Four Ways To Stop Procrastination In Its Tracks And Improve Your Productivity |

Procrastination is like a disease. It zaps all your energy, festers for as long as you allow it, and robs you of all your dreams. It spreads into every area of your life. From time to time we all put off today that which we could have honestly undertaken and completed. It may be that we are pressed for time. It may be that someone or something else is the priority at that moment. It may be that the task at hand seems more like a chore and doesn’t excite us, so we leave it for another day.In the whole scheme of life there will be times when we have to choose which tasks we do in the present moment. There are times when seeing patients takes priority over everything else. We may have to do research or seek additional information from other resources in order to maintain high standards of medical care for our patients and ourselves. Procrastination happens when we are making excuses not to implement in the moment. Although it is a decision, that decision comes back to haunt us and rob us of our energy as we fall into the trap of ‘what we should have done’. Instead of moving on with our lives, there is that constant reminder of the job left undone.Successful people have mastered procrastination. They have rid themselves of this disease whose purpose is to add stress and disappointment to life. They understand that energy is wasted over rehashing what did not get done. They thrive on the momentum that mounts as they celebrate the victory of completion.As doctors, nurses, and practitioners are being asked to do more with fewer resources mastering procrastination is the key to success. Identifying whether procrastination is an issue for you and then developing strategies to combat it is the first step towards success.1. Perform a self assessment of how procrastination is affecting you. Procrastination may not have a big impact on your professional life as a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner or provider. In these roles accountability is high as we perform within the context of a team. Other people are counting on us to be reliable, to do what we say we will do, and to do it in a timely fashion. We are quite clear that our patients trust and rely on us. Procrastination more often shows up in our personal lives as we put things on hold that could easily be completed, thereby freeing up much of the energy we waste thinking about what needs to be done.2. Carefully weigh the amount of time it takes to efficiently and effectively complete a task and then set aside that time. Here’s what that looks like. Once you have decided that it will take 15 minutes to complete a task, rather than just add it to your To Do List, actually allocate where in your day you will block 15 minutes to complete it. Use the 15 minutes as efficiently as possible and then move on when the time is up. If you need more time, then repeat the process.3. Keep distractions to a minimum. Setting boundaries is essential to maintain concentration and work flow. When you work with a team of people it is quite easy to get distracted by the needs of others. Provide your team members with the information they need to execute their jobs and then trust them to do so. When patient care questions arise, ensure that the right team member has the skill set to effectively assess the situation.4. Harness the energy of completion. Regardless of how small a completed task may seem, celebrate it. Enjoy scratching it off your list of things to do. Give yourself a pat on the back for honoring yourself and keeping your promise. Tap into the positive energy from this success to build momentum and catapult you to the next one.Lately I find myself thinking back to the first two years of medical school when the volume of material to be mastered was overwhelming. And yet I did it. We all did it for our respective fields of study. Did I procrastinate then? You bet I did—in the beginning. Then my philosophy changed from putting off today… to ‘Just Do It.’ And sometimes it really is about just doing it.