Boost Your Productivity: Overcome Procrastination 

 

Boost Your Productivity: Overcome Procrastination

We all procrastinate from time to time. Procrastination occurs when we avoid tasks. There are a number of reasons why someone may procrastinate. We may avoid tasks that we find unpleasant. We may also procrastinate tasks that we don’t feel confident we can do adequately. Or we simply may avoid tasks by consistently prioritizing other things that need to be done above them. Even if we perform other work-related tasks instead of the ones we dislike, we are guilty of procrastination. Unfortunately, procrastination will hinder our long-term success. With the proper skills, you can overcome procrastination.

1. EAT THAT FROG!

Mark Twain has a saying that applies to procrastination:

If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!

Brian Tracy named his course on time management “Eat that Frog” because of this saying. The frog is anything that you do not want to do. You should complete your dreaded tasks first. Getting them out of the way will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and keep you from procrastinating. Always begin with the task that is the hardest and most significant, and you will be less tempted to procrastinate on other activities.

When you dislike a particular task, it is easy to procrastinate. Whether you spend time checking email or looking at Instagram, you are procrastinating. You need to do more than identify when you procrastinate. You need to discover why.

  • Discover your obstacles: What do you choose over your tasks?
  • Discover ways to remove obstacles: Ask for support, and take action. For example, you could turn off the Internet and your phone.
  • Reward yourself: Make the task fun, and use small rewards as incentive.

Once you have identified your frogs and obstacles, the only answer is to take action. Make the tasks that you want to avoid part of your daily routine. Schedule the tasks into your calendar. Once they become habit, you will find them easier to accomplish. Once you have scheduled the time to accomplish your tasks, you must follow through. Resist the temptation to procrastinate with your favorite time waster. Just do it.

2. THE 15 MINUTE RULE

Lack of time is a common excuse for not completing a task. We often overestimate the time that it takes to complete tasks, but the 15-minute rule allows you to accurately time your tasks. When you follow the 15-minute rule, you set a timer for 15 minutes and work on a task. You should stop working on the task when the time is up. You will be surprised by how many tasks you complete within the 15 minutes. When you are not able to complete a task within 15 minutes, schedule 15 minutes the next day for the same task. This allows you to make consistent progress. You will also be able to better estimate how long a similar task will take.

3. CHOP IT UP

The size of a project can also contribute to procrastination. It is easy to become overwhelmed by a large project. The key to overcoming procrastination is to chop up the large project into smaller tasks. Rather than looking at the entire project, focus on the single task. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of the work you must complete. For example, you could break a large report into different tasks such as brainstorming, outlining, writing, etc. This technique will create a sense of achievement with each step and improve motivation, allowing you to stay focused as you reach the end of the entire project.

4. AVOID DISTRACTIONS

We are bombarded by distractions every day. These distractions are temptations to procrastinate. By removing as many distractions as possible, you will be on track to overcoming procrastination.

Distractions to Avoid:

  • Office clutter: Clean up your space at the end of each day, at home and in the office. A clean space will keep you focused and not interrupt your work.
  • Email notification: Establish specific times to check email. Automatic notifications are distracting and cut into the time you spend on each project.
  • Telephone calls: Do not take all calls. Choose a time to return calls and texts.
  • Environment: Remove distractions such as books, magazines, etc., from your workstation.

5. START SMALL AND BUILD

A habit of procrastination does not happen overnight. Equally, it is not possible to stop procrastinating overnight. Expecting an immediate change will only lead to disappointment. You need to start small and build to end procrastination once and for all. Begin by creating a daily “to-do list” for your personal life. Include the tasks that you have trouble completing, such as laundry or cleaning the kitchen. When you have stability in your schedule, it will be easier to address procrastination at work.

Create a daily schedule for work once you have broken down your larger tasks into smaller ones. As your productivity increases, you will be able to build upon your schedule. You may soon find that you are completing tasks ahead of schedule!

6. REWARD YOURSELF

People tend to procrastinate because they find certain tasks to be unpleasant, so procrastination becomes its own reward. TO overcome procrastination, you could implement a reward system for tasks completed. For example, spending 10 minutes on Facebook could be a reward for returning phone calls. Similarly, going to a movie could be a reward for completing a report on time. When choosing, you should avoid rewarding yourself with anything that you already have planned. For example, if you already have plans to go out with friends on the weekend, the outing will not serve as a reward. Using the appropriate rewards will improve motivation and help prevent procrastination.

7. SET REALISTIC DEADLINES

Schedules and deadlines will help you stay focused. When setting deadlines, however, you must be realistic. Unrealistic deadlines will contribute to procrastination. If you do not have a chance of completing a task on time, you will avoid it. If you are creating your deadline, you should consider how long similar tasks have taken. Be honest, and allow time for interruptions and emergencies. Do not create a schedule based on the best-case scenario; you are setting yourself up for failure. If you are assigned a deadline, determine if it is realistic. If it is not, attempt to negotiate a more realistic date. This negotiation should be done as quickly as possible to prevent complications later.

CONCLUSION

We hope our tips and tricks for overcoming procrastination will help you meet your goals for the new year.

To learn more about meeting your goals and avoiding procrastination, check out our training workshops like:
Goal Setting and Getting Things Done,
Time Management, and 
Personal Productivity.

Corporate Training Materials

5 Ways Adult Learning is Unique and 7 Tips to Apply it to your Corporate Training

It can be easy to assume that the way individuals take in information is fairly consistent. However, have you ever considered how the dynamics of learning change as we age? Consider the strategies used to teach early elementary students, versus someone in high school. How is the classroom laid out? How is information delivered? What are the expectations of the students to help them learn?

This also carries over to how adults learn. It is called andragogy, and it is the study of how adults learn differently from children. We often associate the majority of our structured learning with our younger years. And while this is true, learning is a life long process that changes overtime, so understanding adult learning theory and its styles is crucial to delivering effective corporate training.

Learn more about adult learning and empower yourself to deliver your training accordingly with our guide to adult learning theory below.

MALCOLM KNOWLES’ 5 ASSUMPTIONS OF ADULT LEARNERS

Adult Learners

While the word andragogy can be traced back to the 1800s, the most popular research and theorizing of it can be traced back to Malcolm Knowles in 1968. Malcolm Knowles was an American adult educator who used scientific methods to determine the most effective ways to teach adults. Through this and his experience teaching at the YMCA and working for the Adult Education Association, he developed four assumptions about how adults learn (he added the fifth assumption several years later). They are:

1. SELF-CONCEPT

As an adult, our experiences give us a stronger self-concept. This helps us better understand our learning needs, style, and preferences. Along with this, as we move further into adulthood, we become less dependent on others, and shift to having a strong sense of independence. This can make it more challenging to sit in a classroom and learn from another instructor. This means that adult learners tend to prefer a more self-directed approach to learning, rather than instructor-led. Furthermore, because of this independence, adults tend to prefer to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

2. ADULT LEARNER EXPERIENCE

The experience an adult has already gathered before entering a training workshop through previous education, work experience, and life in general is significantly higher than a child entering a learning environment. Adults have hands-on experience, accumulated knowledge, and have learned from making mistakes. This must be considered when teaching adults, as it can help them make meaningful connections that will help them better retain information. As a trainer, being mindful of the things your adult learners have experienced can help you better engage them.

3. READINESS TO LEARN

As adults, our readiness to learn is most prevalent when the topics resonate with our everyday lives, such as growth or advancement in our career. When there is a strong and relevant reason to learn, adults are significantly more interested in learning. If adult learners can’t see how they can apply what they are learning to their life – whether personally or professionally – they will be significantly less engaged in your workshops. If learning can help them better fit into their roles in society, they will be more likely to value the training they take in.

4. ORIENTATION OF LEARNING

The orientation of adult learning is less focused on content, and more focused on practicality. Adult learners want to learn things that will help them solve problems in their lives or careers. This shift in perspective means that adult learners prefer to take in information that they can immediately apply to better hone their skills, increase productivity, and advance their career and organization wherever relevant. This is also referred to as problem-centered learning rather than content-centered learning.

5. MOTIVATION TO LEARN

A child’s motivation to learn generally comes from the guidance of adults, such as parents, teachers, and mentors. Adult learners generally have a desire to learn based on internal factors. This includes personal reasons such as increasing self esteem or progressing in their workplace. An adult building maturity overtime leads to them better understanding what they need to learn to progress in life, and they will be motivated to train based on that.

TIPS TO SUIT YOUR TRAINING TO ADULT LEARNERS

So what does this mean? And how does it impact your corporate training? Below are our tips for providing corporate training to adults based on Knowles’ Assumptions for Adult Learning:

  1. Ensure you can back up your credibility as a trainer to build trust with your learners. This can help you keep your adult learner’s attention despite their increased independence compared to a child.
  2. Provide self-directed learning options if possible. As a trainer, it may feel like you are losing a sense of control in your training by providing self-directing options. However, for adults it can be just as – if not more – effective, as it better aligns with many adults learning preferences. Self-directed learning can be implemented through eLearning for convenient, instructorless training.
  3. Involve your learners. Adult learners like to feel involved in the learning process. As a trainer, sending notes or agendas ahead of time to your learners about what will be covered in your workshop can help your learners prepare any questions or other topics they would like to see covered when they enter the training. Giving your learners an opportunity to evaluate your training can also give you strong feedback that you can implement in the future and give your learners more of a say in their training.
  4. Encourage your learners to draw on their previous experiences. Take opportunities to let your learners share their experiences and relate them to your training. This could be through group conversations or activities that allow them to reflect on their experience. Being able to share this experience and apply it to your workshops will help the content better resonate with all the learners.
  5. Highlight the benefits and focus on the impact. Being strategic on your promotion and opening of your training workshop can set the tone for how engaged your learners are for your entire workshop, especially when it comes to adult learners. Consider your learner’s wants and needs. Career advancements? Increased professional value? General improvement of soft skills? Make sure you have some of these points ready to communicate to your learners so that they can understand the benefits of your training and how it can help them grow personally or professionally.
  6. Focus on training that can solve problems for your learners. This boils down once again to understanding your trainee’s needs. What challenges or obstacles are they facing that would make your training worth their while? Ensuring these solutions are incorporated into your training will make your workshops truly stand out.
  7. Increase motivation by focusing on the internal impact. Understanding your trainee’s motivation and how motivation is unique to adult learners will help you plan your workshops in a way that will keep your trainees engaged. Make sure your training is relevant to the factors that will motivate your trainees such as advancements in their workplace or personal development.

CONCLUSION

As adults develop more skills and knowledge, their learning style and experience impacts how they best take in information. By referring to adult learning theory and applying it to our training, you can ensure you are providing the best possible corporate training to your learners.

 

Posted by Katelyn Roy on