Do you know that feeling when you would do absolutely anything else rather than what you’re supposed to be doing? Of course, you do, we all do. Some of us have it right now. It’s called procrastination. We know what we should be doing, we just don’t want to do it. So we put it off until the last possible minute (and sometimes beyond). The only thing making us do it after all is the panic of the deadline.
The weird thing about it is that we feel guilty, but somehow can’t stop doing it. Or can we? We’ve done a little bit of research and found out that actually we can. Read on to find out the 7 best ways to fight procrastination and win:
1. Get organized
Starting a task that you only know by name is very daunting. So before you dive into it, make sure you know all you can about it and that you have all the material you need ready at hand. Try to find everything you may need before you start: notes, research, emails, worksheets… Going from one source to the next will be a breeze if you know where to find them.
2. Set smaller goals
Getting your work started is easier if you split this huge task that scares you into smaller, more manageable goals. Make a plan of the steps that you need to take in order to accomplish your task and try to stick to it.
3. Get rid of distractions
This is a no brainer. For most people who are into the habit of procrastinating, distractions are just too hard to fight on their own. So, if you feel you’re one of those people who can’t fight social media and Netflix on their own, just avoid them altogether for as long as you’re working. Shut down your phone and hand it to someone else, move to a room with no TV, and try to avoid finding other new distractions, like talking to a family member, counting the books on your shelf, or studying the habits of a fly you may notice.
4. Give yourself incentives
Reward yourself for the small steps you take towards completing your task, just make sure you don’t resort to the distractions above. So no watching a new episode of your favorite show after you finish a part of your assignment, because we all know that can potentially lead to binging the entire season until late in the evening. You can take a short stretching break, make a nice cup of tea, have a chocolate bar, or spice things up with a chore. Getting up and dusting or vacuum will feel like a treat, guaranteed!
5. Get the hard stuff done first
We know this is hard to do, but oh so worth it. Try it for yourself! You’ll never have more energy than at the start of a project, so getting rid of the hardest part first will not only leave you with less to do towards the end, but it will also boost your mood. As Mark Twain put it, “If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” He also said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.”, but we can’t mess with people’s biological rhythms. Some are just better at eating their frog late at night.
6. Tell someone about your task
Talking to someone will not only get a weight off your chest, it will also make you more responsible about your task. Because you’ll feel more accountable about finishing it on time. And besides, the people you talk to about it can also help by nagging you to stay on track. ;)
7. Start a permanent fight against procrastination
If this annoying habit is already in your system (as it is with so many of us), it’s important to take clear steps to fight it in the future as well, so you don’t always find yourself going back to the starting point. What can you do in this direction? First, you can remember to do something about it. We tend to forget things that aren’t ingrained in us so easily. We want to eat less sugar, but when someone brings chocolates to the office we forget to say no. We want to start a yoga training at home, but we always have something else to do and never find the time.
The solution? Use visual cues of the things you want to remember, of the things you want to change. Write personal advice on post its, frame motivational quotes, in short, surround yourself with reminders of what you want to accomplish. Not only that, but you can also track your progress with your new goal of avoiding procrastination through visuals (calendars, charts, or actual sentences).
Battling our innate tendency to procrastinate is both a war and an art in itself. Working on improving ourselves takes our entire life, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. Experiment with as many methods as you can and find the one that suits you best. While you do that, take a look at this >>hilarious approach to procrastination<< and don’t worry, we all struggle with it.