All of us procrastinate. Its inevitable. You can have a lot to achieve in a day, and you have all the tools and resources together, but somehow, at the end of your day, you still find that you achieved nothing. The reason; PROCRASTINATION.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination has been defined as “the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline. It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite knowing it might have negative consequences.”
According to an article on Thrive Global by Camille Preston, a speaker, author and renowned coach, procrastination can affect your mental health, physical health as well as your workplace performance, success and satisfaction.
So then, how can you stop procrastination and step up your productivity?
Here are 5 tips on how to stop procrastination that can help you break out of paralysis and start producing at your peak.
Plan out your entire day the night before
The best decision you can make towards avoiding procrastination is to plan your days in advance.
Rather than trying to figure out what you’ll do on any given day, a better way to approach your day would be to take a few minutes at the end of each day to quickly map out the following day.
For example, every night, before going to bed, write-down your plan for the next day. This plan should have a well-planned out day, hour by hour so that you can take full control of the day to maximize your productivity.
Avoid making decisions of what to do on the actual day. Every decision we make takes up time and energy and that is what leads to procrastination.
Therefore, stop procrastination by reducing the number of decisions you need to make during a given day by making those decisions ahead of time and prevent them from draining your energy by thinking about whether to do them or not.
Create only a few key goals for the day
Make only 2 or 3 key things you need to do during the day. Being productive does not mean being busy with a lot of tasks. It means being able to achieve a certain important goal within a certain time frame. If you fill your to-do list with a lot of tasks, the list not only intimidates you but you also get the urge to just tick off items from the list. This will result in you going for the least important but easy to do tasks just so you can check them off and get a feeling of being productive when in actual sense, you are not achieving much.
It is better to have only 2-3 big goals and execute them to the finish. In that way, you are not intimidated by your list and so you don’t procrastinate.
Include breaks in your day
It is also very important to include breaks in your day. It is not possible to work the entire day hence plan your breaks. Squeeze in some time not only for tea break and main meals, but also for just scrolling through social media or taking a walk. This will make you productive because it refreshes your brain. You then stop procrastinating because you know that a time for rest will come.
Get rid of distractions from your environment
Remove all the distractions that trigger your procrastination-habits in the first place.
If you can’t work with a TV on, switch it off. If your mobile phone disturbs you, put it away or put it on silent mode so you don’t hear notifications of texts and emails.
In order to stop procrastination, you need to be disciplined and focused. Postpone all your leisure activities to later and create an environment and ambience that screams…Get to work!
Promise yourself a reward
Promise to give yourself a reward every time to complete a day of work successfully. This could be watching your favourite show, eating a slice of cake, a cup of coffee or whatever makes you happy. Just make sure you do it so that your mind can enjoy the rewards of finishing a task or tasks.
Focus on the “long game”
Attach importance to every task you have to do. If you are procrastinating because you find a task unpleasant, try to focus on the “long game”. For example, if you are a writer, and you have committed yourself to writing 10 pages in a day, try to imagine what NOT writing 10 pages in a day will look like after 10 days. If you write only 2 pages because of procrastinating, at the end of 10 days, you would have only achieved “2 days’ work” only in a 10 day time frame. This can result into frustration and loss of motivation.
Motivate yourself and seize the day
Start with listening to some motivation every day, maybe a song, podcast or whatever boosts your motivation for as little as 10 minutes in a day. This helps you to get pumped and helps your mind achieve more and more during the day.
Audit your day
At the end of your day, audit yourself and see how much you achieved. If you did not complete your tasks due to procrastination, determine what caused you to procrastinate so that you do not repeat the same mistakes. If you achieved everything, study the exact methods that made your plan work so that you can recreate it for the following days.
If you follow these suggestions, you will be sure to beat the habit of procrastination and achieve your goals.