We all fall victim to procrastination. There’s that project that you got assigned a month ago that’s suddenly due tomorrow, the laundry that’s been piling up in the corner of the room, and the workout you were supposed to knock out this morning. A lot of TV has been watched, and fun has been had, but nonetheless, the tasks have not been completed or even tackled at all.
So, how can you buckle down and get rid of these procrastinating tendencies? How can you become a more proactive, productive individual?
1) Know what kind of procrastinator you are.
Understand why you may be avoiding whatever task is at hand. Is it something you hate doing, like cleaning the dishes or taking the trash out? Is it something you’re avoiding out of fear, like returning your crush’s phone call? Or would you simply rather spend time scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook? Once you figure out why you’re procrastinating, you can face the problem more directly.
2) Change your perspective.
Changing your perspective on the task at hand can help you knock it out quickly and without much fuss. So instead of looking at it as an inconvenience or annoyance, think about the outcome. If it’s dirty laundry that needs to be done, think about how much better you’ll feel to be wearing freshly cleaned clothes. Or if it’s an exam that you need to study for, think about how you’ll feel when you’re sitting in class, pencil in your hand, test in front of you—instead of being nervous and anxious, you’ll feel confident and you’ll receive a well-earned grade.
3) Set goals for yourself.
Procrastination is less likely to take over if you set goals. Decide ahead of time when you’re going to complete the task and write it down in your schedule. Maybe get it out of the way at the beginning of the day. Or maybe put it in between two things you actually enjoy doing to create a buffer—you won’t be burnt out from doing something else you dislike right before and when you’ve finished the task, you’ll receive a reward of sorts.
4) Decide how it should be tackled.
The task could be completed in an instant, or maybe take days to finish. It really depends on the degree of magnitude. For big projects or a difficult test, work should be spread out over time. Decide on a productive and realistic amount of time to work on it and then take a break. Return to studying later in the day or even wait until tomorrow to pick up the books again.
5) Power through!
If it’s a smaller task that can be knocked out, you just have to power through. You’ll feel so much better about yourself once you’ve completed the task. And contrarily, if you stop midway and have to return to the task later, you’ll probably be pretty frustrated. So when you’re in it, go all in and work your hardest—then you can return to doing what you really want to do or what requires some more time and attention.
6) Remove distractions.
Everybody has their kryptonite when it comes to distractions. Maybe it’s Netflix, or your phone buzzing off the table. Or maybe it’s the music you have playing in the background. Whatever it is that disturbs your train of thought and prevents you from completing what needs to be done, needs to be eliminated from the situation. You can catch up on your favorite show or talk to your friends when you’ve finished. And without worrying about all that you have to still do in the back of your head.
7) Take care of yourself.
You can set yourself up for success by simply taking care of yourself and prioritizing your wellbeing—ensure that you are getting enough sleep at night, you’re fueling your body with nutritious foods, and are getting enough exercise. All of these factors work together to fuel your brain and help you perform at your best.
8) Reward yourself.
We all understand how difficult it is to overcome procrastination. So when you have successfully defeated it with optimal effort, you need to reward yourself. If you’ve just finished that big project that was looming over your head or aced a test due to all of your studying, you deserve an especially great one. That might mean making a celebratory trip to the ice cream shop or simply giving yourself a break for the night—you’re not procrastinating, but recharging, which is vital to your health and wellbeing.
It’s easy to tell yourself to stop procrastinating, but it usually doesn’t work. So follow these 8 tips to take control of your life again and be a more productive individual—you may be surprised at how effective they can be.
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