Our time is a limited resource. We all prefer to spend our time on activities that are fun and enjoyable.  And we all put off doing the work that does not interest us or we find daunting. We are all procrastinators. However, unexciting projects still need to be completed. To avoid last minute stress there are a few helpful tips that help me to deal with procrastination.

GET MOTIVATED I find that the hardest part is getting started. Lack of motivation to begin a project is what causes us to keep delaying it. I try to think, “Why do I have to do this?”. Are you striving for good grades? What will happen if the project doesn’t get completed? Figure out what motivates you and use that to your advantage.

REMOVE DISTRACTIONS What disrupts your workflow? If I’m particularly distracted, I try to identify what am I using to distract me.  Maybe it’s social media, or TV, or interruptions from my family and friends. I find a place where I can work, without distractions. Sometimes it’s my office, sometimes it’s a local library, coffee shop or community space.  Whatever you choose, it should be easily accessible and provide a good work environment where you can concentrate.

CREATE A SCHEDULE I try to tackle the job, one piece at a time. I like to divide up the work to make it more manageable and I build in lots of time for review and revision. Try creating a schedule and follow through with it. Maybe you work for 20 minutes a day, or 1 hour every second day, or half a day on the weekends. Everyone’s schedule will be different. As you go, figure out what works best for you.

KEEP TRACK OF PROGRESS I like to keep a list and I check off items as they are completed. This helps to ensure the project is on track. It also provides me with positive reinforcement to keep going. You will see the work you have already accomplished and your project come closer to completion.

REWARD YOURSELF Don’t forget to take breaks.  As you track your progress and cross items off your list indulge yourself. Take time to watch your favourite show, take a walk, or any other activity that you enjoy. Reward yourself for work well done.

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This article is written by GEM Mentor, Vanja Peric, CFA and Assistant Vice President at Bell Kearns & Associates Ltd. She’s a mentor to GEMgirl Maryam Hasam, avid traveller and loves to help others through mentorship and story telling.