Procrastination is one of those things that even the most well-organized and punctual fall victim to at some point or another. Too often, we find ourselves procrastinating when we know we shouldn’t. Follow these tips below on how you can finally tackle your struggle on how to stop procrastinating once and for all!
If you find yourself putting things off indefinitely, or switching focus because you want to avoid doing something, then you are probably in fact, procrastinating.
Developing a schedule, carefully planning tasks, and improving time-management skills are all effective ways to cope with procrastination. Here’s how to and not let procrastination consume you.
Step 1: Determine Your Reasons for Procrastinating
If you want to successfully solve your procrastination problem, it’s important to first understand the exact nature of the problem that you’re dealing with/avoiding.
First, you need to understand the reasons why you are procrastinating before you can begin to tackle them.
Specifically, there are 3 main factors that you should consider when assessing the nature of your procrastination:
- When you procrastinate?
– This involves asking yourself in what situations do you procrastinate?
– i.e. Do you struggle to finish tasks after you’ve started them or do you struggle to get started in the first place?
- How you procrastinate?
– This involves asking yourself what you do when you’re procrastinating?
– i.e. Do you browse social media, play video games, go out with friends or find small and unimportant tasks to complete?
- Why you procrastinate?
– This involves asking yourself what’s causing you to procrastinate?
– i.e. Do you constantly find yourself being distracted? Or do you sometimes feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know how to get started?
It’s difficult to change our habits. Accepting that it’s hard work can go a long way towards your willingness to do it. Taking the first step is always the hardest thing to do.
Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future (tomorrow), but it values immediate gratification when it comes to present moment (today).
Think long-term. Have a goal in mind you are always striving towards.
Step 2: Don’t Mix Your Areas
Different environments have different impacts on our productivity
Think about the conditions you work best in, then aim to create those environments for yourself.
It can be very hard for our brain and body to snap into work mode when doing work in areas you would normally relax, such as your bed.
If you find that you’re more likely to procrastinate on your work when you try to get it done in a certain location, then go somewhere else when you want to work.
For example, if you can’t bring yourself to stop procrastinating when you’re trying to work on the computer in your room, then go to the library or to a coffee shop and work there instead.
This is especially important when it comes to separating the areas when you work from the areas where you conduct other functions of your life, such as playing, resting, or eating, since having a location which is dedicated exclusively to work can help make it easier for you to switch into “work mode” when you need to get things done.
Step 3: Creating Smaller Task Lists
A part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us to even begin tackling.
First, start off with breaking your main goal into smaller, more achievable parts, then focus on completing one task at a time.
For example, I’m currently creating a website, doing so at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming when you are first starting off. However, when I break it down into phases such as –
- (1) Domain creation
- (2) Website design
- (3) Content outline
- (4) Composing articles
- (5) SEO optimization
- (6) Revision
- (7) etc.
Suddenly it seems very manageable.
What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.
Step 4: Set Deadlines for Yourself
Setting deadlines for yourself can help reduce the likelihood that you will procrastinate, since deadlines serve as a commitment device, which helps you plan ahead and motivate yourself.
A good way to achieve this is to create a series of minor deadlines which correspond to each of the steps that you need to complete along the path to your main end goals, instead of having just a single deadline at the end for the entire task.
This means that you should set proximal goals for yourself. These are small goals that you strive to achieve while working toward your ultimate goal.
Step 5: Take Regular and Consistent Breaks
It’s important to take mental breathers from being in the constant state of work and concentration mode.
This is the time to relax and refocus your mind and attention.
In addition to taking regular breaks, what you do with each break plays a vital role in your journey to stop procrastinating once and for all.
Positive Study Break Activities:
- Taking a walk
– Moving your body helps blood flow, which is going to help reenergize you
– Any form of exercise will be beneficial to your physical and mental well-being.
– Chances are, you are more likely to be working in the same position for hours on end. Taking some time to stretch will help to alleviate your body’s built-up tension.
- Taking a Shower
– Everyone feels invigorated when they are fresh out of the shower, this will help revitalize and refresh your body and mind.
– Focus on some breathing exercises, which can really revive and stimulate the mind so that it’s ready to absorb more information.
Negative Study Break Activities
- Surfing the Web
– These activities don’t aid efficiency, they can actually hinder or make you feel more tired than you are
- Excessive Caffeine
– too much caffeine has adverse effects leading you to crash
As humans, we are only capable of focusing for about 30-45 minutes at a time. In order to reach maximum productivity potential, you will need to take short breaks accordingly.
It’s important to choose the right type of activity for your study break so that you can return back to work, feeling refreshed and focused.
Step 6: Reward Your Progress
Everyone loves being rewarded.
It’s important to give yourself incentives, no matter how small.
It could be something as simple as telling yourself, “If I work on this assignment for an hour, I’ll watch an episode of my favorite TV show tonight.”
It’s easier to pay attention when something is at stake.
No matter what the tasks are, we need to reward all of the steps big or small when we achieve something that helps us towards our goals!
Learning how to stop procrastinating is never going to be easy. Nothing good ever comes easy but it helps to be mindful on why you started this journey and what goals you are ultimately trying to achieve in the end.
We hope that by implementing some of these simple tips, your journey on how to stop procrastinating will be made a little bit easier.
…even if it didn’t at least you’re trying, and that deserves some credit!