If you know you put things off that should be done sooner, the following list may contain some useful tips for you. I have extracted it from a longer list I included in an article for accountingweb last year.
- Divide up your day eg: 1 hour for phone calls; 1 hour clearing emails; 1 hour marketing; 4 hours’ client work.
- Arrange to be away from the office for a fortnight. When I do this I always seem to get around to completing many of the little jobs that I have been putting off. If you don’t do them before your break then they probably don’t need doing at all. Plus the break will help your productivity on your return.
- Before leaving the office each evening, make a list of the top 3 things you want to do the next morning. Then when you return make sure you do those 3 top priorities BEFORE you start getting distracted by emails etc.
- List all of the jobs you have been putting off so you can gain some satisfaction from ticking them off. You will also find this helps motivate you to complete the list by ticking everything off.
- Set reserved work times (eg 10am-noon and 2-4pm) during which you only do the jobs you have been putting off. Do not even answer the phone during these times. Do not do any admin during these times. Do not accept any interruptions during these times.
- Promise yourself a reward if, and only if, you complete a job that you have been putting off. It could be chocolate, a trip to the gym, a good look round Facebook or anything that you enjoy.
- Delegate work you don’t enjoy doing. If you normally work alone consider outsourcing stuff or engaging a “virtual assistant” to take on those tasks you keep putting off.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sometimes procrastination is a function of being over-tired and over-wired. Drink plenty of water and cut down on tea and coffee.
- Adopt the “one touch” system for all non-client compliance work. When work, letters or emails arrive either DEAL with them, DELEGATE them to someone else or DUMP them in the bin or computer trash folder.
- BANJO – Bang A Nasty Job Off. Do ONE horrible job at the start of each day. Get it out of the way so that you can enjoy the rest of the day.
- Imagine the pile of work you are putting off is like an elephant you know you have to eat. How can you possibly get through it all? The answer is “one bite at a time”. Forget how much there is, just start, somewhere. Keep taking little bites. In time you will get through the whole lot.
- Think about the “what” and the “why”. What needs doing, and why are you putting it off? Is it too risky? Outside the scope of your fee quote? Something you’re not good at? That requires too much research? The fee is too low? You fear you won’t get paid? When you accept the answers you may see obvious solutions.
- Give a trusted friend £50 and tell them that if you don’t complete the task you have undertaken they can give it away to a political party or a cause that you hate.
- Never put off until tomorrow something you could do today. Because if you do it today and enjoy it, you can do it again tomorrow!
- Don’t think about procrastinating until tomorrow! ;-)
By all means add other tips or resources that work for you, by way of comments below.