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Everyone has bad days from time to time  —  Those days when you’re drowning in important projects and can’t bring yourself to start a single one of them. The Summer months seem to have even more of these days, when people day dream about the beach or hanging out by the pool rather than working on that project that is due next Friday. Fortunately however, according to a recent article in The Atlantic called “the procrastination doom loop”, procrastination is all in your head, which means there are ways of thinking your way out of it.

Here are a four tips to stop procrastinating:

  1. Go Someplace Else.  If your office has more than one place where you can work, or if you work from home, try setting up somewhere else and change your work environment a bit.  The act of getting up, moving away, and sitting down somewhere else has been shown to reset your mind, breaking the pattern of aimlessly scrolling through your email that you may have been stuck in.
  2. Take a Walk.  FMRI scans show that almost nothing slows neural activity more than sitting still all day.  So if your brain isn’t working for you, try getting up, going outside, and taking a brisk walk around the block.  It doesn’t have to take more than five or ten minutes.
  3. Start Slow.  Sometimes people procrastinate not because they’re tired or brain-dead, but because they’re overwhelmed.  If you have too many projects going on at once, start by breaking a few of them into thirty-minute to one-hour chunks.  Begin with a chunk that’s easy for you.  Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things, it’ll be easier to get motivated to start the next one.
  4. Kill The Social Media Distractions.  It’s much harder to stay on task now that distraction is just a click away.  Sign yourself out of your networks and only use the programs or websites that you need in order to get your work done. Use social media as a reward once your work is done by sharing on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook about finishing your projects.

If you have other tips on how to avoid procrastination at work, feel free to share them in the comments section below.