Terminal procrastination is a common complaint. Although there are important tasks to be completed, other things constantly get in the way. And even when there is enough time, some people just don’t seem able to get on with their work. We have put together 10 tips to help you recover from a debilitating case of procrastination.
Breaking larger projects down into a series of achievable stages is a step in the right direction to beating procrastination. Just don’t fall into the trap of going too far and spending all your time planning and not doing. Avoid counterproductivity and set a reasonable time limit for the planning phase.
Procrastination is all in your head. If you want to beat it, you need to adopt the right psychology. Make a deal with yourself that baby steps in the right direction are perfectly acceptable as long as you keep moving. Beating procrastination doesn’t mean you have to do everything in one day.
Following on from tip number 2, you should not forget to reward yourself in an appropriate fashion for your successes. In this way, you ensure that you take the needed time off as well as giving yourself a healthy pat on the shoulder. A note of caution: With this tip, it is important to keep things in perspective. Getting half a day’s work done does not justify taking the next two weeks off.
It is a common strategy. In order to make getting going easier, people tend to start with the easier tasks. It can be highly effective but there is a big disadvantage: Difficult jobs are constantly pushed to the bottom of the pile. Our advice, therefore, is to start with the less pleasant tasks and leave the easy jobs for later. The advantage of this approach: You create a positive mood because you have something easy to look forward to. You aren’t burdened by a feeling of dread at the unpleasant work still ahead of you.
“I’ll just quickly check Facebook”. If this is you, then you probably recognize the problem. Before you know it, a quick break has turned into a half-hour social media session and you are way behind with your work. Dealing with this problem requires you to take positive action! You could turn off your mobile phone or set it to flight mode so that you are not distracted by notifications. You can block or set a time limit for distracting websites on your desktop.
If you have days when you feel particularly productive, make sure they aren’t wasted! If you feel like you are on a roll, then you should keep going as long as you can. Use the productive phase to get as much done as possible and leave less work for you to procrastinate over another day.
Knocking procrastination on the head may be essential but it is not a guarantee of success. Even the most diligent workers amongst us can find their concentration slipping. That is why it is important to take regular breaks from work. There is no need to feel bad about taking a break. Take the time to switch off completely so that you can return to work refreshed and give it 100%. An effective use of break time is to take a short walk in the fresh air.
The reason why people procrastinate is often because they have too much time to do the work. If there is no one cracking the whip, then there is no reason to get on with things and they end up dreaming their time away. Fortunately, there is an easy trick to get around this particular problem. Set your own deadlines! This way you stay in control of your workload and can avoid wasting time.
If you find yourself struggling to stick to your own deadlines, you could try involving your friends or family in your work and your schedule. For example, if you have promised to present the introduction to your thesis to your parents at the weekend, then you have automatically put yourself under a very different kind of pressure. After all, you don’t want to disappoint them.
Even if you are a chronic procrastinator, you should try at least once to get a piece of work finished before the actual deadline. Only by experiencing how this feels first hand will you be able to tell if the effort is worth it. If that is the case, then it is far more likely that you will get to grips with your work earlier rather than later.