It’s happened to all of us.
You have a major project due tomorrow, and you’re doing everything but working on it. Or, you might have a pile of laundry that needs folding, and instead of putting things away, you just keep pulling from the basket.
Whether it’s a big or small task, we all find ourselves procrastinating now and again. With busy schedules and demanding lives, it may be easy to avoid things rather than conquering them.
While putting things off may temporarily feel good, it leads to a lot more stress down the road. A little bit of discomfort now will leave you with peace of mind and more time to focus on the things you really want to do.
Here are 7 ways you can tackle those tough tasks now — and say goodbye to that procrastination habit for good.
Understand Why You’re Procrastinating.
Procrastinating usually runs deeper than laziness. People often put off tasks because they fear rejection if they don’t succeed, or they have a difficult time engaging during the activity. Identifying the reasons why you’re putting off certain tasks is essential to overcoming the habit of procrastination. Ask yourself why you’re avoiding getting started. Then, develop a plan of action to specifically address those issues.
Make It Routine.
If you’ve been procrastinating on a particularly daunting task, the best way to get a head start is to make it feel less intimidating. Start by working on the project for only 15 minutes a day, then gradually increase the time as you get closer to your deadline. This way, you’ll ease yourself into the activity, and it transforms from a daunting assignment to part of your everyday routine.
If you can’t bring yourself to complete a certain task right away, allow yourself to procrastinate productively. Make a list of other activities you need to get done along with how long you plan to spend on each one. As you cross each item off the list, you’ll feel more motivated to check off the activity you’re dreading too. Just make sure you keep your list short and realistic to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
In addition to the many health benefits of regularly working out, exercising also helps increase your motivation and discipline. When you start your day by being active, you’re more likely to feel energized and confident enough to tackle everything on your to-do list. Even a 10-minute run will help boost your levels of dopamine (otherwise known as the “feel good” hormone) and motivate you to get straight to work on your assignments.
While identifying the real reasons behind your procrastination habit is what will ultimately help you overcome it, in the meantime, being practical and avoiding distractions is a good start. Minimize distractions around you by keeping your phone on airplane mode while you work — or better yet, place it on the far side of the room and leave it there. If you have to use the internet, download an app or extension that will block social media sites for a period of time, like Strict Workflow for Google Chrome.
Get Comfortable… But Not Too Comfortable.
Getting work done from the comfort of your bed may sound like a great idea, but it’s more likely to leave you feeling sleepy and distracted. Choose a strategic work area to tackle that task you’ve been avoiding. It should be comfortable enough that you won’t want to get up and walk around every few minutes, but not so comfortable that a nap will sound like a better option.
Try the Pomodoro Technique.
A popular discipline exercise, the Pomodoro technique involves working on an activity nonstop for 25-minute intervals with five-minute breaks in between. Once you’ve completed the exercise four times, take a longer 20-minute break before getting back to work. It works because your brain will be anticipating the break, and 25 minutes won’t feel like too long to stay focused.
By Priscilla Aceves