We’re all guilty of doing it, more often than we’d like to admit. Procrastination may not be just about doing a daily task such as cleaning your room or washing the dishes. It may also be putting off important life decisions like whether or not you should join a gym, leave your job, or start a business- the thoughts and decisions are endless.
And if you don’t start learning how to stop putting things off, you’ll have to deal with procrastination your whole life which may harm your relationships, career, and personal health. Therefore, let’s discuss the ways we can beat procrastination so you can start and finish everything you’ve planned in your life.
This post is about the ways to prevent procrastination
Why do we procrastinate?
I’ve never understood why I procrastinate from time to time. Especially with school work, blogging, or even cleaning my home, I never understood why procrastination was such a problem for me. By doing a few research I realized why, for myself, I tend to always procrastinate: I don’t want to feel any negative emotions.
Huh? Feeling negative emotions? That’s right. When we put things off until tomorrow, it just means that we’re looking at the task as a sign of anxiety, stress, or boredom. Therefore, it’s a release of negative emotions.
We all know we need to complete these particular tasks but when we don’t follow through, negative emotions follow along with it. Therefore, procrastination has negative emotions tied to it.
You might find yourself requiring the task to be perfect. Anxiety flows through your mind because you’re thinking of how much the task might daunting for you. You might even desire the task to work out perfectly, hence, you don’t want to fail or feel like a failure. Or, some event (good or bad) occurred that it’s led you to put off the task for later.
You see what I’m saying there?
So, this is the first thing you need to tackle. It won’t be easy but try to figure out what the stress factor is behind your procrastination. It could be fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of not being perfect.
You are your own worst critic.
You judge your flaws and imperfections way too harshly. Yet, studies show that when you forgive yourself for putting things off or not getting things done as perfectly as you would’ve liked, it can actually help fend off procrastination. And most importantly, have realistic goals before you give yourself a hard time.
Sometimes we tend to do more than we’re capable of doing, then we find ourselves overwhelmed because the end result wasn’t anywhere what we had envisioned.
If you’re procrastinating, this post will provide you some tips that I and have acquired from research. Follow these tips to help you avoid procrastination once and for all. It is your choice after all.
The Ways To Prevent Procrastination #1: Turn Burdensome Tasks Into Habits
We all have enough willpower to get about 3 or 4 tasks done each day. Habits use other parts of our brain rather than the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with rational thinking. So, when you train yourself to do something out of habit, rather than look at it as a mundane task, you think about it less, which means you’re using less willpower and applying a more habitual routine.
Things like brushing your teeth or making your bed have all become daily habits that you automatically perform without even considering putting them off. Why not turn your procrastinated tasks into daily habits?
After that, it becomes easier, but you still have to keep yourself motivated and inspired. Beating procrastination is all about taking that first step. So why not ease into it with the awareness that after a certain amount of time, or once I’ve finished this particular task, I can watch videos on YouTube, eat my favorite snack, or something that makes you feel good.
One important thing: make the task pleasant for yourself. If you’re happy, then your brain slowly turns this task into a habit that you look forward to, instead of something you dread daily.
The Ways To Prevent Procrastination #2: Break The Task Into Chunks
Let’s say you need to clean your home, or specifically your kitchen or bedroom. Instead of cleaning out the entire room, clean our your drawer or closet, take a break, then other parts of your room, take a break, then finish off the rest.
Additional tip: Write all your tasks in a journal or planner. Then, write down what you would like to begin with. Break the task into specific chunks, use a tool to help you time your work, then start doing it. The only way to begin a task is by just doing it. You have the will power!
For me, I practically have school and blogging assignments every day, and they overwhelm me sometimes. So what do I do to reduce the overwhelm? I break my task down into smaller chunks. I like to mix both of my tasks so I won’t have to be drilled with one task. I sometimes write out my plan into a journal and follow through with it in small tasks.
Working in 20 to 30-minute increments also helps break down tasks into smaller chunks that are manageable and not so intimidating. Since I mostly work on my laptop, the one app I use instead of my phone is called Be focused in the Apple store. They have the free version and pro version, but the free version works just as fine. My attention span has gotten better since I have been using it.
It’s been difficult for me sometimes, with my focus and all, but I truly recommend using it for your laptop or computer. Being able to see how much I’ve accomplished over time gives me that boost of confidence that I need to keep at it.
The Ways To Prevent Procrastination #3: Remove Distractions
This tip is for everyone but it is specifically for those who, like myself, are in school, blogging, or working from home. If you’re cleaning your home or something related to that, your phone doesn’t have to be put away (if you want to listen to music), but there is still some self-discipline involved to beat procrastination.
Checking your social media or email every 5 minutes isn’t doing you any good. So, once you’ve committed to doing the job, limit distractions by putting your away. It is going to be difficult but you will be on your way of completing your tasks.
The important thing is that you set up a certain time for checking emails or your social media, and once you’ve started your task, you avoid the urge to take a sneak peek. So place your phone away so it won’t be easy to reach for it.
Another serious distraction is multi-tasking. Doing one thing for a certain time than going to another is only going to drain and reduce your productivity time. So even though you’re working more, but you wouldn’t be able to get your task done as fast or efficiently as you want to.
The Ways To Prevent Procrastination #4: Work During The Time You’re Most Productive
We all have certain times during the day when we’re most alert and productive. Some of us are morning people (that’s me even though I’m not a morning person), some work better at night, and some have more energy during the afternoon hours. Find out what your peak hours are and undertake your most difficult tasks then. You’ll find yourself working yourself at maximum capacity.
Whatever time during the day is most productive for you, use these tips above to maximize your time to do your task. As mentioned, I am a morning person. My brain functions really and my energy is high, so I can get things done pretty quickly.
You don’t have to place all your tasks during those peak hours, but use those specific times of day to your advantage.
So don’t delay another of doing your required tasks. It will not be easy but getting started, at the least, is the first step to beating procrastination.
Procrastination is different than being lazy because when you procrastinate, you delay doing something for a more pleasurable task. So why not turn that mundane task you’re dreading into something more fun and enjoyable, and kill off the urge to procrastinate?
The Ways To Prevent Procrastination #5: Think About The End Result
Remember when I said that procrastination results from negative emotion? Though it does, that doesn’t mean that we have to look at our assignments or tasks as overwhelming or burdensome. We all know that if we complete our task, we won’t have to think about them anymore.
So, thinking of the end result may work for you. If you want to start that blog post, finish that class assignment or finally clean your room, think about how you’ll feel in the end when you get it done. Won’t you feel relieved and glad you’ve gotten it done and over with?
Finding myself finishing my task at the last minute is always painful. That’s why, before I began my task, I imagine how I’ll feel when I get it done. Then I feel a bit motivated to get things done, by following the tips from above of course.
There you go! I hope this post has helped you bring to definite ideas on how to beat procrastination once and for all.
Let me in the know in the comments below on the ways you choose to beat procrastination.
Until Next Time,