Do you have the habit of putting off things that could be done right away?
Have you ever realized the downside of procrastinating?
I am sure that you agree that the habit of procrastination doesn’t benefit anyone.
Here are 11 simple tips on how to stop your procrastination tendency:
1. Be honest with yourself and admit that you are procrastinating. Admitting that you are procrastinating is the first step
Make a detailed list of all the items you have been trying to avoid due to any convenient reason. Find out which tasks you don’t like doing and also write down what’s holding you back from completing that task.
Don’t include the ones that you love doing or which you will do it right away. Once you have created a detailed list, arrange them in order of priority/emergency and then set a routine schedule.
Personally I like to create a four column schedule and put my tasks into the following categories:
- urgent and important
- not urgent but important
- urgent but not important
- not urgent and not important
Based on which categories the task is put in, I will do them accordingly. For example, writing my e-book is important but not urgent. Paying my bills by the deadline is urgent and important. Playing games on my iPad is not urgent and not important. I only do it when I have some free time on hand.
2. Use your power hours to complete the most time consuming and more complicated tasks.
This is one of the most effective ways to stop procrastinating, as you will be using the time of the day when you are the most energetic for a task which you may have been delaying or been avoiding for whatever reason.
For me, I work the best in the evenings so I allocate my time consuming tasks after dinner time. For you, it might be mornings or afternoons.
3. Change your environment or work space.
If there are distractions at your work space or in your office, it is time to change your work environment.
Tip: Pay close attention to your mood.
If you feel depressed, sad, worried, or angry when you enter your work space, it is a sign to immediately brighten up the area with bright colors, bright lights and/or your favorite decorations.
Working in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere will improve your effectiveness and your creativity. So don’t underestimate the external environment and the impact it has on your tendency to procrastinate.
If you don’t feel comfortable, of course you will have a hard time concentrating and completing the tasks on hand.
4. Getting things done doesn’t mean you must master perfection. Avoid perfectionism
Those who run after perfection have a difficult time succeeding in completing all the tasks at hand.
The more time you spend fine-tuning something, the more time you will be procrastinating on the rest of the list. So don’t chase perfection; rather put your best effort into each responsibility and when completed, move on.
5. Hang out with people who inspire and encourage you.
Avoid spending too much time with those who discourage you or have a tendency to procrastinate too.
Ensure the company you keep are conducive to your success and productivity. If you hang out with friends who are efficient, productive and committed to succeed, their energy is going to rub off on you too.
6. Talk about your goals with others.
Tell your trusted friends or family members about your projects and goals.
This would mean that whenever you meet them, they shall ask you about your status on those goals. You would do your best to always give your best to the task so that you can give an appropriate response on your progress to others.
Peer pressure and having external accountability certainly works positively on helping you to stop procrastination.
This is another great way to keep yourself accountable to the tasks at hand.
7. Schedule reward time for yourself.
It will be much easier to concentrate on your tasks if you know there is a scheduled time for each activity plus a reward at the end of the task.
When you know you have finished your tasks, it will be much easier to enjoy your leisure time.
Use a timer to keep track of your time and make sure you reward yourself for completing each task. It would be great if the value of the reward is proportionate to the complexities of the task to be completed.
8. Set rules and stick to them.
Discipline is important in everything you do. Allot sufficient time for each activity and try to follow your schedule holistically. Gauge how much time you need to allocate for each task and then try to finish it within the allotted time.
9. Focus on one task at a time.
It is no use indulging in multitasking. That way you won’t be able to fully concentrate. Unless the chores/tasks you are doing are repetitive and don’t require much thinking, it is good to multitask. Watching TV while ironing is fine but for tasks that requires a lot of thinking and analysis, do only one at a time.
In my personal experience, multitasking only works for repetitive chores.
10. Think of the unpleasant consequences of not doing a task at hand.
The very feeling of an unpleasant outcome/consequence by not completing the task/not finishing it by the deadline will encourage you to stick to your goals and schedule and complete it successfully.
Remember, the more efficient, comfortable and relaxed you are with doing tasks, the less chance you have to procrastinate. Follow these 10 simple tips and you will see a positive improvement in your productivity level.
The key is to be committed, have a routine and be willing to adjust when needed.