Piled up with a truckload of work and miscellaneous deadlines, you find yourself sitting there and thinking “from where should I even start?” Panic sets in and your productivity hampers.
We have all been in such a situation before. Procrastination is the avoidance or delaying of work past the deadline. It can be habitual or unintentional.
Procrastination is not a special trait or a mysterious curse, but a negative way of dealing with challenging emotions like- insecurity, frustration, lack of structure, resentment, self-doubt, and boredom.
While we all put off things sometimes, but procrastinators deliberately look for distractions. We know what we should be doing but we just don’t want to do it.
So, here are the top 10 tips to beat procrastination which you can apply in everyday life:
Planning is critical for the success of any task. Formulating a well laid-out plan gives your brain more time to think and make well-informed decisions. There is a correlation between the level of preparation and the level of your performance.
Planning ahead gives you a sense of clarity, makes you more familiar with your work, and increases productivity.
How can you learn this specific skill? These small tips will help you inculcate this habit naturally-
- Anticipate your needs
- Ask relevant questions
- Ditch the all or nothing mindset
- Consider the worst-case and the best-case scenarios
- Think of possible actions
- Write a plan
- Adjust it accordingly
- Just get into it
One Goal At A Time
When you have a lot on your plate, you are bound to get overwhelmed. Hence, it becomes necessary to break big tasks into smaller chunks.
Are you someone who constantly struggles in achieving your goals? Do you find yourself in a constant state of self-doubt? Do you want to know where you falter?
Chances are you are not thinking small enough. Yes, you read it right. It is rightly said that thinking small is the secret to big success. We all are conditioned to think big but the truth is that even a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.
For instance – Your ultimate goal is to build a muscular and lean body. How do you plan to reach there? Will you directly start deadlifting on day one of the gym? Or will you first build your stamina before starting strength training? Obviously, you will first train your body to become habituated to this new change.
Smaller goals allow you to stay focused by promoting action. They help you create momentum and eventually transform it into habits. Hence, it is always a good idea to begin small and then move onto larger things.
Bring A Change In Environment
It a little-known fact that different environments have a different impact on your work productivity. The majority of people won’t even consider this a problem, let alone bring a change. No worries, I got you covered.
Think about your workspace: does it make you want to work more or does it serve as an unnecessary distraction? Sticky-notes, heaps of folders, uncompleted projects, etc. all clamor for our attention. Hence, it is about time to declutter.
A minimalist desk breeds life, motivation, and encouragement. It indicates a clean and focused mind.
Trust me, the feeling a clean desk gives you is likely to increase your energy and give you peace of mind.
Cleanliness and organization come naturally to some, while for others, it requires persistent efforts. Whatever the scenario is, here are a few tips which you can use-
- Create a system
- Reduce your work items
- Use big drawers or trays
- Try to store things digitally
- Keep necessary items nearby
- Try keeping it as minimal as possible
Also, before leaving your work desk at night, spare 5 minutes. Utilize these five minutes to clean and organize your stuff for the next morning. Your new and increased productivity levels will thank you later.
Do A Self-Introspection
In this fast-paced life, we tend to forget ourselves in the rush. You feel you are putting maximum efforts but are unable to achieve the desired results.
Sometimes, getting under the hood becomes important. The first step toward improvement is identification. What is it that is hindering you from reaching your goal? What is the specific reason why you keep procrastinating a task? What are these roadblocks on your way to success?
Try asking yourself as many questions as you can. Fill in sentences like-
- I am not doing this task right now because…….
- I have been putting off this task since last week because….
- I am avoiding this task because I am afraid that……
This will help you recognize the area where you lag. Many times, we are not aware of the root cause. This exercise will help you get to the bottom of it. It is only this identification of your fears which will help you overcome it.
Use This 5 Minute Trick
This trick is a savior for those people who struggle with procrastination. So, what is this idea?
It involves asking yourself “What can I possibly get done in 5 minutes?” You have to identify a small action that can be completed under this time frame. Yes, you have to stop after five minutes.
Scientific research shows that once you begin something, you are more likely to finish it. The biggest magic of this five-minute trick comes from the fact that it provides you with a beginning.
Most of the procrastinators struggle with starting a big task mostly because it is…big. We constantly worry that it will take us 10 hours, a few days or even a week. This is the reason why we never get to start it and just wallow in self-pity.
This trick works on a psychological phenomenon called Zeigarnik effects which says that an unfinished task gets stuck in your memory.
So, I can safely say that these five minutes can make a big difference.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Accountability can play a major role in getting things done. There are times when we make big promises and schedules for the day. Often, we end up accomplishing the bare minimum.
If you know you’re prone to procrastination, try a buddy system. Talk to a friend, sibling, colleague or anyone who can help you. Try to help each other. Talking about your goals makes them more realistic and less intimidating.
Moreover, having a companion can make this entire process fun. Both of you will hold each other accountable for the work done. Here are some ways you can work together and achieve the maximum benefits-
- Find someone with a set of goals
- Share your goals
- Update each other daily
- Share your weekly progress
- Motivate each other to take action
When you share your progress with someone, you’re less likely to put it off.
Make It Fun
Gone are the times when work was just another tedious task to get done with. The word “work” and “fun” are no longer the opposite ends of a pole.
Most of the successful men and women have in common that they enjoy what they do. It is so important to have fun at work.
When you indulge in anything you enjoy, you are more naturally going to do a better job. This will give you an instant productivity boost.
Because you spend half of your life working, you might as well start enjoying it.
- Choose an energetic song that makes you get off the bed and puts you into a power mode. Play it whenever you feel like you are procrastinating. The brain likes to have a little trigger to create a new routine. Moreover, a good song can uplift your spirits instantly. So, time to bid a farewell to the Monday blues.
- Make fun bets with your work buddy. This can be a fun and healthy exercise for both of you. Make harmless bets like “I will take you out for lunch if I didn’t complete this project by noon.” Or “I will buy you those movie tickets if I don’t get done with this by next Thursday.”
Set a fixed time and date. They will check on that particular day to see if you have finished the given task. Else, they get to redeem their prize. You owe them a treat.
Do Not Overdo Or Overcomplicate Things
Everything you do in your life; it all boils down to consistency. Consistency is the key to reach higher goals. It doesn’t matter if you performed extra well today, you need to be consistent throughout.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed when beginning something new. The main thing to remember here is to not overcomplicate things. When you are setting up a plan for the week, make sure it’s realistic. Do not overburden yourself with innumerable tasks. Tailor your work schedule according to your strength. The comprehensiveness of your to-do lists does not matter. What matters is the result.
Start by choosing one thing that you have been procrastinating for a while now. Once you have narrowed down your task, try to take immediate action. Commit to complete it with a given time frame.
You won’t develop this habit overnight; it will take relentless efforts and practice from your side. Take it slow and easy. You need not worry if you don’t immediately get your desired results. Keep trying and you will eventually succeed.
Just Do It
Are you waiting for a perfect time to commence something? Then let me tell you, now is the right time.
If you are constantly living in an imaginary world waiting for the perfect time and perfect place to begin something; you will keep waiting.
Perfectionism doesn’t come by thinking. It comes with implementation. Your tendencies for perfectionism can become a bane rather than a boon.
You can strategize, plan and fantasize but if you won’t take action, it won’t change anything.
The Art Of Letting Go
Be kind to your mind. If you have a deeply entrenched habit of procrastination, it will take time to go. Do not beat yourself for it. You won’t change overnight. So, stop acting as your biggest critics. Do not indulge in negative self-talk as it will bring down your morale.
Do not see your shortcomings as failures. Look at them from a positive perspective and watch your life turn around. Divert your attention from failure to success.
If you didn’t check listed the activities on your to-do list for today, do not feel disheartened. Rather, see it as lessons because there is always a scope for improvement.
To summarize, I am enlisting ten practical tips which will keep procrastination at bay:
- Plan ahead
- One goal at a time
- Bring a change in the environment
- Do self-introspection
- Use this five-minute trick
- Hold yourself accountable
- Make it fun
- Do not over complicate things
- Just do it
- The art of letting go
Just remember that small progress is still progress and keep going until you achieve your goal.
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