5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating at Work


We all procrastinate at some point. Whether we’re putting off an important presentation or avoiding doing the laundry, dilly dallying happens from time to time. But in the workplace, procrastination can definitely do more harm than good, leading to stress, anxiety, and compromising the quality of our work – and who needs that?

“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” –Victor Kiam

Rather than focusing on “not procrastinating,” simply adding these habits to your work routine can make a world of difference in your productivity level.

1. Put away the cell phone.

If you have a job that allows you to keep your phone on hand, it’s especially tempting to text friends throughout the day or get distracted by social media. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about this one – put away the cell phone during work.

2. Close any unnecessary tabs in your browser.

Have you ever been doing some research online, only to find yourself unintentionally checking Facebook, YouTube, or the latest fashions at your favorite store? When working at the computer, make sure to close any unnecessary tabs in your browser order to eliminate distractions. If you don’t need to use the internet for the project you’re working on, you can even turn on your computer’s airplane mode.

3. Take regular breaks every hour.

Make a habit of not working more than 50 minutes at a time. The idea here is to put in a good 40-50 minutes of focused work, followed by a short 10-15 minute break every hour. Give your eyes a rest from the computer screen, stretch a bit, respond to personal messages, or just relax so you mentally recharge for the next interval. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in less than an hour of focused work, as opposed to several hours of "multitasking."

4. Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks.

To-do lists are one of the most underrated secrets to success. Each day, make a to-do list, prioritize your tasks in order of importance, and refer back regularly to keep you on track. Just crossing off the first task or two can give you a great sense of accomplishment, and you can work off that momentum for the rest of the day.

5. Keep a copy of your goals nearby.

If all else fails and you can’t seem to end the procrastination cycle, write down a list of your goals and keep it nearby. Sometimes, all it takes is a reminder of the bigger picture to give you an extra boost of motivation. Do you have a goal of climbing the ranks at your company? Are you trying to save up money to start a business of your own? If a goal is important enough to you, then don’t let something as trivial as procrastination get in the way.

It may feel good in the moment to put off an important project; but ultimately, procrastination only robs you of extra time and brainpower you could be using to move towards something better. Think of each completed task at work as a small, yet steady, step closer to the career and life of your dreams. And tell us – what habits do you use to stop procrastinating at work?