Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Overcome Procrastination for a Healthier New Year

By Sheila Nazari, Human Resources & Career Consultant, Management & Leadership Solutions

As a new year begins, many of us are thinking of the goals that we want to accomplish this year because we didn’t get to them last year. Procrastination, the habit of delaying or avoiding tasks, is one of the most significant obstacles that holds people back from accomplishing their professional and personal goals. Everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives and most people experience it on a daily basis. However, getting into the habit of procrastinating can be detrimental to your career. It can also take a toll on your health.

Studies have shown that people who procrastinate regularly on priority tasks have weaker immune systems, are more susceptible to flus and colds, and are also more likely to have problems sleeping. In the workplace, a procrastinator’s habits will have a negative impact on teamwork and productivity. It can also cause our relationships to suffer as well. If people are counting on us to get things done and we continue to put it off, they may end up thinking we are unreliable.

Putting off job searching or career development activities can also have negative consequences. I have coached many people who lost their jobs due to the economic problems and said that they had sensed beforehand that they should have been working on their resume or job searching, but kept putting it off until it was too late.

The good news is that there are plenty of helpful tips to help us overcome procrastination and reach our goals.

• Identify what tasks you keep putting off. There is probably a common thread. You may notice that it’s more common when it comes to administrative tasks at work or job searching or eating healthy meals.

• You may be putting it off because it’s an overwhelming task or goal. Break it up into smaller pieces to make it more manageable.

• Figure out if it’s possible to delegate it to someone else (this is only possible with certain tasks).

• Ask someone you to trust to hold you accountable for finishing the task(s).

• Brainstorm ways, to make it more enjoyable. For example, listen to your favorite music while doing those annoying household chores or while exercising.

• In order to avoid thinking about it all day, schedule a certain time during the day that you will do the task and stick to it. Give yourself a small reward for finishing the task.

• Keep a journal of how you were able to beat procrastination and refer to that journal for help on future goals.

• The mind frame that we have to do something perfectly can also hold us back. Realize that you are not expected to complete the task perfectly. Then, break it up into smaller pieces and figure out a way to reward yourself with each step you take toward your goal.

Make 2012 the year that you procrastinate less and accomplish more.

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About the Author:
Sheila is a HR and Training Consultant and Career Coach who guide organizations and people in setting and reaching their goals. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized and small companies including Target, Apollo Group, University of Phoenix, Corporate Psychologists, Knight Transportation and Auckland Museum. Sheila received her Master's degree in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and her Bachelor's Degree from Boston University.

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