Productivity

Proven Ways on How to Overcome Procrastination at Work

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Oct 7, 2020
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Since remote working has become a new normal these days, it can be too easy to find yourself procrastinating with various tasks. There’s a level of volatility and unpredictability that is unbearably stressful, which can result in your motivation fluctuating.

Whether it’s money worries, being unable to keep up with deadlines, or not having enough deadlines in the first place, remote workers always have something to be worrying about. 

That’s not even touching on the self-motivation and scheduling that needs to be done, too. As a remote worker, you fit into one of two categories: either working for a company from home or being a freelancer. 

If you’re working for a company, then this isn’t as big of an issue. You still get your salary at the end of the day, you still have a manager to whom you are accountable, and you still get your schedule provided for you. Not to say it isn’t difficult, but it is an entirely different situation for freelancers. 

If you freelance, then you get none of that framework or stability. You have no set amount of income, you’re your own boss, which is both a blessing and a curse, and you need to design your own schedule. 

Without following a strict set of rules on this, a lot of freelancers end up procrastinating massively. Whether it be stress or motivation related, they can end up wasting time and shooting themselves in the foot. 

If this sounds like you, and you’re wondering how to overcome procrastination at work, then read on because we’ve got some tips for you. 

Why You Shouldn’t Procrastinate at Work?

Just because you procrastinate doesn’t mean that the work doesn’t get done. In fact, what a lot of bad procrastinators do is they leave the work until the very last second. By forcing themselves under that pressure, they are able to push their body to get to work. 

More times than not, this results in work that’s rushed, poorly done, yet it is still on time.

What is usually the case, is that procrastinators are constantly under much more stress than those who have the drive to sit down and get the work done immediately. 

There has actually been research on the subject. It has shown that people who procrastinate instead of getting the work done right away report a significantly higher level of stress than others. 

Whether this is because they are always working against a tight deadline or not, it remains to be seen. 

You shouldn't procrastinate at work

You might think that this stress is just superficial worrying with a fancy time. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The stress brought on by procrastination at work can actually do some serious long-term damage, specifically, to your heart. 

Procrastinators are at a higher risk of experiencing heightened blood pressure and heart disease. Once again, this isn’t just speculation. There has been funded research on the topic, and the results were fairly conclusive. 

As well, procrastinators also report more digestive issues, headaches, colds, and flu symptoms. However, it’s likely that all of these symptoms have been brought on by stress, too. 

If you are the type to sit around and not do your work, then you probably know that you’re more likely to experience insomnia as well. 

It’s not just work that procrastinators tend to put off, though. Procrastination is much more of soft wiring of the brain. It’s a way of thinking and operating, albeit not voluntarily. 

As well as work-related tasks, heavy procrastinators also put off things in their day to day lives like going to the doctor or working out. As with the examples, this can mean dodging health-related events and activities, which can even further adverse effects on you. 

Procrastination stress is significantly nastier than other kinds of stress that you may experience. This is due to the fact that it runs in a vicious cycle, and you beat yourself up for putting things off in the first place. 

You’re stressed that you’ve put something off and because you’re so stressed, you continue to put it off, which in turn causes more stress. 

The Cause of Procrastination at Work

If you’re wondering how to overcome procrastination at work, the first step you should consider is understanding what is causing it. 

The cause of procrastination isn’t the same for everybody. While it may be a personality trait related to your brain, your environment still plays a big part in the underlying reasons that may be causing you to put off work. 

A common one that remote workers see all the time is distractions. This is especially true if you’re forced to work out of your home instead of somewhere like a café. 

If you have a partner and kids, then you’ve likely experienced this first hand. However, you don’t need to be living with a family to be distracted in the house.

Even just the allure or temptation of turning off the computer to put on some Netflix or Disney Plus is enough to cause procrastination at work in certain people. 

Cause of procrastination

When you boil it down to the bare basics, regardless of procrastination type, it’s the result of three components: comprehension, motivation, and confidence.

A common problem among young remote workers these days is a lack of motivation. This tends to be tied directly to your mental health, so if you suffer from anxiety or depression, this is likely the cause of your procrastination. 

Low self-confidence or a fear of failure is another big reason people put off the work. A complete hatred of rejection can bring about the onset of this one. 

Then there are the comprehension issues like a lack of understanding of the task at hand or the materials that you are using. You could also have trouble concentrating, which is more likely related to a mental condition like ADD than it is a personality trait. 

Lastly, three other traits than can bring about procrastination are trying to be a perfectionist; which itself is tied up with a fear of failure, having low energy levels, and simply being bad at scheduling and organizing

What it’s important for you to understand, and hard for others to grasp, is that procrastination isn’t a lack of caring for the work, nor is it being lazy. It’s related to an underlying condition in the brain that cannot be overcome by simply getting off your backside and working. If it were that simple, then the world would be a much better place. 

How to Overcome Procrastination at Work

Finally, we come to the big one. We’ve discussed why procrastination is so bad, and we understand what causes it. Now, we’re ready to begin tackling the issue. 

While we wish we could present you one magic answer to fix everybody’s procrastination issues, it really isn’t that easy. Instead, we’re going to suggest ways of dealing with the different types of procrastination that we discussed in the section above. 

Just remember that this isn’t an overnight fix. Dealing with procrastination at work is very much a marathon, not a sprint. 

If you’re putting off work because of distractions in the home, the obvious solution is to get out of it. This doesn’t suit everyone’s circumstances, but if you can get yourself down to a café. 

Not only is this going to give you delicious coffee on demand, but it gets you away from the kids and away from your TV, games console, bed, or anything else may be calling you away.

Overcome procrastination at work

If you have to work from home, though, there are a few steps you can take to avoid procrastination. 

First and foremost, you need to separate your working space from your resting space. In other words, make sure your office and bedroom are separate. Ideally, this means that you have separate rooms for the two. 

If this isn’t an option, though, then some physical divider is going to go along way. You could put up a cubicle wall, or even hang some sheets or a curtain to divide the two up. 

Also, try to keep non-related work items out of the office. This means no TVs or PlayStations. 

This is the most common and the easiest form of procrastination to tackle. You have a physical issue to deal with here, whereas the other causes are more to do with your mindset than your environment. 

Lack of motivation is particularly hard to overcome. However, taking baby steps is going to, at the very least, help you. A lot of people argue that imagining your goal in your head, the place where you want to end up can help with motivation. However, we argue against that. 

That can make your ideal life seem very far away, and in turn, demotivate you even more. Instead, it would be best if you tried to find what little thing in life that motivates you and build off of that. It can be a loved one, a desire for a house, a fear of death, failure, falling behind, or something else entirely.  

Get off the screen

Decorate your workspace with pictures and quotes that build off of these small motivators, and that should go a long way to helping you out. 

Fear of failure is an unfortunate situation where it’s a “bite the bullet” scenario. You probably hear gurus talking about failure all the time. “J. K. Rowling was rejected etc…” Unfortunately, though, it’s true. Most largely successful people have wadded through an immense amount of failure to get where they are. 

For yourself, you need to be willing to fail. It’s not the end of the world. You’re not going to be executed at dawn if you need to revise a document. Therefore, submit it and work from there. Besides, the feedback you get might surprise you. 

These are the most common fixes to some of the most common causes, but procrastination can run much deeper than this. Your situation is unique to you, so don’t be afraid to do your own research or even speak to somebody about the issue. We can only cover the broad ground here, so find what works for you individually. 

Tips for Dealing with Procrastination at Work

There are a couple of general productivity tips we can give you that may help deal with procrastination. 

1. Using the Pomodoro Technique

You might have heard of the Pomodoro technique before. If you have, great, if not, let us explain. Using this method, you set a timer to 25 minutes and work until it rings. You then take a five-minute break, reset the timer, and repeat this cycle until the work is done. Once the task is complete, you can take a 15 to 30-minute break. 

Pomodoro Technique

This particular solution works for one main reason. The more work or studying we do consecutively, the less productive we are. If you’re trying to absorb words in, you’re going to get less, and if you’re trying to get words out, it’s the same thing. This is why you often get told to study smarter, not harder. 

2. Switch to a Standing Desk

As well as a technique, though, we have a more physical solution that might help you combat your procrastination. 

The Autonomous SmartDesk range is designed to be ergonomic and is scientifically proven to boost productivity. This is a result of a number of complex chemicals that are released, which both boost mood and productivity levels. 

The poster child of this range is the SmartDesk 2. What makes it so great is that it comes with a motorized frame, meaning the height of the desk can be customized at a button press. 

Standing Desk

You can switch from standing to sitting in an instant, and that change is going to help stop your procrastination dead in its tracks. 

Autonomous also has a range of ergonomic chairs available. These can be useful for helping productivity when you’re not standing up by fixing your posture and making your body realize it’s time to work, not relax. 

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Standing Desk

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  • icon checkCan help productivity.
  • icon checkCan help your physical and mental health.
  • icon checkIs more affordable than comparable desks on the market.
  • icon checkThe app provides excellent customer service for its users.
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  • icon timesIt might take some time to adjust to it.
  • icon timesYou need to assemble it yourself.

3. Another 10 Quick Tips for Dealing with Procrastination

1. Get rid of any distractions.

2. Consider working outside of the house.

3. Try decorating your workspace to inspire you.

4. Set a dedicated schedule.

5. Deal with the hardest task first.

6. Try the Pomodoro technique.

7. Consider playing some background noise.

8. Separate your resting from your working.

9. Work in intervals over the course of the day.

10.  Reward yourself after you do a batch of work.

Conclusion

Dealing with procrastination at work is very difficult to do. It’s an issue that, if it goes on long enough, can even derail your career. 

If it gets particularly bad, don’t be afraid to ask for some time off. Often times it’s related to another underlying condition, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

Dealing with procrastination

We hope that you’ve found the solutions and information we’ve presented helpful. We have a full range of other productivity tips for you if you’re interested. 

We have plenty of other blog posts on all matters related to the office. Whether it be layouts, accessories, issues, or solutions, you’re bound to find something interesting, so head on over and give it a read.

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