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The struggle to make any progress with work can be very real, if you are prone to procrastination.
A lot of people, yours truly included, cannot bring their A-game on until there is a pressing deadline looming over their heads.
The situation can get a tad out of control given the fact that there are no real deadlines, no lure of a good appraisal, no risk of being fired when you are your own boss.
And ‘I don’t feel like writing today’ seems like a perfectly good excuse to take the day off.
There have been endless number of times, when I have whiled away my work browsing for hours on random websites, shopping online for stuff I didn’t actually need, chatting with ‘friends’ or streaming my favorite movies and shows. The day’s unfinished work was put off for tomorrow until I had a heap of pending assignments and risk of delayed submission staring me in the face. This was followed by spending two-odd frenzied days where I’d work 18 hours a day, with no breaks eventually torturing myself to death.
This pattern had turned into a vicious cycle of sorts, affecting the quality of my work and sanity of my mind. That’s when I decided to fight the idleness and stop procrastinating. Here’s what I suggest:
Finding Your Hour of Peace
Since you’re working from home, the biggest factor in your tendency to procrastinate would be the numerous distractions around the house. The TV, books, household chore, there are just so many excuses to keep you from concentrating on work.
You can shift work hours to a quieter hour of the day, when you can spend some uninterrupted, quality time.
Having tried both working late in the night and early mornings, I have settled for the latter. You have a fresh mind and fewer distractions – fewer people online, no re-runs of your favorite sitcoms or movies on the TV, and of course, the tranquility around the house.
Keep Your Smartphone Away
I have a horrible habit of checking phone every couple of minutes. Facebook feed, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, you get the drift. This not just breaks the rhythm of work but also amounts to a lot of precious time down the drain.
Make it habit to plug your phone to charger away from work desk, on silent mode, whenever you sit down to work.
The fact that iPhones are always low on batteries serves the purpose well.
Get To Work Right Away
‘Just 5 minutes and then I’ll get to work,’ is what you tell yourself, but before you know, those 5 minutes have stretched into 2 hours and you still haven’t gotten any work done.
Resist the urge to browse the net and open only relevant tabs on your browser.
If you want to take a quick break, get up and take a walk, get yourself a coffee, talk to someone – whatever it takes to keep you from browsing the net.
Break Down Your Work into Daily Assignments
If I have to work on a 9,000-word assignment, chances are I’ll save it for the last day and then kill myself trying to complete it all until I break it down into several smaller assignments.
The trick is to break down your work into manageable portions and fit them in your weekly roster to make sure there is no pile-up.
When you are juggling several balls in the air at once, it is inevitable to lose track of how much work needs to be done on a daily basis.
To escape getting caught in that trap, I jot down the day’s scheduled tasks on a post-it note and paste it on my work desk.
It serves as a constant reminder of how much work you need to finish and automatically curbs those spells of procrastination.