Almost all of us procrastinate in one way or another. Whether it is at work, at school, or even at home, we will find ways to delay work for another time. And even when we try to change our habits, we still end up putting off the important things for “later”, “tomorrow”, or “another day”.
It’s pretty difficult to get rid of procrastination completely. We are human and we shouldn’t feel bad if we occasionally slack off. But there are ways to help you overcome procrastination when you really need to. Here are some tips that will help you change your ways.
Tip no. 1: Admit that you are procrastinating
Many people would try and reason and come out with explanations as to why they are procrastinating. When asked why they are not working on a project while the deadline is still a long way off, some would reason out that they work best under pressure.
But do they? In reality, it is very hard to focus on your work as you constantly have to keep track of the time left before your deadline. You also become very prone to mistakes that you can’t correct simply because you are out of time.
So it is high time that you stop making up reasons and tell yourself that you are indeed procrastinating. You also need to take time and ask yourself why you are delaying work in the first place. Chances are, you will find through your own honest answers that many of the reasons are actually petty and avoidable.
Don’t beat up yourself just because you are procrastinating. It’s better spending time to do your task than making yourself feel bad about not doing it.
Tip no. 2: Learn the 2-minute rule
The 2 minute rule is a simple strategy devised by entrepreneur and travel photographer James Clear to get you to start steering away from procrastination. This strategy has two simple parts that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Part 1: If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now
Part 2: if it you start a new habit, then it should take you less than two minutes to do so
The idea here is very simple: many of the small tasks that we tend to put off in favor of doing other larger tasks can be accomplished in as little as two minutes. So, instead of delaying, you can gain more time to do the larger tasks by taking care of the smaller ones first. Also, you will find that these small tasks are all that are needed to actually get you started on a habit that you have been meaning to adopt.
So go do the small task that you’ve been meaning to do: go floss your teeth, put your laundry in the washing machine, and respond to that email from your boss. It will only take 2 minutes of your time.
Tip no. 3: Create a new work environment
As always, work environment plays a large role in your motivation to work. Your desk might be so cluttered with various things that you find it difficult to find something that you need quickly. Or it might be full of little things that take your attention away from what you are doing.
If that is the case, then it is time for you to de-clutter the desk and remove everything that is not related to your work. Keep only the essential objects, such as your computer, a pen, and some pieces of paper.
Of course, it would be too harsh if you don’t have something to play and relieve work stress with, but make sure that you only have one toy on the desk at any given time.
Another thing that can really affect your motivation to work is the so-called pit stops. These are the things that beg for your attention every now and then and never let you go. Social media sites and the internet itself can be full of these pit stops, with constant notifications, new messages, or articles to read.
Turn off every automatic notification that you have on your browser or cellphone. Better yet, turn these things off entirely. That way, you will be sure that there are no beeping sounds that will get your attention away from whatever you are doing.
Tip no. 4: Get someone to remind you of what you need to do
This tip might seem odd, especially for those who go “I don’t need to be reminded cause I will do it” folks. However, that is where the problem often lies. You lose track of your tasks because you are the only one reminding yourself. With another person telling you of the work at hand, you will be compelled to listen.
Of course, you do need to make sure that the other person has a reason to help you out. So you should remind each other of your tasks. This way, you and the other person will have a reason to keep track of schedules that have to be met.
You can also look for people who have procrastination under control and ask them how they did it. You will be surprised to find out many simple solutions that they implemented, from which you can learn a thing or two. Hang out with them every now and then so that you can pick up their habits.
Tip no. 5: Reassess and go
One reason that might cause you to put off tasks is that you simply don’t want to do them anymore. It would be either that these don’t fit your goals or you have outgrown those original goals. So better stop for a moment and think about whether or not you want to continue with what you are doing and where you want to go next. This “off time” will also be helpful in planning out your next course of action.
Of course, if you do find that you are still interested in the work that you are supposed to be doing, then there should be no reason for you to put it off. Just go for it. And you really don’t have to lay out an elaborate plan of action. A single step is all that is needed for you to do whatever tasks are on hand.
Just do it. If your task is big and intimidating, break it into small pieces. If your task is repetitive and boring, have someone help you out.
Make sure you know that the things you need to do are aligned with your goals. If you want to write a novel, go write 5 paragraphs. If you are learning to cods, go read that Java tutorial. If you are trying to lose weight, go out the door and start jogging.