When you feel behind, getting started can be overwhelming. If you're struggling, it might be that you're unsure about what needs to be done to complete your work. When you're working at home, it can be harder to get quick answers to reduce this uncertainty. When people aren't sure about the next steps, it's easy for them to procrastinate. Research has shown that people “experience unpleasant feelings related to a task that they can't tolerate or manage.” Make sure you've got all the necessary information gathered before starting and to manage eventual roadblocks, put together a list of reliable people you can contact to get clarity.
One of the most common reasons for procrastinating is the natural aversion to facing a challenge. The path of least resistance always looks more appealing, right? The challenge could be an assignment for work, a personal project or simply the task of finally cleaning the house. Too large a task can seem like a Herculean challenge so we put it off. But if you break up that challenge into a smaller set of manageable jobs, you can focus on one at a time. Set a goal to accomplish each by a set time and watch how quickly you'll see progress. It's a practice known in scientific circles as “microproductivity.” Once you see that it doesn't take as much effort as you feared, your confidence and motivation will soar.
Mind the “Slope”
Sometimes procrastination is simply a matter of willpower. Author and life coach Darius Foroux calls this the slope of procrastination. “There comes a moment between the start and end of a task when you give into one distraction,” he says. “And that's exactly the moment you give up being productive.” Think of it like this: you start working on a task, you're energized and focused, but then, after some time, you think to yourself, what's happening on Twitter? “It always starts with just one thing,” says Foroux. He says self-imposed deadlines are key to keeping himself on track. “A deadline creates urgency, accountability will create responsibility.” He also recommends embracing that initial focus and working in intervals, allowing yourself breaks to rest and recharge before starting up again.
Somewhat of a no-brainer. But you might need to take a closer look at your WFH setup to fully recognize what distractions are popping up. Some may be there without you realizing it. Find a quiet place to work or invest in some quality headphones to help you maintain your focus. Refrain from checking personal messages or social media during work hours (use timed blocker software if need be). Mute your notifications. You might try removing unnecessary clutter from your desk. But the same should happen when you're done. Don't check your work messages during your off time. And reward yourself once you've accomplished your goal. The beauty of not procrastinating too much is that you've got the time to enjoy yourself without any guilt. And finding that balance is now more important than ever.