You have a task that requires your undivided attention to complete it successfully on time. However, instead of getting it done, you are indulging in low priority activities such as watching videos on YouTube, refreshing your mail and social media accounts and chatting with friends.
You know how important this task is. But you don’t feel like doing it now. So you start thinking of how convenient things will be for you if you started working on the task tomorrow.
We have all been in such a scenario. People who procrastinate tend to waste a lot of time and energy doing irrelevant things when they should be working and staying late to ensure the task or project gets done on time. Putting off important tasks always leads to frustrations and stress as the deadlines draw close.
If you are a chronic procrastinator, you understand how slacking and putting off things makes your life a living hell when you have to face that task or project. Procrastination does affect specific people. It is a habit that gets developed over time and prevents you from achieving your potential.
Do not allow procrastination to control your life. Here are some of the proven ways to help you stop procrastinating and improve your productivity and performance. Keep reading.
1. Break down big tasks
One of the common reasons why people procrastinate is because the work overwhelms them. The solution to this problem is breaking down the task into little chunks and focusing on one chunk at a time. If you find yourself procrastinating after breaking the task, break it even further.
Soon, you’ll discover how simple your task is that you’ll be motivated to complete it. For instance, writing a book requires lots of time and energy. Since you cannot write a full book in a few days or weeks, you should break it down in such a way that you’ll be working on one or two pages a day.
When you’re done with one page, move to the next one. Do not start thinking about the number of pages you are yet to write.
2. Change your environment
Do your surroundings motivate you to work or activate sleeping mode? A good environment will inspire you to work on the most important tasks. Keep your room and desk tidy all the time. Remember, a disorganized room or office signifies a disorganized mind.
3. Use a timeline with set deadlines
Having one deadline for your entire project is inviting procrastination to your house or office. This is because you’ll start thinking that you have enough time. And this prevents you from making any progress.
Break down your project as we have discussed and set specific deadlines for every milestone. By doing this, you’ll complete your tasks easily at a specified date. Your timelines should signal a sense of urgency to help you beat procrastination. Just like goals, breaking down your tasks and setting practical deadlines will help you complete your work on time.
4. Do away with procrastination pit-stops
If you are a chronic procrastinator, it means that you make it easier to procrastinate than do the work. If you surf the internet during working hours, you should identify the browser bookmarks that make you waste a lot of time.
Next, make them inaccessible while working and disable notifications. Distractions are the number one killer of productivity not only in the US but also in the world. Do not take drastic actions such as deleting your accounts or avoiding the internet. Such actions usually lead to more negative consequences than positive.
5. Choose your friends wisely
Your friends influence how you think and act in most situations. Every person you hang out with leaves a piece of themselves with you. Take a moment and imagine yourself taking a walk with Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet. How would you feel after spending time with such a person? You’d agree with me that you would be inspired and motivated to make your life a success.
Likewise, spending most of your time with people who are chronic procrastinators will encourage you to keep on postponing important tasks. If you want to succeed in life, you should choose your friends wisely. Your friends will determine how high or low you go. Do not take your friends for granted. They will affect your life either positively or negatively.
6. Have a companion
Having a buddy makes the entire process amazing. You should choose a buddy who has a clear set of goals and is determined to achieve them. Everyone will be held accountable to their goals. Both of you don’t need to have the same goals however, it can help you learn from each other easily.
Most successful people have an accountability partner whom they share with their progress and problems at least once a week. Having an accountability partner will motivate you to take action and complete your projects successfully.
7. Tell others about your goals
This point is similar to having an accountability partner. The only difference is it’s on a larger scale. Tell your colleagues and family members about your projects and goals.
Whenever you meet with them, you’ll be bound to share your progress on the projects. You can also use your blog and social media accounts to publicize your progress on important projects. It’s one of the best ways to help you stay on track and complete your projects on time.
8. Find someone who has achieved your goals
You want to stop procrastinating, right? One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to look for people who have achieved the same goal and connect with them. As the saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun.
What you are struggling with right now has happened to millions of people across the world. All you have to do is analyze how these people solved this problem. Knowing that you can solve the problem too will motivate you to take action quickly.
9. Clarify your goals
If you find yourself procrastinating most of the time, there could be a misalignment between what you are currently doing and what you want to achieve. In most cases, people outgrow their goals as they get to know themselves better. However, they don’t adjust their goals as a way of reflecting that.
Go for a short vacation or a weekend break out of town to get to know yourself better. What do you want to have in life? What price are you willing to pay to get there? Is your current job aligned with your big picture? What can you do to turn your weaknesses into strengths?
10. Don’t complicate things
People complicate things by waiting for the perfect time to do something. The truth is there is no perfect time. Now is the perfect time to get things done.
People who keep waiting for the perfect moment rarely achieve anything. Perfectionism is one of the common reasons why people procrastinate. You don’t have to be perfect to make progress. You have to make progress to be perfect.
11. Just go for it
At the end of the day, you are either a procrastinator or a man or woman of action. You can spend a lot of time planning and strategizing on your next move. But if you don’t take action, you are not going to achieve anything.
Do not sit down and start complaining. Make plans and most importantly, take action. Take control of your life and take action.
12. Forgive yourself
Procrastinating is a habit that is formed over time. And it takes time to beat it. As you become a man or woman of action, you’ll find yourself stumbling from time to time.
Do not be so hard on yourself instead, forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself will help feel positive about yourself and reduce the risk of giving up soon.
13. Reward yourself
When you complete an important task successfully, don’t take it for granted. Reward yourself with something you love. It could be a movie, slice of cake, soothing massage or watching the sunset.
Being aware of the positive emotions generated after you complete a task will motivate you to work harder and stay later until the project is done. Failing to reward yourself will make you tired and frustrated in the long run.
14. Start with the big tasks
In most cases, the biggest tasks are usually the most important ones. You should always work on the big tasks first before the smaller ones.
Completing an important task will motivate you to complete the remaining small tasks. On the other hand, working on small tasks first will tire you as you progress to the harder ones. And you are highly likely to procrastinate when things get tough.
Organizing your tasks in order of priority should be the first activity you indulge in before you start working on a specified task.
Procrastination is a dangerous habit of needless delaying when action should be taken. Chronic procrastinators never realize their potential or achieve their dreams.
Therefore, you need to take action to beat this habit. With the tips discussed above, beating procrastination should not be difficult.