front of you, it can be so easy to make excuses to not even begin to touch it since it can seem very intimidating but the best possible thing you can do is to dive right in.
According to the Zeigarnik Effect the hardest part is getting started. The best thing you can do when tackling a daunting task is to start with something simple, but that still moves your project forward. The Zeigarnik effect shows that once you get something started you are much much more likely to continue on until you finish it. So you don’t need to necessarily start with the hardest task, just something simple and easy that will help get you over the initial hump of starting.
Using Zeigarnik’s previous findings Kenneth McGraw performed a study where people had to complete a difficult puzzle and before they were completely done they were stopped and 90% of the people continued on with the puzzle anyways. This demonstrates  that once you have started an intimidating task, it becomes easier the more you continue to work on it, and then motivation to complete it takes over.
The only exception with the Zeigarnik Effect is that if you have no motivation to do a task at all then this method really does not help too much.
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Deadlines Are Your Friend
Deadlines are an incredibly effective way to improve your task performance. Deadlines push us to get things done. Without deadlines projects would just drag on and on, and no one wants that.
Main deadlines are important, but self imposed deadlines can also help to move you forward in your work, as it help gives you smaller goals to work towards that can help you forward. However setting self-imposed deadlines can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand breaking everything up into smaller deadlines can make a daunting task seem easier to manage, and thus making it easier for you to tackle it. However on the other hand, we as humans, have the tendency to set unreasonable or unattainable deadlines for ourselves. Then when you don’t reach the unreachable goal you still get discouraged.
It’s important to remain reasonable, and know your own skill levels and strengths when setting deadlines. There is no use in stressing yourself out any more than you need.
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Start Small
When working on a project, there are always a million little tasks that need to be tended to. Yet because they are small, they often either get put on the back burner or forgotten where they start to add up.
The golden rule to follow when dealing with small tasks- both in and outside of the office- is that if it takes less than 5 minutes to complete, do it immediately. You will start to see your life become more and more efficient and less stressful if you implement this method. Often times it is seeing the sheer number of tasks on your to-do-list that gets people overwhelmed and by tackling the little things and getting them out of the way you not only do you feel more productive but you actually are more productive.
Break down your large, menacing task into smaller more manageable chunks and before you know it you’re finished.
The thing with procrastination is that it is something that affects everyone at some point or another. Motivation is the key, so once you have located the one thing that is pushing you to get a job done, it becomes so much easier to stay focused. It is important to not get discouraged, but to keep moving forward in order to accomplish whatever task is at hand. Jump right in, start small and set smaller attainable goals and you’ll be done before you know it!