Is Procrastination Sabotaging Your Success?

Gina Deveney
Posted by

Most people procrastinate from time to time, but allowing procrastination to take your focus away from work is a sure way to stumble in your career. It can be difficult to stop procrastinating, but it is possible if you use the right tools and techniques. Try these tricks to stop procrastination and increase your productivity.

1. Identify Your Reasons

Everyone has their own reasons for procrastinating, but you probably fall into one of three groups. Deciders struggle to make decisions, leading them to procrastinate when they should be plugging away at work. Avoiders tend to procrastinate because they are afraid to fail or afraid to succeed. Some avoiders also care too much about what other people think. Thrill-seekers procrastinate because they get a rush out of racing against a last-minute deadline. Once you know why you procrastinate, you can take steps to fix the problem.

2. Break Down Tasks

A good way to stop procrastinating is to break a large project into a series of smaller tasks. If you look at the project as one big task to complete, it's easy to get overwhelmed. If all you need to do is complete several small tasks, you are more likely to stop procrastinating and get the work done. If a tax return seems daunting, don't focus on finishing the entire return. Just fill in a few lines at a time.

3. Reward Yourself

Every time you start a task, set a deadline. If you meet the deadline, give yourself a small reward. The reward might be a piece of candy, a five-minute break or a walk around the parking lot. When you look forward to something, you are more likely to stop procrastinating and finish the task.

4. Make Quick Decisions

If you hesitate to make decisions, it's difficult to get new projects off the ground. Instead of waffling over tiny decisions, just put your nose to the grindstone and start working.

5. Complete Difficult Tasks First

One of the easiest ways to stop procrastinating is to do difficult tasks first thing in the morning. If you know a task takes three hours to complete, get it out of the way as soon as you get to the office. Then give yourself a break by working on easier tasks later in the afternoon.

6. Delegate Tasks

You don't have to do everything yourself, but a lot of people procrastinate because they insist on completing every task. If you have an assistant or a junior accountant in your department, delegate tasks so you have more time for high-level work. You may need to work on complex tax returns, but a junior staff member may be perfectly qualified to work on a simple 1040. Don't get bogged down by tasks you don't absolutely have to do.

As an accounting professional, a high level of productivity can help you land better jobs and make more money. You may have specific reasons for procrastinating, but avoiding work only hurts you in the long run. Use these tips to stop procrastinating and stay productive.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch