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Five Tips to Help You Stay Focused

No more procrastination!

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We’ve all suffered from a bout of procrastination here and there. Somehow, that big project you know you should be working on keeps getting relegated to the bottom of your to-do list. Suddenly, there are far more pressing matters to deal with like cleaning your bathroom, baking a cake or organizing your paperwork from the last seven years. Here’s five tips to help you stay on track and avoid falling victim to procrastination.

1. Make a List

This is a practice that I first discovered on zenhabits.net and it’s a great way to monitor whether you are staying on track. The key is to develop a small, realistic list of tasks or goals that you’d like to accomplish in a day. Throughout the day, stop and consider whether your current activity aligns with the tasks on your list. If not, then refocus and work on a task that you identified as being important. Is checking Pinterest not on your list of priorities? See ya later Pinterest – you’re a time suck!

2. Break Up Large Tasks

Often the main reason we procrastinate is because the task at hand seems insurmountable. When faced with a large task or project, it’s a good idea to break it down into small, not so scary tasks or objectives. If you are building a website for a client, break it into smaller tasks that need to be completed such as client research, wireframes, mockups, coding and debugging. By breaking a large task into smaller parts, you’ve created a roadmap of what needs to be accomplished with a starting point to help you begin.

3. Set Hard Deadlines

I find it useful to set “hard deadlines” or days when certain tasks absolutely, without a doubt, need to be completed. These hard deadlines are typically a few days before the actual deadline to provide a “cushion” and lessen any deadline related stress. With a hard deadline in place, you are less likely to fall victim to procrastination.

4. Choose the Best Environment

The environment in which you work is also an important consideration when trying to avoid procrastination. Try to choose a comfortable (but not too comfortable) environment with minimal distractions. When working on solo projects, I often find it is best to work in a quiet place without other people. Although, it may seem a little anti-social, it’s a great way to avoid being distracted by conversation and to ensure that you are completely focused on the task at hand.

5. Reward Yourself

If you need a little more motivation to get you started, think of a reward that you will give yourself once the task has been completed. The reward doesn’t need to be over the top. Something as simple as going for a long walk, practicing yoga or a nice cup of coffee may be all that is needed to inspire you to get the job done.

These are a few of the tricks I use to avoid procrastination and stay focused. How do you stay on track and avoid the big P? Share your ideas below!

 

 

About The Blogger

Jessica Gilfillan - Portrait

Jessica Gilfillan – Guest Blogger

Jessica Gilfillan is a second year Web Design and Animation student at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. She is interested in responsive design, creating an accessible web for all and mastering PHP.

In her spare time she likes to crochet, practice yoga and hang out with her hound dog, Ruby. She also hopes to learn how to play the banjo in the near future. You can follow Jessica on Twitter @jessicaanngilly.

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