What is procrastination?
Do you find yourself putting things off too often and are always late for a meeting or any appointments? Do you identify yourself as someone who is unable to get properly organized? By now, you must have been aware that you are a procrastinator, who always tend to push things later rather than doing it in a timely manner. Procrastination is known to come in various disguises, wherein an individual would delay important tasks by doing other less urgent activities.
As humans, we have a tendency to prioritize enjoyable and easier activities such as answering text messages or emails instead of focusing on more important tasks of the day. Procrastination often leads to other issues such as a missed opportunity, mental stress, and misunderstandings among individuals.
Methods to Get Away from Procrastination
Below are few methods to get away from procrastination and turn them into practical steps:
- Create a timeline - If you find yourself making delays when acting upon certain decisions, try making a timeline. Once you have created a timeline, go for achievable targets, which would help you efficiently perform.
- Beat boredom - When people crave for diversion, then it would only mean that they are bored. However, there are various ways to beat boredom. You can make mundane tasks more challenging. An example would be raking leaves and neatly piling them up.
- Limit daydreaming and concentrate - Daydreaming is healthy when done in moderation. However, if you excessively daydream, you can lose focus and will not get things done. Thus, it would be better if you can maintain some balance. It is perfectly normal to let your mind roam sometimes. However, it is also important to be focused and live mindfully.
- Reward yourself - One of the best ways to avoid procrastination is to reward yourself after you have completed a difficult task on time. You can treat yourself to your favorite coffee shop and have coffee with a slice of cake. Make sure that you remember how it feels like accomplishing tasks on time.
- Break down your workload - When you feel that there is too much work, it is better to break it into smaller chunks of manageable work to get it done. This would make it easier to carry out the tasks. It is always easier to cut down or break the tasks, especially if you have something to look forward to later. A break can serve as your reward instead of having distractions, which often prevent you from getting work done.
- Deal with mundane tasks - We often tend to avoid mundane tasks at home or at work. However, the quicker we get them done, the faster we can get back to doing what we actually like to do. Thus, avoid delaying mundane activities.
- Reduce distractions - We can be easily distracted by small stuff such as texting or checking social media channels when we are working. You can get rid of digital distractions by placing your phone, tablet, and other devices out of your reach while working. Moreover, do not sit near a television while working.
How to Stop Procrastinating
Let's get down into some more details and check out five ways to beat procrastination:
1. Hold yourself accountable to the task
It is important to show commitment to getting certain things done. When you make a commitment to yourself, then it would help you become accountable to your tasks. You can write notes about your goals and ensure that you maintain a to-do list. It would also be a good option to keep certain reminders on your phone or calendar.
Nowadays, there are so many options available when it comes to making a to-do list for your goals. You can use a whiteboard in your room or work desk and write down your goals or daily tasks to keep you reminded.
2. Take it easy to start
A person who has the mindset of procrastination would always find it hard to start the task. However, if one gets over this initial hump, then an individual would not only have a certain degree of momentum, but the brain also becomes programmed in such a manner that it would pester you to carry on the work of a particular task.
But the question is, why does it happen? The answer is that it is deeply rooted in the psychological phenomenon called as the Zeigarnik effect. This effect states that unfinished tasks are better remembered than completed tasks. It is also the reason why there are to-do lists that tend to pop up in our head. A to-do list is said to calm the Zeigarnik effect in our mind.
3. Break down the tasks
Your workload can be overwhelming sometimes, which may often lead to procrastination. To avoid procrastination, you can break down large tasks into smaller chunks of manageable tasks. Try scheduling smaller tasks by setting a start and finish time, and tick finished tasks on completion. This way, you can effectively manage your time and get the work done more efficiently.
4. Have self-awareness
One of the common traits seen in most successful individuals is self-awareness. When you have self-awareness, it allows you to properly understand why you are procrastinating in the first place. Thus, having self-awareness would help you overcome procrastination. Moreover, it would be easier for you to create a plan to minimize procrastination and maximize your productivity.
This would also help you see the root cause of procrastination and effectively deal with it. When an individual becomes aware of why they procrastinate, then it would mean taking a step back and look at all the possible reasons on what has actually caused it such as lack of enthusiasm, boredom, lack of confidence in the assigned task, and feeling overwhelmed.
5. Plan ahead
How often do we sit peacefully for a few minutes and ponder on making a list of all activities that should be done for the day but end up checking our emails or whiling away the time by reading news or checking social media channels? It is quite a common scenario in today’s world.
When an individual gets to work but has no idea where to start, it can be a reason or way to procrastinate on carrying out other unimportant tasks.
Before working on a task, try to carefully consider the potential obstacles that might distract you. After identifying the probable obstacles, create a plan to make sure that they won’t get in your way. If you plan ahead of time, you can properly maintain focus at work and steer clear of procrastination. Remember, it is much harder to regain focus than to maintain it.
You can overcome procrastination, but it would take a certain degree of self-awareness and effort from your side. By applying just a few of the methods mentioned above, you can put yourself on the path of being a more productive individual.