8 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Stop Procrastinating
In my dreams, I like to think of myself like Nike. I just do it. But only in my dreams.
In reality, I often struggle with procrastination which I gleefully write off by touting my ability to get it done just in time. “I work well under pressure,” I’ve explained during one too many project updates somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
Procrastination is often confused with laziness, but it is the avoidance or delaying of completing a task that requires action. This process usually involves ignoring a boring but important task in comparison to one that is easier and enjoyable. If we procrastinate too much, we could become disappointed and disheartened with our work. And because others may not have as much confidence in you as you have in yourself to complete the task, if you are habitual to delaying tasks, you could even lose your job or key projects.
This is why it is imperative to deal with the problem as soon as possible to stop it from escalating into a situation where your normal routine is adversely affected. Even if procrastination works for you, sometimes you’ll need to flex your style to provide updates to your clients. The following are some tips you could use to deal with the habit of procrastination.
1. Start The First 30 Minutes Of Your Day With A Motivation To Work
Experts recommend starting your day by dedicating a few minutes to checking your emails, Facebook, other social media accounts, before getting ready for work. It is important to dedicate a fixed duration to this, usually half an hour. If you don’t, you never know when your 5-minutes may drag into hours and hours drag into a full-day work with a never-ending loop of finishing all your important tasks. The motivation that you get at the start of your day will inspire you to spend your day in finishing up the needed tasks. Once you established your work schedule, you will find it easier to continue it. This schedule will give you the inspiration to block your distractions completely until you are finally and seamlessly able to attend to the more important tasks.
2. Become Self Aware
“Know thyself,” someone much smarter than me once said.
It is very important to be self-aware. Usually, procrastination manifests in two levels. One is difficulty in starting tasks and second is getting distracted after starting the work. Both of these types follow a similar prototype of becoming self-aware. Your self-rationalization process includes the stress that comes with not completing tasks on time, as well as prioritizing the most urgent tasks so you can take care of them first. Also, you should always feel an urge to do your projects on time and encourage yourself to get started with it even if your will may be weak at the moment. These prototypes will help you relieve the stress and reinforce the pathways and make it a bit easier to face procrastination.
3. Schedule time for Social Activities
I’ve noticed that I am less likely to procrastinate if I need to complete a task in order to do something else. When it comes to work and finishing a task before a fixed deadline, you will have vague reasons to push back the self-imposed deadlines. When you need to watch a movie and go to the gym, you will set unexpected timings and feel perfectly comfortable to arrive on time. Now, consider the fact that if you can meet a friend and watch a movie on time, then why you do you find it difficult to finish other important tasks on time. Meeting a friend or scheduling something important will inspire you to finish other tasks on time.
4. Think About The Possible Consequences
At times, it may serve you better to think of the consequences you could possibly suffer if you postponed a task. Let us take an example; if you do workouts on a regular basis but then consider skipping it for a week, week you may become weak, lazy and possibly add on some weight after a few weeks. And the situation might even get worse if it is work involved, as you could become exceedingly lazy, the work piles up, and your boss or client will become increasingly frustrated. Now, before you postpone a task, picture yourself in such a situation and the kind of suffering you will be subjecting yourself to.
5. Avoid Procrastination Using Visual Cues
Visual cues are another way to overcome procrastination. Basically, visual cues refer to visual reminders that often encourage you to take action. Visual cues will trigger your habits and help you improve and measure your progress. These cues will remind and encourage you to start a behavior, just like a chart on your cupboard or a fridge will remind you about eating healthier. Remember that though motivation may fade away after some time, visual cues will not. As they help in reminding you to start a behavior and display progress on that particular behavior, these cues have a positive effect on your motivation. When I have something important due, I place a sticky note square on the face of my cell phone. If I want to check IG, I’ll need to remind myself that I’m putting off something that is probably more important.
6. Resize Your Tasks As Per Your Habits
As we have already covered time management, we will now discuss resizing your tasks in short deadlines. Once you begin with this trick, it will become less difficult for you to leave tasks undone and you can easily stop procrastinating. You can start the idea with a few tasks and keep carrying it by resizing your projects in small tasks. You will indeed discover that breaking down tasks will help you achieve great results. For instance, if you have to write 1000 words in 4 hours, you could start writing 250 words in one hour then take a break of a few minutes before proceeding with the writing. Eventually, this will help in finishing the task on time.
7. Block Your Distractions
Will power is a very limited resource and it is not always possible to conjure it when you need it the most. In order to avoid procrastinating, you can try to block out any potential distractions that may tempt you. If you know social media is always calling your name, put your phone on airplane mode. Research shows that switching from task to task is not as easy as it feels. When you break your focus, you often have to work twice as hard to get back in flow. Try removing distractions to stay in flow and get things done. Resisting temptations will give you more energy and motivation to focus on your work and stop procrastination.
8. Embrace Your Imperfections
Generally, people avoid dealing with difficult tasks and making tough decisions and, this habit often leads to procrastination. Instead of focusing on perfection, start approaching your plans by just getting started. So, why not start writing with the first sentence in your mind rather than focusing on its overall quality. Accomplishing something, however small it is, is always better than doing nothing and once you get started, you will find yourself having more energy to see through with the work.
I hope this article will give you the motivation and inspiration in your journey of life and help you overcome the challenge of procrastination. And when you have successfully eliminated procrastination, even in small ways, and are on your way to a happier and successful life — don’t hesitate to celebrate your achievement.
Share your favorite tactics for dealing with procrastination below.
And thank you for reading 🙂
DJ Jeffries is a self-proclaimed “intrapreneur” and entrepreneur with an obsession for challenging the status quo. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he’s been awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Fellowship, the University Innovation Fellowship (through Stanford University) and the Richard B. Fisher Fellowship (Morgan Stanley). He is the founder and editor of http://Led2win.com , an online motivation publication, the host of the Hacking Happiness podcast, and is currently an HR Transformation Associate at Morgan Stanley.