5 ways to stop procrastinating at work

Chances are that if you’re reading this at work, you’re in the middle of procrastinating. We’re not judging because we’ve all been there, but if you’re looking for ways to make a change and get back the hours you’re losing to social media and the Internet, here are five things that you need to do:

#1 Jump-start your day
We know how it goes: getting into the office in the morning, thinking you’ll check out what’s on Facebook for a few minutes, and before you know it two hours have disappeared and it’s closing in on lunch time. 

The trick is to start off with work straight away in order to get yourself into the momentum of it. Once you’re on track, it’ll be easier to take the five or so minutes you need to browse social media without losing your groove. 

#2 Make a to-do list
While we have a general idea in our minds of how much work needs to be done at the start of the week, we often encounter emergency situations or sudden tasks that will put our to-do list on the back burner. It’s a good idea to have a list of general objectives at the start of the week, as well as a list you revise at the start of each day to make sure you’re prioritising things right. 

#3 Keep snacks at your desk
Nothing will get you feeling antsy quite like mid-day hunger pangs. Keep healthy snacks on your desk to munch on when you know you’re scheduled to get hungry. Healthy options are complex carbs or foods that have a low glycemic index. These will release glucose into your bloodstream at a more consistent rate over time, which prevents short bursts of energy and helps you focus better for longer. Studies have shown that foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids (like walnuts and kiwi) are also also good for brain function.  

#4 Minimise distractions
We all have our preferences when it comes to working environment, whether that means plugging in and listening to instrumental music, low background noise like rain, buzzing ambient noise in a coffee shop, or even just silence. If the office is too noisy and you prefer silence, something like noise cancelling headphones may be what you need. On the other hand, low background noises that might boost your productivity like rain or coffee shop sounds are easily available online. The sound of rain with a little thunder thrown in is a personal favourite (though it might make some of you wish you were at home curled up in bed).

#5 Take some pressure off yourself
One reason why we often procrastinate is that the task at hand may seem daunting. We might be avoiding hard decisions we know we must make, or simply worrying that we might not do something to the best of our ability. 

The best way to take the pressure off your back is to stop trying to be a perfectionist and realise that just getting started on the work is all you need to focus on. The big decisions or tougher areas of that project will come along later, and when you finally get there, you’ll be in a better position to ask for help, and you’ll also have the perspective you were lacking before.