5 ways to beat procrastination once and for all
‘Ah, I’ll do it tomorrow’. We are all guilty of uttering these words. Tomorrow is soon, but tomorrow is never today! Easier said than done, it perfectly illustrates how quickly any task can be put off until the next day. Procrastination can seep into all aspects of your life, ranging from daily work and projects at home, to taking the first step to get a new job.
While it’s easy to fall into a cycle of stalling or putting things off, breaking out of it is much harder. So how do you finally beat procrastination? Here are our top strategies to overcome this debilitating bad habit.
- Make a plan
Sounds simple enough right? Wrong! Coming up with a good plan to conquer your daily to-do’s or monthly goals is a fine balance between strategy and art. First, weigh each task in terms of deadlines, size and importance. Second, look at realistic timeframes you will need to complete these deadlines. Don’t forget to buffer in some extra time just in case.
Be aware of common mistakes, such as scheduling many small non-important tasks into your day as well as scheduling too many things for you to realistically complete. It will only push the more important tasks further away and kickstart that procrastination cycle.
- Structure your approach
Do you often push large daunting projects back simply because you aren’t sure where to even begin? Stop giving in to procrastination and start changing your general approach to the problem.
Before you even start attempting to tackle the project, take a step back and look at the overall scale of your undertaking. Break down each of the steps and structure your approach strategically. It will not only help to find the easiest way to complete the task, but it will also keep you more motivated along the way. This way you’ll have a better idea of what you need and how you’re going to do it, making it much easier to start in the first place.
- Minimise distractions
Have you finally decided to get cracking on brushing up that old CV, or are you still considering assembling that shelf at home instead? Be wary of the distractions that disrupt your determination. Smart phones, social media and Netflix can quickly turn from ‘just a few minutes’ into a complete binge session that will destroy your productive day.
Pause that episode, close the browser tabs and put your phone on silent. If you are still tempted to check the internet, you can always turn it off completely. Once you have completed your task you can check your social feeds as a reward.
- Create milestone markers
Getting started is only the beginning of the battle, making it to the end of a project is much harder. It’s likely that at some point you will be burnt out, unmotivated or bored from working on something. Don’t fall back into old habits and start putting it off once again.
Fight the powers of procrastination and break down larger projects into several smaller ones instead. This way you’ll have a sense of accomplishment at each step of the process. Checking off smaller tasks as complete will give you a sense of satisfaction that keeps you motivated for a longer time.
- Celebrate your wins
Give yourself something to look forward to! You should celebrate your victories no matter how big or small. It might seem trivial but it actually keeps you motivated. Small rewards will also help you to get better at not procrastinating.
Make sure you pick something you actually like - indulge in your favourite snack, head out with friends to watch a movie or eat at that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. The best thing is that you don’t have to feel guilty, as it’s an earned reward after all.