Are you “that person”? You know, that person- the one who waits until their gas tank is empty before they decide it’s time to fill up (usually when they are nowhere near a gas station).  Is your mentality that you will “do it tomorrow”, but when tomorrow comes, you find a way to push the task back even further?  Do you consistently find yourself waiting until the night before a report or project is due to even start working on it?

If this sounds familiar, you may need to evaluate how you manage your responsibilities and find a way to stop procrastinating. Unfortunately, in the workplace, even a little procrastination can cause big problems long term.  While you may be ok pulling that all-nighter the evening before a project is due, you are risking the quality of your work, your productivity, and the trust of those who rely on you to complete tasks in a timely manner.  Instead of procrastinating, use the following steps to stay on track and set yourself up for success.


Make a Plan

One of the top reasons that people procrastinate is that they feel overwhelmed, and one way that they subconsciously choose to relieve that feeling is to distract themselves with other (less stressful) tasks. Instead of procrastinating when you are overwhelmed with work, sit down and make a plan for each project that you are responsible for. Since looking at a project as a whole can be overwhelming, start by creating a realistic timeline that outlines the benchmarks that you need to meet throughout the duration of the project.  Once you have your timeline, make time in your daily schedule that is dedicated to reaching those benchmarks.  This will ensure that the entirety of the project isn’t left until the week, or even the night, before it is due.  By breaking it down into attainable milestones and smaller increments, the project will feel more achievable and you won’t feel the need to procrastinate.

Eliminate Distractions

Along with creating a plan for completing a project, it is important to take a look around your work area and identify any procrastination gateways. Procrastination gateways are objects or people that encourage your mind to wander and are used as excuses for not completing your work and meeting deadlines.  Some examples include: social media, smart phones, texting, emails, and chatty coworkers.  Instead of letting these distractions lead you to procrastinate, turn your smart phone and email alerts off when you are working on a project.  Further eliminate distractions by setting boundaries with your coworkers and limiting clutter on your desk.  You have limited time during the work day to complete projects, make sure that you use this time to its fullest!

Reward Yourself

If you are in the habit of procrastinating, it can be difficult to stick to the timeline and the schedule that you set for yourself.   To keep yourself on track and motivated, reward yourself every time you reach a benchmark or have worked consistently without allowing yourself to get distracted.  This reward can be as simple as taking a break to grab a cup of coffee, or a bigger reward like treating yourself to a nice lunch.  No matter what you choose to reward yourself with, it should be something that motivates you to stick to the plan that you created.


Use these tips to stop being “that person” who is known for procrastinating and start being known as the reliable team member who doesn’t let projects overwhelm them, utilizes timelines, doesn’t let distractions get in the way of completing projects, and who stays motivated to complete tasks on time.