Stuck at Procrastination Station?
Procrastination is the devil we all know. Hell, it’s probably why you’re reading this blog, right? Don’t feel too ashamed, we’ve all struggled with procrastination – even with a deadline looming around the corner.
Still, admitting that there is a problem is the first step in working past it! This is why we’ve whipped up seven key steps to overcoming procrastination; read on and get back on track!
Stop Punishing Yourself
Admitting to yourself that you have issues with putting off stuff that needs to get done might be the first step, but the very next step is to stop punishing yourself.
Yes, racing to complete a task right before the deadline and having to present an unfinished product might inspire some self-flagellation. Do not let it carry on forever though. There comes a time when you have to stop beating yourself up and actually get up and make some changes.
Besides, punishing yourself is draining and exhausting. Using all your energy up on self-hate just makes it harder to move on.
Look at Why You are Procrastinating
‘Don’t wanna’ isn’t really a valid answer here. You are putting off doing something for a reason, and when you know this reason you can work towards overcoming it.
Procrastination often comes from fear – of failure, of discomfort, of confronting something – or from being overwhelmed. There are other reasons why people procrastinate, of course, but these are some of the most common.
Take a close look at why you are avoiding doing this specific thing. Talking it over with a friend or writing down your thoughts are great ways to uncover the roots of your procrastination.
We’ve all been in the middle of spring cleaning and stopped because we found that thing we used to love and were distracted by it for an hour.
Distractions are the nail in the coffin when it comes to procrastination. Preparing your environment to be distraction-free has two main benefits: removing said distractions, and mentally preparing for the real work to begin.
Depending on what you’ve been putting off doing, removing distractions will entail different things. For example, getting ready to tackle that uni assignment will mean cleaning your desk, shutting off the television, closing any unrelated tabs on your web browser, and putting your phone well out of reach.
Break Down the Task
It’s okay to be overwhelmed! Be it cleaning the house, doing an assignment, or planning a big trip, these big tasks can loom over you – making avoiding doing them a tempting idea.
The key to moving forward is to break down the big task into a bunch of little ones. Let’s take cleaning your house as our example, here you would break it down into several little steps; get all the dirty laundry together and put a load on, get all the dirty dishes and do a load, pick up all the trash and take it out, make the beds with fresh sheets, tidy and wipe down all surfaces, and so on.
Breaking down the main task with several little ones lets you visualise baby-steps and keep track of your progress! This also keeps you motivated and can be applied to all sorts of situations in work, study, and life!
Progress should be celebrated! When you complete a set of little tasks, take a moment to celebrate! Little treats, popping on some sick beats, or having a break with a hot cuppa are a few ways to reward yourself for your progress.
Just as knuckling down and getting the job done is important, acknowledging your progress with a reward is key as well – it keeps you motivated and keeps the desire to procrastinate at bay.
Take Breaks, But Keep Up the Momentum
Now, when you are rushing to finish an assignment the night before it’s due, taking breaks can seem like a death sentence. But, if you have battled your procrastination back hard enough that you can start working on the task a few days early – giving yourself plenty of time – then you should definitely be taking regular breaks.
For physical tasks, a good rule of thumb is to take either a 10-minute break for every 30 minutes of work or a 15-minute break for every 45 minutes. If you are focusing and not getting distracted, then you can power through a lot of work in those time-frames.
For mental work, for every hour of labour take a 10-minute break, and double that if you like working in longer stretches.
Visualise the After-Party
Being able to relax with a ‘job well done, me’ and a cold drink is the whole reason why you want to kick procrastination to the curb. Visualising how you will feel once the job is done is key in staying motivated.
Imagine how accomplished you will feel once the house is clean, how happy you will be to welcome guests into your nice, tidy home. Picture how you can chill with a movie once your assignment is submitted. Think how much fun you will have once the job is done.
Instead of worrying about all the work you have yet to do because of your procrastination, you can just focus on having a good time with your friends, family, or just by yourself with a beer and a movie.
Procrastination is a bad habit many of us can fall into. Whether a task is too big, too intimidating, or too unpleasant, we all find reasons to put off doing them – and pay the price in the end. Taking the simple steps above will help you push through procrastination station and get ahead! Stop punishing yourself, examine the problem, and break it down. You’ve got this.