One of the most common professional afflictions is procrastination. The funny thing is, everyone knows that procrastination is negative—it’s a waste of time, a creator of stress, and is entirely a problem of our own making. Still, knowing all of this doesn’t necessarily decrease our odds of procrastination. There are plenty of explanations we give when putting work off until the last minute. Perhaps you convince yourself that you work best under pressure, but it’s truer that you’re used to working under pressure by necessity. Maybe you’re a perfectionist and the fear of getting it all wrong puts you off from the task. Whatever the justification may be, overcoming procrastination requires some willpower and technique. With that in mind, take a look at a few tricks below to jumpstart your motivation and nix the last-minute time crunch. After all, you owe it to yourself and your business to operate like a procrastination-free professional.
1. Make Your Intentions Known
As realtors and mortgage professionals, you may serve as your own boss. So, when the time comes to complete a task and you put it off—perhaps you’re only disappointing yourself. This is easily remedied by making a new promise to try again tomorrow. On the other hand, it’s much harder to break promises and commitments to others. Try verbalizing your intent and commitment to your team, or to an assistant who can hold you accountable, or better yet—to a business partner or to a client. Make a hard deadline public and you’re likely to perform for fear of embarrassment or losing face. In a way, this puts the pressure of expectation on you, instead of the pressure of the ticking clock.
2. Take a Baby Step
When tasks pile up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’ve got a number of items on your to-do list, including some heavy hitters that require a lot of attention and time, begin by taking on something simple. Identify an easily completed job that needs attention and put it first in your queue. Duties that are straightforward and aren’t time-intensive can lead you to the rest of your to-do list, fueling you with the satisfaction of a task already complete. Even if it’s as small as returning e-mails, or dropping off your dry-cleaning, one simple thing off your list can inspire you to continue on to the next item in the spirit of productivity.
3. Work in Windows
If work is the last thing you want to do and you can’t seem to self-motivate, make a compromise with yourself. Agree to work just fifteen minutes, and mean it. This tiny window of time is easy enough to complete, isn’t overwhelming, and you’ve already agreed to move on once time is up. The truth? Odds are that just fifteen minutes of active work will inspire you to keep going. After all, the most difficult part of procrastination is getting started. By putting in those fifteen minutes, you’ll trick yourself into diving into the action.
4. Switch Up Your Environment
If you’re stuck in rut when it comes to procrastination and productivity, try changing your surroundings. If the office feels stale and stressful, take your work to the nearest coffee shop and try to tackle your tasks there. Perhaps the quiet, studious ambiance of a library can make you focus, or a picnic table outside the office can stimulate the senses. Sometimes changing your scenery can breathe new life into your routine and give you the extra push you need to get work done.
There’s no one way to overcome procrastination. In fact, it’s likely a lifelong process of building discipline, finding techniques that work for you, and simply prioritizing your time more effectively. Don’t lose hope—remember these tricks and winning the war will be possible, even if you lose a few battles along the way.