According to some sources, over 45% of the world’s population is currently struggling with procrastination, also known as morbid postponement. The forecast for the next five years does not look better either, as the elements that distract us only increase. This does not mean that you should give up on this matter though. In this article, we will show you how to get rid of procrastination.
First, it is necessary to understand the reasons for procrastination and address them one by one. According to experts, the causes are divided into four groups:
Too much to do
Sometimes, the tasks you face are just too much, or they are very complex and require your maximum attention. You don’t know where to start, so the procrastination begins: you prefer to postpone starting a job until there is enough time to devote to it. The problem here is that this almost never happens.
Divide large tasks into smaller ones that take a maximum of 15-45 minutes to complete (depending on how much uninterrupted time you can afford to give these tasks in your specific situation). Write down your tasks so that you know what awaits you.
People often procrastinate because they are overwhelmed and tired and prefer to watch cat videos on Youtube or work against their biological rhythm. Many creative people can do a massive amount of work during the night when they are sure that no one will disturb them, but it is not so easy for them during the day.
Find out when you work best. Is it early in the morning? or do you work better in the afternoon? Maybe you prefer to work after dinner and a glass of wine. Whatever your preferred moment is, schedule the most difficult tasks for this time. This will suppress procrastination.
You are annoyed by or simply dread the task itself
Everyone faces an assignment that they hate from the bottom of their hearts from time to time. Many times, the reaction is to put it off until later instead of dealing with it immediately, and the time spent waiting is also spent dreading the mere thought of the task. Unfortunately, even the most interesting and engaging work will regularly contain some boring or annoying tasks,. and we have to come to terms with this fact.
Reward yourself. Devote yourself to the task and treat yourself to something good to eat, an excellent movie, a walk, or whatever you perceive as a reward. Thanks to the knowledge that something pleasant awaits you, you will complete the task more happily and faster.
You need more motivation
Maybe you are the type of person who works best under stress. If you do not see a clear goal or deadline in front of you, you do not have enough motivation to complete the assignment.
If you need to have a precise completion date, create your own. Use a time monitoring application and set the hour and minute when you want to complete the task.
So, what are other tips I can follow to beat procrastination?
Try betting – few people leave an activity if they know they are losing a bet. Place a bet with colleagues, friends or family, and wager something important enough to motivate you to complete the task.
Plan to do only what you can actually do – be honest with yourself and do not write down in your daily planner the tasks you would like to accomplish. If you overdo it, it might unnecessarily put you under stress, which will eventually slow you down.
Time your activities – When you are performing a task, it is important that you set a deadline and measure the time that it actually takes you. There are many applications designed specifically for timing tasks, but you can start with the stopwatch or timer included with your phone. Just run the timer or stopwatch while you’re working and note your times. Knowing that you are running out of time can improve your concentration. An alarm clock might also be handy. First, measure shorter blocks and find out what suits you better. Maybe the feeling of a deadline will help you improve or maybe just the fact of having proof of how long you stuck to one small task might be the motivation you needed.
Music might kick you in gear – put together a playlist to either motivate you or improve your concentration. You can find many of them on Youtube for both cases.
Find a motivator – choose a colleague at work who needs to solve the same problem as you, meaning they should be fighting procrastination. Agree on motivating each other and setting daily and weekly goals that you both want to achieve. Striving to be better than someone else can help you stay more focused and complete your schedule.
Make your goals public – acquaint your colleagues with your objectives Feel free to write them on a whiteboard, notice board, or wherever they are visible. When goals are displayed in public and you are aware of the fact that other people can see you complete them or fail to do so, it is easier to feel motivated to work.
Try a different perspective – get rid of your fear by looking at your tasks from a different perspective. Do you have to do it all yourself? Does it have to be today? Will the world fall apart if you postpone something for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and calmly finish it? Once you’ve clarified your priorities and planned your steps, you won’t have to avoid the task.
Reward yourself – when you manage to complete what you have planned for the day, go home earlier, stop for a good coffee or wine, and relax. If you are an active kind of person, take advantage of the outdoors and go jogging, cycling, or for a long walk.
Plan activities after work – pay for courses in drawing, yoga, cooking, whatever you look forward to (that’s why we didn’t include foreign languages, few people look forward to them). The feeling that you only have a limited time to complete your work tasks will force you to embark on them. Besides, you will spend your time at work having the feeling that something pleasant awaits you.
Have a work ritual – create an environment and habits that will help you quickly and reliably enter a working mindset. Bring your favorite drink, prepare a bowl of food that you enjoy, make yourself comfortable, and get started. This is just an example, different rituals might work for different people. Still, the goal is to create a triggering environment (think Pavlovian reflex) that activates the brain’s work mode. After a while, each time that you prepare the same environment by going through the same steps, your brain will immediately switch to a working mindset. Give it a try!
Every single person in the world procrastinates on occasion. This is natural because the perceptions and information we need to process in a day are a thousand times more demanding than what they were just a few years ago. It is essential, though, to avoid punishing yourself for small transgressions. These feelings only make your life more difficult by adding unnecessary stress. Instead, focus on planning your tasks better and try some of our tips.