12 Jul 5 Strategies to Beat Procrastination
Everyone procrastinates. Whether it be homework assignments, work tasks, cleaning your room or apartment, running an errand, washing the dishes or even just getting into bed, at one time or another, we have all said to ourselves “I can do it later.” While procrastination may be harmless at times, the habit of pushing things off can also have detrimental consequences. Lack of productivity can elicit feelings of guilt and inadequacy. It can contribute to poor performance at school or at work. We can even forget about a task all together if we procrastinate long enough.
Those who struggle with procrastination (like I do) know it’s never something you feel good about. And while it is a habit that is hard to break, here are 5 effective strategies for fighting procrastination and increasing productivity.
1. Make To-Do Lists and Prioritize
Writing your tasks down on paper, in your Notes app on your phone or in a document on your computer can be beneficial for several reasons. It helps you to organize and remember your tasks, instead of trying to keep track of everything in your head. It can also support in making tasks feel more accomplishable.
Once you have identified all your tasks or goals, think about which are most pressing. Does anything have a due date? Will there be bigger rewards for completing something sooner rather than later? Or will there be significant consequences for not finishing a task ASAP? Prioritizing can reduce feeling overwhelmed and also limit the potential for spending time on less important things.
2. Break Down Tasks
Sometimes your identified tasks or goals can be daunting. The thoughts about where to begin can make you feel overwhelmed, which leads to putting off your tasks all together. A great strategy for making tasks and goals seem more approachable, is to break them down into smaller tasks and goals. Motivation and drive will build as you start to experience success for completing each of the smaller steps.
3. Identify Distractions
Awareness of what typically distracts you and takes you off task is important. This awareness will help you be mindful and identify ways to avoid or eliminate these distractions all together. For example, if you are often distracted by your phone, texting, or social media, put your phone in a drawer or in another room while you are engaging in the task. If you are often distracted by others talking around you in the office or at the library, use earplugs or headphones.
When you are feeling stuck, think about what it will look and feel like to complete the task or goal. Visualize the final product. The anticipated feelings of relief and accomplishment often increase motivation.
5. Opposite Action
Sometimes you may find yourself feeling more down than usual, having less energy and are completely unmotivated. Those are the times when procrastination kicks in the most because you just simply don’t want to do anything. In these moments, the best way to fight procrastination is to do the complete opposite of what you want or feel. This isn’t easy and takes a lot of willpower. Taking that step and forcing yourself to pick a task and complete it will hopefully improve your overall state of mind and lead to further productivity.
Remember, once a procrastinator, NOT always a procrastinator! There are things you can do to fight procrastination, feel more motivated and live a more productive lifestyle. The results will be rewarding!
Authored by: Jessica Oppenheimer