Procrastination is when you put off a task and do something unproductive instead, such as use your phone, go back to sleep, or binge-watch your favorite show.
Psychologists believe that people who have a habit of procrastination do not have a sense of time. They have this perception that they have more time to do their tasks when, in fact, they don’t.
Studies show that procrastination happens because a person wants to avoid stress.
Procrastination is a self-regulatory failure leading to poor performance and reduced well-being.
In other words, procrastination is linked to a person’s difficulty in managing distress.
You procrastinate not because you are lazy, but because your brain is subconsciously avoiding stress. But here’s the thing: if you will let procrastination control you, it will take over your life.
You will be in an endless cycle of “I’ll do it later,” “I feel guilty I didn’t do it,” “I feel helpless,” “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
If these words are the words you often tell yourself, then you are a procrastinator.
In this article, we’ve gathered some tips and techniques on how you can control procrastination.
1. Procrastination and your excuses
Your excuses are the gateway for procrastination.
“I’ll do this later.” “It’s still early.” “I still have time.” “I’m not really in a good mood, I’ll do this later.”
What do you need to do? You have to stop the cycle. You need to have the willpower to say “no” to your excuses. If you’ve been putting off a task because you’re waiting for the right moment or your perfect mood, you’ll never get it done.
The first step is to tell yourself every day, put a note on your mirror or your phone:
“Don’t do it tomorrow when you can do it today.”
2. Know your big WHY
When you are procrastinating, you don’t see the big picture. When you put off a project that could literally change your life, you don’t see it like that when you are procrastinating.
You will only see the short term gains while trying to avoiding the stress.
Remind yourself why you need that project. Think of the huge payout or the recognition you’re going to get.
Visualize yourself in that position, focus on the benefits it will give you.
If it’s your daily workout that you are trying to put off, think about your goal. WHY do you need to work out daily?
Imagine you’ve already reached your goal: you’ll have more energy, you’ll be physically fit, and with a toned body, you’ll feel inspired to flaunt it with new clothes.
3. Don’t mind making mistakes
When you are overly critical of your work, you will resort to perfectionism. You will then get scared to start the project. I feel this, too, sometimes.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can’t avoid making mistakes; it is what makes you human. Mistakes don’t mean failure.
Focus more on being better every day. Don’t strive for perfection but for excellence. Focus on how you can get the job done.
Don’t let your fear of failure take control.
4. Get real!
Once you establish your tasks and your schedule, understand that some tasks or projects take greater time to finish. Don’t expect unrealistic time frames so you won’t set yourself for disappointments.
Let’s say you’re not a morning person and you enrolled to an early yoga class. Don’t beat yourself up and expect yourself to get up unusually early.
Instead, join a class on a different schedule.
5. Work in a conducive environment
Your environment can make or break your productivity. If possible work on a space where there is no bed and the TV should be turned off, it’s also best if you log out of your social media accounts while you work on your tasks.
A single notification can distract you from your trail of thought.
If you have no office at home, work in the living room or create a designated space where you won’t get distracted.
6. Give yourself a pat on the back
Create a reward system for yourself when you finish a task or a project.
For example, the things you do when you procrastinate, do them only when you’re done with what you’re supposed to do.
For example, treat yourself to Netflix and ice cream. By doing this, you create inspiration.
7. Make use of your calendar
Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Print out a calendar and put your hourly routine into practice. Block out time in your schedule for your special project, work, or exercise.
Set a timer when it’s time to get the job done!
8. Divide your tasks
If your tasks scare you on how overwhelming and complicated it is, chop it into smaller parts.
For example, if you’re creating a business plan, do it per chapter and don’t think of all of the other chapters first. Consolidate them once you’re finished with each of the chapters.
ONE. AT. A. TIME.
By doing so, it will look easy to overcome and it is empowering.
9. Procrastination and focus
Procrastination’s worst enemy is “focus.” When we get overwhelmed, it signals our brain to be terrified of stress. However, once you focus on one task at a time, one thing, one idea at a time, you can beat procrastination.
For example, choose one task that you’ve been putting off and complete this task within a week.
Use the tips above or download apps that help you to organize your thoughts, such as Trello and Notion.
If you feel like you’re in an endless cycle of procrastination, guilt, and unproductivity. We hope this article finds you well. Beat procrastination and reach your personal and professional goals.