Procrastination is a hole that many of us often feel stuck in. And yet, we may not even realize we’re doing it, or why we are doing it. We often create reasons in our heads that supply us with enough logic that we can delay the task at hand. This can cause severe anxiety later down the road when all of our responsibilities come back all at once. Recognizing these avoidance tactics is half the battle in stopping them.
However, in this post, we will discuss why we procrastinate, even though we know it is not beneficial. And then, some tangible and effective ways to put an end to procrastination in your life.
Why do we procrastinate?
Waiting for perfect. You keep telling yourself you need the right amount of time, physical space, equipment, environment, you name it. And then, when these magical productive circumstances don’t appear, we continue to push our responsibilities back. Anxiety eventually creeps in because we are overwhelmed and afraid we will never be able to get the task done.
No strain, no gain. You work best under pressure, right? Not really, but it may be the only way you’re used to getting things done. Many times, for many people, if they don’t have a boss over their shoulder or a due date looming, they cannot motivate themselves to work for their own benefit.
Productive procrastination. Taking care of all those other things you’ve put off in favor of what you need to get done. So, you have a report due to tomorrow, but suddenly, doing the laundry, going to the gym, and organizing your closet are much more of a priority. This is a very tricky way that procrastination can sneak into our lives.
Second guessing. Continually questioning a decision, or overthinking options in your head until you have wasted 3 days and now everything else has piled up. Overthinking occupies your mind so effectively, it can easily pull motivation away from what you need your energy to be focused on.
So, how can we stop procrastinating?
Here are 7, very effective ways to help you implement productiveness instead of procrastination.
- Remind yourself that there’s always more to be done than can be done. Then ask yourself if you’re getting the right things done
- When creating your to-do list, be sure to only include the items that you’re avoiding, not the ones you know you’ll do anyway. Then set deadlines, and delete items as you go to trigger your brains dopamine response to completing the task. The more you enforce this, the more effective it will become.
- Break the task down to lessen the sense of being overwhelmed. Try to compartmentalize larger tasks into smaller ones, in order to avoid exhaustion. Once you start to enjoy an accomplishment or two, you’re more likely to keep going and finish. Do not beat yourself up if you cannot complete the task in one go.
- Eliminate temptation to do something else. If you are a facebook addict or your smartphone or other distraction are affecting your focus, be sure to get rid of these distractions. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much more productive you may become.
- Bargain with yourself. If you finish the important task now, you can go to the movies, or do something fun later. This also adds motivation to receive the reward.
- Come up with a consequence that will deter you from avoiding the task. If you don’t make dinner at home twice a week, you can’t go out on the weekend. This is essentially opposite to the task above.
- Make your intentions public. This will add pressure, but for some of us, avoiding embarrassment is the mightiest motivator.
Overall, procrastination can create bad habits and cycles of anxiety. Creating helpful habits for yourself to tackle procrastination can make you feel more productive, and therefore relaxed and at ease, knowing that you are effectively completing your responsibilities. Hopefully, some of these tips will be helpful for you and will help you to feel more confident.
I wish you all luck and success in this upcoming february!