Six Tips To Avoid Procrastination
I think it’s fair to say that everyone has experienced some sort of procrastination in their life—whether it was with a project for work, starting a new business, or even just scheduling a doctor’s appointment. It can be easy to push off doing certain things, sometimes too easy. But the real question is why do we do it? If we know that we have to accomplish a particular task by a certain date, why is it easier to continue pushing it off rather than just getting it done. It is normal to procrastinate, but at what point does it become a problem?
Long term procrastination can lead to a lot of different issues, specifically anxiety but it also can lead to depression, low mood, low self esteem, poor sleep, and more. That being said why do we do it? In this week’s blog, we are going to talk about six ways that you can beat procrastination and, in the end, be a more productive and less stressed person.
Know that being done is better than perfect:
More often than not, we focus too much on perfection rather than getting the task done itself. We drive ourselves crazy trying to hand in work that is completely perfect and that in turn evolves into work being handed in late. This is not to say hand in work that is a poor representation of your ability, it is more to say not to stress over ironing out every kink when that may be unattainable.
Break your tasks down into smaller actionable steps:
Breaking down your tasks into more manageable pieces is one of the easiest ways to avoid procrastination. One of the best way to do this is to tell yourself that you will sit down and do at least 5 minutes of work at a time. Grab a timer and set it for 5 minutes, more often then not you will want to continue to keep working following the conclusion of those 5 minutes. Then just keep repeating this process until your task is complete. The only down side to this method is that you need to start this process earlier rather than later because if you truly only work for 5 minutes, though uncommon, you will need more time to finish your project.
Be kind to yourself-forgive yourself for not starting sooner:
The vicious cycle of procrastination usually always ends in being upset due to the feeling of regret for not starting sooner. However, this negative self talk is never good for anyone. So be gentle with yourself and realize that you do not need to be perfect all the time and that it is okay to give yourself some slack when it comes to finishing tasks later.
Just do it—the longer we build it up in our head, the harder to start:
There is a good rule of thumb called the 5 second rule. It can be used in cases of procrastination or just in everyday life tasks. The rule goes as follows, “once you think about doing something you have 5 seconds to get up and start doing it.” This is because all it takes is more than 5 seconds for your brain to start convincing yourself out of a task. Therefore, if you think about starting a project, get up and do it within 5 seconds.
De-clutter your workspace:
It is hard to work in a place that has a lot of clutter. There is a saying that goes, “a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind” and I believe that to be completely true. It is so hard to get work done if your desk is a mess or even if you have too much stuff open on your computer. Cluttered space can also lead to easier distractions when trying to get work done. Therefore, prior to you starting a task consider tidying up your space and see how much more work you actually get done.
Put it on the calendar:
Placing things on a calendar allows you to feel more accountable and organized. This is because you have specifically carved out time in your schedule to complete this task and you know that you have nothing else to do. Time blocking is an especially good way to be sure you get tasks done, but it takes a lot of discipline. When doing this method, your entire day will be planned out from your mornings to your nights. While this method does take discipline, it is also important to be patient if your schedule does not always stay on track because, well, life happens.
These are just a few tips and tricks to beating procrastination, however it all depends on your self discipline. You can receive all the advice on how to do it, but in the end it comes down to you. The best advice is to start focusing on your “why.” Ask yourself, why am I doing this? Why is it important? Once you get the answers, create a mindset and plan of action that involves any and all of these tips.