Many of us struggle with procrastination, whether putting off tasks we don't want to do or wasting time when we should be doing more productive things. It can be hard to stay motivated and on-task – especially amid a pandemic! – but it’s not impossible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by procrastination, this blog post is for you: here are seven easy ways that anyone can start using today to conquer their procrastination for good!
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What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the voluntary delay of an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. In short, it's putting off what you should be doing in favor of something less important or more enjoyable. This can lead to serious consequences like poor academic performance, low work productivity, and even health issues. It’s important to recognize procrastination for what it is and take active steps to overcome it.
We all procrastinate occasionally, but some people are likelier to do it. Those most prone to procrastination tend to be perfectionists and those with low self-esteem or poor self-discipline. People who are impulsive or easily bored are also more likely to procrastinate. In addition, those with ADHD and other mental health struggles may find it difficult to focus on tasks and stay on important tasks. External factors like a hectic work schedule or an uninspiring environment can lead to procrastination. No matter the underlying cause, procrastination can be addressed with the right techniques. Procrastinators often have difficulty setting goals, managing time, focusing on tasks, and dealing with stress.
7 Ways to Overcome Procrastination
Improve self-regulation ability and beliefs
Start by setting realistic goals and breaking them down into achievable chunks. Use a planner or calendar to help organize tasks, set deadlines, and write daily to-dos. Try to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings while working on smaller tasks, take breaks when needed, and focus on the present moment.
Cultivate positive self-talk and praise yourself for completing tasks on time. To help stay focused when working, create an environment conducive to productivity by minimizing distractions such as noise or clutter. Practice mindfulness techniques like breathing exercises or yoga to reduce stress and become more aware of your emotions.
Drop the perfectionism
Perfectionists tend to become overly focused on small details, making starting or finishing tasks difficult. Instead, you can focus on doing your best job with what you have and create reasonable goals. Aiming too high can be overwhelming and discouraging. Break big tasks into smaller ones, and remember that it’s okay if the final result is imperfect.
Please keep in mind your triggers and practice techniques to manage them. For example, if you procrastinate for fear of failure or lack motivation, try positive self-talk or reward yourself for completing small tasks. If you are constantly distracted, try to work in a quieter space or set time limits for specific tasks.
One of the most important steps to overcoming procrastination is to forgive yourself. Getting down on yourself for putting things off is easy, but it isn't productive or healthy. Instead, focus on understanding why you procrastinated and what you can do differently in the future.
Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that you can make a change. It may help to write down all the positive things about yourself and remember that you can do better next time. Appreciate how far you've come and what you've already accomplished. All these steps can help cultivate an attitude of self-forgiveness and understanding.
If you’re working from home, turn off the TV or unplug your phone and place it in a different room. Limit yourself to checking emails and other digital notifications once every few hours instead of constantly throughout the day. Disconnecting from social media can also help you stay on particular task. Additionally, break down big tasks into manageable chunks and set realistic goals with specific deadlines that can be tracked or measured. This will help keep you motivated and focused. Plan for breaks between work sessions to give your brain a much-needed rest.
Optimize your environment
Creating a productive environment is essential for overcoming procrastination. Start by removing distractions and clutter from the area where you plan to work. If possible, ensure the room or space you choose has plenty of natural light, is comfortable, and is equipped with any necessary tools or equipment.
Consider using noise-cancelling headphones or incorporating background music to help you focus. Make sure your workspace is well-ventilated and designed with ergonomics in mind. Optimizing your environment can create an atmosphere that facilitates productivity and helps you stay on task.
Bring Your Expectations Down a Level
The key for those prone to procrastination is to break down tasks into small manageable portions. Start by setting realistic expectations and rewarding yourself when you accomplish something. Give yourself enough time for each task to avoid feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Having a friend or colleague that can hold you accountable can also be instrumental.
Do the task for just a few minutes:
One way to beat procrastination is to commit to working on a task for just a few minutes. This can help break the cycle of self-doubt and inaction that often leads to procrastination. Start with something small, like reading through an assignment or writing out the main points of a project. A short burst of activity can give you the momentum to tackle the rest of the task. Setting a timer for a few minutes can help keep you focused and motivate you to keep going until the time is up. Consistently working on tasks in this way can help with time management, goal setting and staying organized — all key skills for beating procrastination.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
How can students avoid procrastination?
Students can use a few tips and tricks to help avoid procrastination. Planning is key – setting and breaking down goals into small, achievable tasks will help create timelines and keep you on track and don't lose track. Additionally, being realistic with yourself and avoiding taking on too much at once can be beneficial. It’s important to give yourself a break – either through physical activities like exercise or taking time to relax. Finding an accountability partner can help keep you focused and motivated.
How do I stop procrastinating my fear?
The best way to stop procrastinating your fear to face it head-on. Make a plan for tackling the task making you anxious, and break it down into manageable chunks or break free from it. Ask friends or family members to help provide support and accountability while you work through it. If necessary, find professionals who can help guide you through the process. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that make you feel calm and relaxed.
What are the dangers of procrastination?
Procrastination can have several dangerous consequences. It can lead to missing deadlines, lower quality of work, increased stress and anxiety, decreased self-confidence and feelings of guilt or shame. In addition, we need more time to achieve our goals and aspirations. Long-term procrastination may cause serious psychological damage, such as depression, anxiety, and self-doubt. Therefore, it is important to address procrastination to prevent these dangerous consequences