How to deal with procrastination

The day started off well – I had some ideas about how to continue with a client’s research that I had restarted yesterday, and I had the points in mind I needed to add to the report after yesterday’s fruitless search for convict records.

But when I actually sat down at my desk to do it…. nothing. I waffled around with email and volunteer tasks and other things. No good.

Here are my tips for when this happens to you:

  • Start the clock. I have a program that tracks my time on specific tasks, and sometimes it is enough to just start the clock for that task. It’s like making a commitment.
  • Put some music on. Not the radio, with talking, and not music that you would feel compelled to concentrate on. It has to be background music, or favourite music that you know well.
  • Move. Take the laptop and the paperwork and sit somewhere else. Sometimes the distraction at your desk is enough to put you off. Pick up only what you need and sit at the dining table, or out on the deck.
  • Start with a smaller task. Instead of jumping straight in to the report-writing, do something that’s related but not quite so involved. Something quick you can knock off easily. Like a blog post!
  • Walk. If it’s a concentration problem you may need to go for a quick walk around the block. Sometimes I walk up and down the stairs 5 or 6 times. Gets the heart rate going!

You may need to do all of these things, but you will get it done!

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