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So your team has dreams and goals, but achieving them requires planning and action. Teaching your team how to manage time and set realistic goals will increase their chances of success. In this article, we will be looking at how to overcome procrastination so that your team can reach their goals. Procrastination usually occurs because we are avoiding tasks that we find unpleasant. Procrastination does not always involve doing nothing. Doing other work instead of the work we dislike is also regarded as procrastination. Procrastination will hinder your team’s long-term success, but it can be overcome with the proper skills.
Do Your Least Favorite Tasks First
Encourage your team members to do their least favorite task first. Getting it out of the way will give them a sense of accomplishment and keep them from procrastinating. Your team members are less likely to procrastinate on other activities if they begin with the hardest and most significant task first.
Remove Distractions and Take Action
As I mentioned before, most of our procrastination happens when we dislike a task. You need to, not only, identify when your team members procrastinate but also why they are procrastinating. They must discover the obstacles in the way of doing their tasks and find ways to remove these obstacles. Teach your team members to take action and remove the obstacles by, for example, turning off the internet or taking the phone off the hook. Encourage them to make the tasks they are inclined to avoid, a part of their daily routine. Once the tasks become habit, they will find these tasks easier to accomplish. They have to consciously resist the temptation to procrastinate with their favorite time waster.
Distractions to Avoid:
- Office clutter: Encourage your team to clean up their space at the end of each day, both at home and in the office. This will help them to remain focused, and they will not be tempted to clean during a project.
- Email notification: Establish set times to check email. Automatic notifications are distracting and cut into the time your team spends on a project.
- Telephone calls: Do not allow your team to take all calls. Arrange a time to return calls and texts.
- Environment: Team members should eliminate distractions such as books, magazines, etc., from their workstation.
Use the 15 Minute Rule
One of the most common excuses your team members may have for not completing a task are lack of time. The 15 minute rule is an excellent way for your team members to accurately time their tasks. In the 15 minute rule, you set your timer for 15 minutes to work on a task. Your team members will be surprised how much can be done in 15 minutes of focused effort. If they are not able to complete a task in the 15 minutes, they can schedule another 15 minutes the next day to work on the same task. This allows them to make consistent progress and helps them to better estimate how long a similar task will take.
Divide the Project into Smaller Tasks
Your team can easily be overwhelmed by the size of a project which can contribute to procrastination. Overcome procrastination by dividing a large project into smaller tasks. Your team then only needs to focus on a single task at a time instead of the whole project. This will prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the work that must be completed. Dividing a large project into smaller tasks create a sense of accomplishment with each step. It will increase motivation and allow your team to stay focused throughout the entire project.
Implement a Reward System
Your team will tend to procrastinate because they do not find certain tasks to be pleasant. Procrastination becomes a reward in itself, and you may have to implement a reward system to overcome procrastination. Team members can also implement a reward system for themselves such as taking 10 minutes on Facebook as a reward for returning phone calls. Using appropriate rewards will increase motivation and help prevent procrastination in your team.
Set Realistic Deadlines
To avoid procrastination you should set schedules and deadlines that will help your team to remain focused. These deadlines need to be realistic; unrealistic deadlines will only contribute further towards procrastination. Your team members are more likely to avoid tasks that they feel they do not have a chance to complete. When setting deadlines, allow time for interruptions and emergencies, and do not create a schedule based on the best-case scenario.