10 Practical Ways to Prevent Procrastination
Published on: 2017-01-25 06:41:46
Ever find yourself incessantly checking emails and social media, tirelessly watching videos or endlessly surfing blogs and forums while your assignment deadlines are looming? You know that you should be focusing on your projects, but you don’t feel like doing anything.
Procrastination is something that we all are familiar with. When we procrastinate, we waste our free time and postpone important tasks we should be working on. Soon enough our time has run out, we start to panic and wish we started putting in the effort earlier.
It has been found that some people spend years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying important tasks and facing work only when it’s unavoidable. It is a bad habit that wastes our time on unproductive things and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.
Don’t allow procrastination take over your life. Below are some tips which will not only help you to overcome procrastination but also facilitate increased productivity and thus greater achievement.
- Break down your work:
A reason for procrastination is that, subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming. To make it less intimidating, you should break a task down into smaller sections and focus on one part at a time. If you still find yourself procrastinating on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Applying this method we can make the task much simpler and more manageable. After you’ve broken down the task into smaller phases, focus on the immediate phase and get it done to your best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, move on to the next.
- Change the environment:
Take a look at your work desk and workspace. Does the environment of your room make you want to work or does it make you want to snuggle up and sleep? If it the latter you should consider changing your workspace. Your workspace should make you feel inspired and assist focus. However, an environment that makes us inspired may lose its effect after a period of time. If this occurs, then it’s time to change things up.
- Create a timeline with specific deadlines:
Having a single deadline to a task is like an invitation to procrastination because it allows us to think that we have plenty of time and we delay work until it’s too late. Break down your entire project into smaller tasks like we discussed in tip #1 and assign a specific deadline to each phase. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date and your productivity will reap the benefits. It’s really important for your timeline to be strict; if you do not complete a task by its deadline it will jeopardize the future tasks you have planned. This creates the urgency for you to act. For example, your project can be broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to a daily task list calling for immediate action.
- Get rid of your procrastination pit-stops:
If you find your find yourself procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you are making it too easy for yourself to procrastinate. Yes, I am talking about all those distractions around you, bookmarks that take lots of your time, the social networking websites that aren’t helping your assignments. Shift those bookmarks into a separate folder that is less accessible. Also, disable the automatic notification option for your email and other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Viber. It is also important to understand that procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions rather than counteracting them with harsh restrictions. Some people go out of the way and deactivate their Facebook account which may for some be a little extreme. That being said, if you feel it is necessary, go for it.
- Hang out with people who inspire you to take action:
It’s always helpful to have someone who inspires you to take action or someone who pulls you out of your comfort zone in order to get things done. The people we spend time with influence our behavior so identify the people/friends/colleagues who motivate you, ‘the go-getters and hard workers’ and hang out with them more often. Soon you will be instilled with their drive and spirit.
- Tell others about your goals:
Telling your family and close ones about your projects can be a great way to keep yourself accountable for your plans. For example, you can tell them about the college assignments that you have been doing. Whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about the progress on those assignments and keep you focused on your tasks.
- Find out and connect to someone who has already achieved the outcome:
Find the people who have already accomplished something that you are planning to achieve. Reach out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are achievable if you put in a considerable effort is one of the best triggers for action.
- Re-clarify your goals:
One of the reasons why we procrastinate is the misalignment between what you want to achieve and what you are currently doing. If that’s the case, it might be time to take a step back and review your goals. Often we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we fail to change our goals to reflect that. Get away from your work (a short vacation or weekend away would be effective) and take some time to reorganise yourself.
- Stop over-complicating things:
Perfectionist tendencies can hinder progress rather than promoting it. We often wait for a specific time before starting something important; we think that maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons. Get rid of that thought and start important tasks immediately because there is never a perfect time. You are never going to accomplish anything if you keep waiting for ‘that perfect time’.
- Get a grip and just do it:
In the end, it all comes down to taking action. Nothing will happen unless you take action, no matter how much hypothesizing, planning, and strategising you do. So, whatever it is you are procrastinating, if you want to get your essential tasks done, you need to take control and do it.
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