Keeping procrastination at bay is hard—especially when you work from home. Use these tips to put an end to procrastination at work once and for all.
At a certain point during the pandemic, we all realized the way we work has changed forever. If that meant you’d be working from home for the long-term with the odd day actually visiting your workplace, you might have struggled or still be struggling.
There’s no denying that working from home has some serious benefits. But some of the things that make working from home so great can also make it easier to procrastinate—and harder to get work done.
One of the major perks of working from home is not having to commute into an office. But without a commute to transition into “work mode,” many people find it hard to get started in the morning—and as a result, find themselves pushing tasks to later in the day.
A little procrastination is normal (you’re only human!) But when procrastination gets out of control, it can cause efficiency for people who procrastinate to take a nosedive—making work both less productive and less enjoyable.
If you want to thrive while working from home, you have to put an end to procrastination at work. But as procrastinators (we all are a little bit) how, exactly, do you do that?
Let’s take a look at 5 strategies you can use to stop procrastinating at work—even when you work at home!—once and for all.
Table of Contents
1. Identify Your Procrastination Triggers…
You can’t put an end to procrastination at work if you’re not sure why, exactly, you’re procrastinating. Which is why, if you want to stop procrastinating and start getting work done, the first step in the process? Getting clear on your procrastination triggers.
Next time you go to work, commit to paying attention to when you want to procrastinate. Then, when you have a moment where you’re tempted to procrastinate, write down exactly what’s happening in that moment. Those are your procrastination triggers—and they’re the key to figuring out how to stop procrastinating.
For example, did you sit down at your desk this morning, look at your daily to-do list and immediately feel the urge to scroll through your social media feed? If so, reviewing your tasks—and feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to do—might be one of your procrastination triggers.
Or did you promise yourself that you’d spend the afternoon powering through a deadline—but the second your dog stuck their head in your office door, you immediately abandoned that plan for a well-earned belly rub?
In that scenario, your dog may be the “procrastinate at work” trigger (albeit an extremely adorable one).
The point is, you can’t solve the procrastination issue if you don’t know what’s causing you to put off work in the first place. So, devote some time to identifying the triggers in your work-from-home environment that creates the desire to procrastinate.
2. …And Put Safeguards in Place to Deal With Those Triggers
Once you know what’s driving your procrastination, it’s time to come up with a plan to deal with those triggers—and put safeguards in place to prevent them from interrupting your productivity.
For example, do you regularly find yourself procrastinating on work projects because you get pulled into your Netflix queue? Take the TV out of your home office—and block the Netflix app on your phone and computer during work hours.
Is your to-do list so overwhelming that it regularly makes you shut down and procrastinate? Consider breaking up your tasks into shorter, more manageable lists (e.g., morning tasks, after lunch tasks, and end-of-the-day tasks) to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed—and falling into the procrastination trap.
Bottom line? Knowing your procrastination triggers is the first part of the equation. But if you want to put an end to procrastination while working from home, you also need to put safeguards in place to help deal with those triggers and keep you on track and engaged with your work.
3. Schedule Time to Procrastinate
It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best strategies for overcoming procrastination is scheduling time to procrastinate.
Here’s why: Procrastination may be a problem or bad habit, but it’s a problem or bad habit pretty much everyone indulges in at least some of the time. Telling yourself that you won’t procrastinate at all isn’t entirely realistic. Instead, recognize that you are going to procrastinate—and create space in your schedule for that procrastination to happen in a controlled way.
Schedule a block of time every day where you give yourself total permission to procrastinate (a 10-minute break twice a day is a great place to start). Set a timer, and during that time, allow yourself to engage in whatever procrastination activities you enjoy most—whether that’s playing a video game, texting a friend, scrolling through social media, or reading a news article—completely guilt-free.
Creating periods in your day where you allow yourself to slack off or push off deadlines you’re not particularly thrilled about can help you get the urge to procrastinate out of your system—making it easier to focus, and get things done outside of those time periods.
4. Note Any Tasks That You Consistently Procrastinate—and Look For Ways to Get Them off Your Plate
Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing; sometimes, the desire to procrastinate can be a red flag alerting you to something that’s not quite right with your current workflow.
So, if there is a task, project, or responsibility you consistently put off, take notice—and see if there’s any way to get that task, project, or responsibility off your plate.
For example, let’s say every time you sit down to manage your invoices, you feel the strong urge to get up and take a walk…or go to the kitchen for a snack…or watch a TV show…or literally anything else but go through all of your invoices to figure out which clients owe what—and what you need to do to collect on those invoices.
In that situation, you may be procrastinating because the system you’re currently using for invoicing is outdated and time-consuming—and is taking you away from more important activities in your business.
Instead of forcing yourself to do something that makes you want to procrastinate, you could look for a better, more efficient solution—like FreshBooks.
With FreshBooks online invoicing, you can easily quickly and easily send professional, on-brand invoices to your clients; track payment status; send reminders; and give your clients a variety of ways to pay (including ACH and credit cards), which can help you get paid faster.
Basically, it takes the hassle out of the invoicing process, saving you time and energy—and making you less likely to procrastinate.
Want to learn more about how FreshBooks can help simplify your business’ accounting? Try it free today!
5. Take the Pressure off Yourself
Sometimes, trying to do too much can actually make you procrastinate at work—and prevent you from getting anything done. So, if you want to stop procrastinating? Try cutting yourself a little slack.
No one has perfect time management skills—and, as mentioned, even the most productive people in the world procrastinate every now and then. And while putting pressure on yourself to be productive 24/7 and power through an unreasonable number of tasks and projects may help you get more done in the short term, it’s not going to do your productivity any favors in the long term.
So, if overcoming procrastination is a priority for you, take some of that pressure off of yourself.
Don’t overload your schedule with too many to-do’s; instead, focus on getting a manageable amount done each day—and avoid burning yourself out. Use the strategies outlined here to keep procrastination at bay—but if you find yourself procrastinating in the moment, remind yourself that no one is perfect and it’s okay to show yourself a little compassion.
If you put yourself under pressure to be “perfectly” productive, you’re setting yourself up for failure. So instead, remove the pressure to be “perfect” and set more realistic goals around productivity and procrastination. In the end, you’ll get more work done—and you’ll feel a lot less stressed while doing it.
Use These Tips to Put an End to Procrastination at Work—Even When You Work From Home
Overcoming procrastination can be a challenge—and it can be particularly challenging when you work from home. But with these time management strategies, you have the tools you need to get a handle on your procrastination, stop procrastinating at work, and get back to performing at a high level.