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How to keep yourself motivated (and stop procrastinating) at work

Tue, 13/06/2017 - 14:28

If you're reading this, there's a strong possibility you're currently procrastinating. The thing is, did you know, our brains are wired to procrastinate?

Much research has been done recently about why we procrastinate...

...and researchers have found that we do it do avoid negative emotions, because our brains prefer short-term gains, and to become more creative.

That’s right, something most creatives have known for years. Professor Adam Grant of Wharton School of Business told BBC Radio 4: “To be original you don’t have to be first. You just have to be different and better.”

 Grant and his team looked at the role of procrastination in creativity, conducting surveys and experiments. They found that people who procrastinate are more creative than the people who get everything done in time.
“The idea of starting early but then delaying your finish is a great way to make sure that you have time to incubate,” he said.

So, procrastination is normal but sometimes there are deadlines which need to be urgently met

That kind of pressure can lead to a lot of uninspired work. You know you have to get to work but how do you motivate yourself to do what needs to be done?

Tell yourself to stop procrastinating

Sure, it’s not as easy as that but, you can encourage yourself to stop procrastinating by thinking about the distractions you face on a daily basis.

  • Is your coffee or cigarette habit keeping you away from your desk?
  • Are your noisy colleagues annoying you too much?
  • Is your social media addiction keeping you in a constant loop of scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat?

You need to identify what’s keeping you from your work and do what you can to eliminate these from your days.

Think about your future self

Setting long-term goals for yourself, goals which excite you, allow you to remain motivated to keep going. You’ll be able to see the impact of your work as you take steps to reach your goals. Seeing the progress you’re making will encourage you to continue making progress.

A good idea is to break your big goal into smaller and more manageable goals. That way you’ll be able to cross items off your checklist often – and who doesn’t love that?

Tell stories about your goals

Speaking about your tasks will make them more real to you and this will encourage you to tackle them. It’s important to realise that the things you say and do all speak to how you’re feeling and, the reality is the way you’re feeling begins to impact your motivation and procrastination.

Just like that old trick of acting more confident than you are, act like you’re more motivated than you are.

  • Sit at your desk, get ready to work.
  • Talk about how excited you are about your new tasks.
  • Pretend to work hard.
  • Soon, you’ll stop pretending, start working hard and actually enjoy the work.
  • Keep these tips in mind next time you're tempted to procrastinate and you'll find it easier to beat the habit. 

*This article first appeared on All4Women.

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