Procrastination, or the tendency to postpone tasks to a later date, gives a great sense of satisfaction. The pleasure, however, is only short-lived. Left unchecked, procrastination can turn into a self-sabotaging habit that can ruin your career as well as your relationships and life in general.
So, be aware of the habit and take steps to overcome it before it starts controlling you.
Here are 11 tips to beat procrastination.
Motivate Yourself through Goal-Setting
Often, an underlying cause of procrastination is a sense of being without any direction. Procrastination can easily be beaten with self-motivation and a sense of purpose.
Goal-setting gives you a sense of purpose and clarity about the direction you need to take to get things done. With your goals in place, you’ll be well-motivated to reach them.
For the best results, break your goals into manageable chunks of tasks and then work on them.
Think about the Rewards of Overcoming Procrastination
Motivating yourself daily can be hard and hence, finding easy ways to keep yourself can be of a big help.
One easy source of motivation to beat procrastination is to think about how you can benefit from overcoming it. To do this, it is important to first understand how procrastination is affecting your career or life.
For example, if postponing tasks at work is making you anxious when you are nearing deadlines, realise that it is translating into increased stress for you. Such continuous delays can make you look unprofessional at work.
The rewards of beating procrastination in the above case are many. You can reduce your stress, increase performance, earn a good name at work and have more time for life. Definitely worth it!
Try a New Setting
Sometimes, boredom and even the nature of the environment you work in or live in can compel you to procrastinate. Ask yourself if is really the task or the environment that is making you think of postponing the work.
If it is the latter, then consider changing your environment to an inspiring one.
Note that an environment that was once inspiring may turn boring over time. If you identify that to be the case, then move to a new environment quickly.
Follow a Routine
A routine keeps you on your toes for the next task giving you no time to think about procrastinating. Create a routine detailing tasks and deadlines for each. Stick to the routine daily, get your work done and beat procrastination in the process.
Do the Most Unpleasant Tasks First
It can be tempting to put off tasks that you don’t like doing to a later time or date. But, as the time or date approaches, you’ll find it more difficult than ever to complete the task. So, it is always best to complete unpleasant tasks first instead of postponing them.
Mornings are the most energetic time for many. If you are one of them, get that annoying work done first thing in the morning. If the task is too large to handle at once, break it into smaller tasks and work on each every day.
Doing so constantly eliminates your fear, if any, of unpleasant tasks and raises your confidence in dealing with unpleasant jobs. With practice, you’ll be able to complete even the most annoying of tasks with confidence and without compromising quality.
Identify Distractions and Eliminate Them
Sometimes, easy access to distractions can make it easy for you to procrastinate. Identify such distractions and remove them. For example, if you have bookmarked some websites and find yourself spending more time than necessary on such websites, remove the bookmarks.
Similarly, if you see yourself visiting social media constantly, then remove the app immediately. If you are procrastinating excessively because of your social media behaviour, deactivate or better yet, delete them.
Use the 5-Second Rule
Start a task within 5 seconds to avoid procrastination from overtaking you. When you delay beginning a task, your mind tricks you into making excuses to veer you away from the task.
Alternatively, when you start the task within 5 seconds, it is more likely that the seconds turn into minutes or even hours. And before you even realise, you would have completed the task.
Reward Yourself Each Time You Beat Procrastination
An incentive is always a great motivator. Give yourself something you enjoy as a reward for completing a task without procrastinating. This could be more minutes of your favourite web series, extra playtime with the kids, dinner at a restaurant, or a new purchase.
The enjoyment and pleasure that you derive from rewarding yourself will surely be with you, which makes the experience all the more satisfying.
This will motivate you to keep repeating the experience, which means you are more likely to complete your tasks sooner without procrastinating them.
Mingle with Like-Minded People
Hang out with people who are positive, active, and are taking concrete steps to tackle procrastination if they too are battling it. Such people can inspire you with their achievements, or at least, support you in the battle with procrastination. You can also learn new strategies for tackling procrastination from them.
Make Yourself Accountable
By sharing your goals with others, you are making yourself accountable. When you declare your goals, people tend to enquire about the status of your goals, which is more than likely to compel you to work towards them.
Stop Being a Perfectionist
Last, but not the least, trying to be perfect is one of the commonest reasons for procrastination. When you are a perfectionist, you want everything to be perfect, right from the time you start your task to dealing with the minute details of the task. You tend to become dissatisfied with the outcome even if it deviates a little from your vision of the “perfect output”.
Over time, this tendency to be perfect can become an obsession and make every task intimidating and challenging for you.
Instead, give every task the time and effort that’s necessary and move on. Avoid complicating things.
All said and done, it is important to realise that no one has ever succeeded by procrastinating. Whether you want a promotion, make a name for yourself, make more money or stay healthy, procrastination will not help you achieve it.
It is better to get down to action and get the work done to own your success.