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Effective Techniques for Avoiding Procrastination

written by: Connie Luayon•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 11/2/2010

Are you a home-based worker who habitually puts things off? Here are 4 effective techniques for avoiding procrastination.

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    Working at your home office may be the best thing in the world. You work at your most convenient time, without a supervisor behind your back, and in your most comfortable pajamas. This kind of setup, however, may lead you to procrastinate. Keeping a concrete set of goals and following a daily schedule can hep you stay on track and avoid putting things off. Here are some effective techniques for avoiding procrastination.

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    1. Set Goals

    Every worker must have a list of of goals to achieve over a short period or in a longer course of time. List the things you want to achieve in a week, in a month or after a year. Write them down on a piece of paper and tack them on your bulletin board. This way you will be reminded of your goals every time you sit at your desk to work. For instance, you may want to earn at least $500 per week doing projects for various clients. If you constantly remind yourself of that goal, you will become more motivated to write and finish your tasks on time.

    When setting goals, remember to choose ones that are realistic, specific, and achievable. Trying to reach for the stars will only make you anxious and hesitant to work on your goals.

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    2. Follow a Daily Schedule

    Make a To Do List Just like a regular day job, home-based work requires a daily schedule. It does not have to be a 9-to-5 schedule, but it has to include a substantive number of hours allowing enough time to accomplish your tasks.

    Breaking your tasks into one-hour increments can make the entire workload less overwhelming. For example, you may want to start your first hour reading emails and responding to them. The next three or four hours may be devoted to varied tasks that require immediate attention. The remaining work hours hours may be spent on projects that do not have looming deadlines.

    Making to-do lists ensures that your working hours are wisely spent. Before you end another workday, make a to-do list for the following day. Once you sit at your desk to work the next morning, run through that list and try your best to stick to it.

    Image Credit (Freedigitalphotos)

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    3. Focus

    Are you often distracted by things or activities that are not totally related to work? In this era of multitasking, tab browsing, and social networking, focus has become a struggle for most home-based workers.

    Working from home offers convenience, but it may lead you to a lot of temptations as well. Having no boss around to look behind your back can easily tempt you to do things that wean you away from actual work.

    The Internet, for example, is a huge time-waster if you don't use it wisely. Avoid bookmarking sites that do not help you finish your tasks and earn money. If you can work without the Internet, go offline and focus on what needs to be done. Connect to the Internet only when you need to check for messages, do research or get in touch with clients.

    On the other hand, if your work is web-based, make sure that the first tools and sites that you access are the ones that are work-related. You can then go through other sites during your breaks and downtime.

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    4. Reward Yourself

    The reward system has always been an effective technique for avoiding procrastination. A reward is like a medal that symbolizes hard work. Think of something that you've been longing to do or have. At the end of the day or upon finishing a project, reward yourself with it. Your reward can be as simple as a hot fudge sundae or can be as big as a beach vacation. No matter what it is, keep it in your head and you'll stay motivated.

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    Working from home requires discipline and tenacity. Use these 4 effective techniques for avoiding procrastination; staying motivated and determining priorities will help you achieve your goals.