Procrastination is a dreaded thing and people talk about it, listen about it, read about it or tell someone else about it. Almost daily, what I can think of.
We hate procrastination, we are aware of when we procrastinate, but we still do it. You have been a victim of procrastination multiple times in your life. I have also been a victim myself.
If you are unnecessarily delaying your decisions or actions, you are affected by procrastination.
If you are a student, you delay studying until an exam approaches. You delay assignments until the end date is very near.
If you are an employee, you delay important and bigger tasks and give priority to smaller tasks first. Your inner voice reminds you multiple times that if you don’t complete the important tasks on time, you will be answerable. But you still procrastinate for no apparent reasons.
Procrastination comes between us and our success. It doesn’t want us to pursue our goals and achieve them.
Procrastination just wants us to choose easy things and avoid hard things in life. Hard things or decisions that can change our life for the better.
Procrastination is attacking us when we start postponing or delaying something that needs to be done.
A perfect method for adding drama to life is to wait until the deadline looms large.— Alyce Cornyn -Selby
If we make Procrastination a habit it becomes a problem. How do you know that you have made procrastination a habit? When you start missing deadlines, do poor quality work, and receive negative feedback from others.
Procrastination can have negative effects on our mental and physical health, as it causes a lot of stress and anxiety. We start feeling guilty or ashamed when we are not able to complete our tasks on time, or when we put them off. This can further contribute to stress and anxiety.
The problem with procrastination is that it can prevent you from achieving your goals and can even hurt your reputation in personal and professional settings.
So, it’s important to take steps to eliminate procrastination and develop good habits that help you stay on track and meet your obligations. Here are some practical steps to overcome or eliminate procrastination:
First you need to understand what are the root causes of procrastination. Why are you procrastinating less or more?
There could be many reasons. Some of them are:
Back-off from your daily routine a bit and give yourself time to think. Identify the underlying reasons for procrastination, address them, and start to make changes.
Analyse what you would lose or what price you would pay if you procrastinate. Think about the amazing results that you will get if you win over procrastination.
To set clear and specific goals it is necessary to define what you want to accomplish. Research about them and describe them in as much detail as you can.
Don’t set unclear or vague goals, make them measurable.
For example, a person who doesn’t generally do push-ups, but he or she wants to start it from the next day. Setting a goal of doing some push-ups will be an unclear goal. Setting a goal of doing100 pushups a day within a week would be unrealistic. Start with a specific goal like 10 pushups a day and gradually increase the number as your stamina increases.
When you break down your goals into specific and measurable objectives, it becomes easier for you to measure the progress. And as the progress goes in the right direction, you stay motivated.
Another benefit of setting clear and specific goals is that you get an idea about which tasks have more priority and which have less. When you have a lot of tasks, it can be overwhelming to decide what to work on first. But when you prioritise your tasks, you know what is most important and urgent.
A productive environment is clean, organised and distraction free. Your workspace should be in a quiet spot. Add elements in your workspace like indoor plants, flowers, etc. that soothe your mood and remove elements that distract you.
If it’s possible, let the natural light come into your work environment. According to research done by Eco Business, natural light helps in learning, thinking and productivity.
You may love your phone very much, but it distracts us and asks for our attention now and then. This may result in poor productivity. So put your phone away. If it is not possible, turn off all your notifications. Close all the unnecessary tabs on your laptop/computer or take your most important work to a new window. You can also use noise-cancelling headphones to block out any external noise.
Set boundaries with your co-workers, friends and family members, and let them know when you work and when you are free.
Have enough water and healthy snacks nearby you so you don’t take frequent breaks to drink or eat.
By creating an environment that is good for work, you can eliminate procrastination and stay on task.
When you procrastinate, what goes through your mind? What thoughts are you telling yourself, or what is your mind telling you? You must have a story for your procrastination.
They may be something like “This project/task is so big, how will I be able to complete this?”, “My energy levels are low and I’m too tired to start it right now”, or “My motivation is not high enough”.
Such self-talks lead to procrastination. Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Focus on positive outcomes.
For example, you might say to yourself, “I can do this if I take it one step at a time”, “I’ll feel happy and motivated when I complete this task”, or “I’ve accomplished similar tasks before, and I can do it again”. You get an idea. This type of positive self-talk can help you feel more confident, motivated, and capable of completing the task at hand.
There is another way, you can create a mantra or affirmation that you repeat to yourself when you feel overwhelmed or unmotivated. For example, you might say, “I am capable and focused”, or “I am committed to my goals and will not give up”. Repeating this type of affirmation can help you stay focused and motivated, even when you’re feeling discouraged.
When you have a list of tasks to complete, you may tempt towards choosing the easier or most enjoyable tasks first to build the momentum.
However, this approach can backfire if you end up using that momentum to procrastinate on the more challenging tasks. Instead, try starting with the task that you’re dreading the most or that will have the biggest impact on your goals.
By starting with the most challenging or difficult task, you come of the fear that often comes with procrastination.
Another benefit of starting with the most difficult tasks is that you can get better at time management. When you spend too much time on easier tasks, you may find later that you don’t have enough time or energy to complete the important tasks. By prioritising the challenging tasks, you can ensure that you have enough time and energy to complete them properly.
So eliminate procrastination by starting with the task that you fear most, which will lead you to be more productive. And feel a sense of achievement.
If you are struggling with self-discipline, this approach is for you. It involves finding someone who hold you accountable for completing your tasks.
If you don’t complete them, you are answerable to that person. The person will remind you about your accountability.
This person can be a friend, family member, or coworker. You can even take help of a mentor or a professional coach. Ask them to check in with you to see how you are progressing. When you know that someone is watching over you and tracking your progress, you can feel more motivated to stay on track and avoid procrastination.
Another way to use accountability is to join a group or community. A community of like-minded people who are working towards similar goals.
This could be a study group, a fitness class, or an online forum. By sharing your progress with others and seeing their progress, you can create a sense of community and motivation that can help you overcome procrastination.
Using accountability is an effective way to avoid procrastination. So check it out and see if it works for you.
The Pomodoro technique is a practical and popular time management technique to eliminate procrastination.
In this technique, you break down your work into small, focused intervals of time. The technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing completely on one task during that time. No distractions or switching to another task at all. After the 25 minutes are up, you take a short break of 5-10 minutes before starting the next Pomodoro cycle. After four Pomodoro cycles, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes before starting the process over again.
The Pomodoro technique is effective because it helps you stay focused. When you break down your work in a small interval, you give your brain a break and avoid burnout. Plus, knowing that you only have to focus for 25 minutes at a time can make tasks seem less daunting and more manageable.
To manage the time intervals, use a kitchen timer or a Pomodoro app. Set the time for 25 minutes and start the work. When the timer goes off, take a short break and start again.
The Pomodoro technique can be used for any type of task like working on a project, studying for exams, shooting a Youtube video, or writing a blog. You can also customise this technique to fit your needs. For example, you can adjust the length of the Pomodoro cycle or the length of the breaks to fit your work style.
Give it a try and see how it can work for you!
As you have already understood this system, I’ll still throw my thoughts here.
In this system, you set a goal for yourself. Your goal could be anything like a task that you need to complete, or finishing a project. After setting up your goal, you choose a reward that you’ll give yourself for completing it. This could be something as simple as a favourite snack, or something more substantial like a night out with friends or family to your favourite restaurant.
If you want the reward system to work for you, choose a reward that you truly want and make sure you will only get it after completing the task or goal. This will create a sense of anticipation and motivation that can help you overcome procrastination and stay on track.
There is another useful way to use a reward system. First, break a larger goal or project into smaller and manageable tasks. Then, offer yourself a reward for completing each one. For example, if you’re working on a large project, you could offer yourself a reward for completing each section or milestone.
It’s important to be realistic with your reward system. Make sure you have chosen a reward that is achievable and that you can realistically give yourself.
There is no point choosing a difficult reward or too costly as you may end up losing motivation.
Your mind is great in visualising things or scenarios. So, why do you not use it to eliminate procrastination?
Visualising the end result is a powerful tool and it can help you start a task and stay focused on it.
In this method, visualize how you will feel when you complete a task or achieve your goal. Create a mental picture of what you want to achieve. Be as much specific as you can. As in your visualisation you see yourself feeling happy on completing a task, it will help you to overcome any feelings of procrastination or lack of motivation.
For example, if you are working on a project, imagine how you will feel once it is finished and how proud you will be of yourself for completing it. If you have setup a Youtube channel and are working on scripts or shooting videos, imagine how you will feel when you upload your videos on the channel and they garner praises or appreciation from your audience.
Visualising the end result can help you in creating a roadmap for achieving your goal and help you stay motivated.
There is an important couplet in India that we have read many times, heard many times or somebody has told us many times, which is:
“Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ab. Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karega Kab!”
(Finish tomorrow’s tasks today. Finish today’s tasks right now. If the moment is lost, when will you get it done.)
Action will destroy your procrastination— Og Mandino
So, take a few deep breaths and talk to yourself straight and say “Just Do It Now”. It is the best thing you can say to your mind and force yourself to take action.
Don’t think about any reason. Don’t think about any excuses. Don’t think about people and the environment. As soon as you learn that there is an important task or goal to be done, immediately start working on it. The more time you give to your mind, the more it will play with you. You’ll be drowned by your inner voices.
Thinking of running? Do it now. Thinking of reading a book? Do it now. Thinking of working on a blog? Do it now. Thinking of working on an important task delivery? Do it now.
Just do it! Now.
In conclusion, We have discussed several ways to eliminate procrastination and stay focused on our tasks.
It’s important to understand that what works for one person may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the strategies that work best for you. So don’t give up and keep trying different techniques until you find what works best for you.
Remember, it takes time and effort to overcome procrastination, but it’s worth it in the end.
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