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.

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 TO AVOID PROCRASTINATION

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

Determine Your Training Needs – A Complete Guide

Determine Your Training Needs – A Complete Guide

Have you ever felt like you could see the potential of providing corporate training, but didn’t quite know where to start?

One of the first steps of providing corporate training is deciding what training topic you want to cover.

This is a mindful process that requires time and attention to get right.

Below is our detailed guide to conducting a needs analysis to determine what kind of training workshop you should conduct

PERFORMING A NEEDS ANALYSIS

In order to help you identify your training needs, the first thing to look at is how to perform a needs analysis. This will provide you with the answers to a few basic questions and help you to understand your audience. This research will help you develop a basic outline that can then be used to help create your training program.

A needs analysis is performed when there is a lack of knowledge, skills, or attitude that is negatively affecting a group of employees, customers, etc. It is the process of identifying and evaluating training that should be done to improve a current situation. Challenges are defined and opportunities noted; a needs analysis will help the trainer set goals and priorities and decide which method to use to deliver the message. The information gathered will become the basis of a well-delivered workshop.

The results of the research will help to answer the following questions:

  • Who is the audience with the problem or need for change?
  • What tasks and subtasks does an expert perform to a work process?
  • What gaps exist between experts, average, and poor performers of a work process?
  • How do we translate the needs into objectives to promote a positive learning outcome?

1. WHO IS THE AUDIENCE WITH THE PROBLEM OR NEED FOR CHANGE?

The first step in conducting a needs analysis is asking yourself what you know about your audience. Your audience should determine the content and approach of your training. Find out what they know; use their words and terms and better your understanding of where your trainees are at.

Understanding your audience also helps you determine what training format may be best. A group of youth interested in entrepreneurship won’t experience the same presentation as a group of senior entrepreneurs.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the aim of my training?
  • What do I want the audience to do after my presentation?
  • What will your audience learn?
  • What happens afterwards?
  • What outcomes should be expected?
  • What changes in the workplace should occur?
  • Who will implement these changes?

These are all questions you should ask yourself when better understanding your audience. Continually referring to these questions as you build your needs analysis (and training workshop in general) will help you stay on track and focused.

2. WHAT TASKS AND SUBTASKS DOES AN EXPERT PERFORM TO A WORK PROCESS?

In order to be able to provide contextual training, you must understand the roles of your trainees. Learning the objectives of your trainees and their process for meeting them gives you the ability to list their tasks and subtasks.

For example: Consider this in the context of a call center. Although the call center reps are empowered to assist customers, several are not solving callers’ product problems. Instead, they are passing them on to the Escalation Desk, creating a bottleneck, and unhappy customers. The needs analysis identified a task called “Resolve customer complaints”. Some of its tasks/subtasks are:

  • Handling a Call
  • Answer call
  • Listen to customer’s problem
  • Express empathy for the trouble
  • Open a new support ticket
  • Resolve the complaint per the list of allowable resolutions
  • Documenting Call Resolution
  • Document the resolution in the call notes
  • Close support ticket

While some of this information may be common knowledge to you, don’t assume someone else’s tasks/subtasks. Make sure you communicate with employees and let them tell you their tasks/subtasks. Getting this info directly from the source ensures you aren’t misinterpreting certain aspects of their roles and that you didn’t forget any crucial tasks that could help you better identify their needs.

3. WHAT GAPS EXIST BETWEEN EXPERTS, AVERAGE, AND POOR PERFORMERS OF A WORK PROCESS?

So, you have identified the problem and the people involved in the process where issues are arising. You have communicated with them to understand the tasks and sub-tasks involved.

Now it is time to identify the gaps. Consider the experience level of all the employees involved. Do some people have higher levels of training/expertise than others?

Note what systems are being used that may be out of date or less than efficient. Are there new systems that your team should be trained in?

Think about what employees are involved in this process but may not be communicating with each other. Is a lack of communication causing preventable mistakes or deadlines not being met?

Even better, ask the employees involved some of the following questions to also identify gaps:

  • What are the department needs?
  • What are some problems your department is experiencing?
  • How long has this been a problem?
  • What would indicate to you that the problem has been solved?

Once you have evaluated this, simply note the gaps you see in the processes that are contributing to the problem. If you are having difficulty finding these gaps, or are worried you missed something, consider explaining to a third party the process, the tasks/subtasks, and the people involved. Get them to ask you critical questions and see if they can poke any holes in it. If you can’t adequately answer certain questions or account for their critiques, those may be areas to examine for gaps.

4. HOW DO WE TRANSLATE THE NEEDS INTO OBJECTIVES TO PROMOTE A POSITIVE LEARNING OUTCOME?

Now that we have identified the gaps, we can finally set our objectives and identify our specific training needs.

How can we fill the gaps we found in your organization’s processes? Fortunately, since we have done all our prep work to identify these, the objections should be fairly clear by now. For example:

If the gaps lie in inconsistent training levels between employees, perhaps there are employees that need to receive training that others already have. Or maybe a refresher training session is required.

If the gaps lie in outdated or inefficient systems, it may be time to revamp these and give everyone updated training on the new system/policies.

If the gaps lie in a lack of communication, then soft skills training will help your employees improve their communication skills, emotional intelligence, and teamwork skills.

Translating the gaps and needs of your team into objectives will ensure better learning outcomes for your training.

CONCLUSION

One of the best parts of conducting a needs analysis is that once it is done, it has likely produced much of the supporting content required to build your training program. So, if you are hesitant to do a complete needs analysis, remember how much time it will save you later, and how much better your training will be for it.

We hope that our outline for conducting a needs analysis will help you better understand your training needs.

Posted by Katelyn Roy, Corporate Training