Work from Home: Managing Procrastination

For the past 6 months, employees across the globe have experienced various degrees of Working or Learning from Home, for longer or shorter periods of time, and from the looks of it, this “new norm” is here to stay for a while. While many welcomed the change to begin with, once the novelty has worn off, we’ve all been left with different challenges and new opportunities brought on by the shift to the new ways of working.

As a result, the concept of “home” got redefined and we found ourselves having to deal with unexpected distractions that made it easier and more appealing, even to the most diligent ones, to procrastinate. And, while historically speaking, procrastination has not been considered a bad thing, nowadays there’s a certain unfavourable connotation associated with it. So we’ve tested some strategies to help us cope with procrastination while working from home and here’s what we found out:

  1. Plan for the unexpected
    By now, we know what kind of disruptions to expect when working from home, so have some Plan B scenarios in place for the most frequent situations you’ve encountered so far. And think of what would be the best response when faced with the unexpected. This way, you won’t have to panic when, in a middle of a video conference all, the doorbell rings and the 2 dogs start barking while you were just in the middle of expressing a very important point in the discussion (true story).  

  2. Get organized
    Start the day with a clear To Do list and have it split in two – Essential Tasks and Additional Tasks. Work your way through the list starting with the Essential ones. These are nerve wrecking, really value added tasks, usually complicated and time consuming. While addressing them, take a few minutes to think what’s the most efficient (time/quality/ output) way of handling the task at hand. Make it a point to finish all the Essential tasks allocated for the day and, as a tip, depending on the complexity of the task, aim to keep the Essential list really concise (3 – 5 tasks maximum).

  3. Know your distractions
     Let’s face it, we all have a preference for a certain type of distraction, either we admit it or not. So, if you prefer having some white noise in the background, let’s say having the TV on, on a news channel, while you work but then find yourself listening to the news rather than completing the task at hand, might be useful to change the routine and have the TV off for a change. See if that helped you complete the Essential Tasks faster and with less effort. Take a few minutes to reflect on what are your most effective distractions and explore how you could eliminate or reduce them. While there’s no perfect solution, the secret is to keep exploring different options until you find the one that fits you.
Work from Home: Managing Procrastination



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