The Effectiveness of Well-Structured Checklists in Preventing Procrastination
Have you ever found yourself struggling to complete a task at the absolute last minute when you had several hours or even an entire day to accomplish it? You might tell yourself that you ‘work better under pressure,’ but that is a clever way of hiding that you are a procrastinator. It happens to even the most hard-working people.
Procrastination is a bad habit, which some people are more prone to than others. You might ask, what is it? You procrastinate when you don’t do a task you are supposed to, but in turn concentrate on something less meaningful. When you ignore doing inventory and occupy yourself with cat videos, that’s procrastinating. Note that it’s not the same as laziness. A lazy person is inactive, doesn’t do anything while a procrastinator finds something less crucial to do.
Regardless of how much you procrastinate, the habit can have adverse effects in your life. Waiting to complete your duties at the last minute can wreak havoc on your productivity. Employees who procrastinate a lot have a hard time meeting their objectives. A checklist is a common anti-procrastination strategy. Before looking at how to-do lists help, how can you tell if you are procrastinating, and why do people do it?
Signs of Procrastination Checklist
Always finding an excuse not to tackle your assigned tasks.
Filling your day with unimportant activities that don’t leave enough time to do the work that matters.
Failing to decide how to handle a project or task.
Putting off tasks until you are in the ‘right’ mood or frame of mind.
Leaving Things Unfinished
Starting a vital activity, then leaving it unfinished for something else like a coffee break that lasts too long.
Reasons We Procrastinate
Why do people do any of these things? Understanding why you procrastinate is as crucial as finding the solution. One reason is a lack of vision. When you can’t picture the results of a certain task, it’s hard to motivate yourself to do it. The minute you ask, ‘what’s the point of doing this?’ you are setting yourself up for failure.
Perfectionists are some of the biggest procrastinators. A perfectionist will keep putting off an activity if they are not sure they can do it perfectly. Fear of failure is another reason people procrastinate. Thinking that a project will turn out poorly can make it hard to even begin. Individuals who are constantly afraid of failing will concentrate on activities that they are sure they can excel at, regardless of their importance.
Using To-do Lists
Organisation is one way to beat procrastination, which is why checklists work so well. People who use written to-do lists tend to procrastinate less than those who rely on mental checklists. Including to-do lists in your daily activities can improve your workflow significantly. From the start of the day, you know what you are supposed to accomplish. This organisation makes planning your day easy. You are less likely to forget some tasks when you have them written down. With a checklist, you can easily track your progress for the day. Task management becomes simple. To-do lists also save time, especially when you schedule tasks accordingly.
Checklists are not created the same. The effectiveness of this tool depends on how well you structure it. Divide your jobs into bite-sized bits. Keep tasks under 30 minutes to avoid boredom, which can cause you to procrastinate. Handle the less-than-desirable jobs first so that you can breeze through the rest. Have start and stop points for specific tasks. Remember that it’s not necessary to complete an entire project at once. Don’t spend too much time planning that you don’t have enough time to tackle the actual work.
Procrastination can affect all areas of your life, not just work. Solidly-structured checklists can simplify organisation, and help you get through tasks efficiently.