Do you ever find yourself putting off the inevitable? Procrastination probably creeps in whenever you have an unwanted but upcoming deadline. I know the feeling.
If you are seeking ways in which you can avoid avoidance and face things like work and organising your home head-on, continue reading for seven things to try.
- Switch off
While the idea of switching off might seem odd, particularly if you are writing an essay on your laptop, for example, it can really help boost productivity. If you find that social media is a distraction, and I believe most of us do these days, then it is time that you abandoned it temporarily in favour of the task at hand. Put your phone onto airplane mode and turn off notifications on your laptop, if you must use it.
2. Work in chunks
It can be tempting to try to work for longer and get everything done all at once. However, this approach can lead to fatigue or your task being completed but poorly. Work in shorter chunks of time, such as 45 minutes, and then go for a little walk or grab a bite to eat for the next 30 minutes, for example. You will find that your mind won’t be drained, rather energised and ready for the next short stint of work.
3. Don’t do TOO much
Again, even if working in shorter stints, you may be tempted to work too much in an attempt to simply finish. This approach will not do you any favours, and you may find yourself drifting off and your mind will be procrastinating, even without you realising it. Set yourself a goal of around eight hours maximum per day, with plenty of brain breaks and time to move around.
4. Say ‘NO’ if necessary
I bet you can remember a time when you were supposed to be revising, but you were invited to the cinema or shopping by someone who needed a friend, so you decided to go there instead. Or maybe someone asked you to look after their child to allow them to run an important errand. While it is lovely to show kindness and consideration for others, doing so is only to the detriment of your own progress and success. Learning to say no can help, ensuring that you have sufficient time. It’s still procrastination even if you are helping someone else.
5. Reward yourself
Lots of people feel that rewards decrease the levels of intrinsic motivation that people have. Perhaps this is true, but to be honest, getting the job done may be more straightforward if you offer yourself rewards. Think about something that you enjoy doing or eating, then plan it in. For example, once you have written 1000 words of your essay, allow yourself an episode of your favourite Netflix series. However, do you be tempted to let one episode run on into a binge-watch session.
6. Choose your environment wisely
The idea of switching off was mentioned earlier, but sometimes, you can’t switch off… if it’s your children or your partner, for example. Working from home can be a challenge for everyone, so try to find an environment in which you can work with fewer distractions. If your only office space is within the house, are you able to wear noise-cancelling headphones playing calming music to block out the background noise and allow you greater focus? Alternatively, take yourself off to the local library for a few hours.
7. Change your deadlines
Writing down all the things you need to achieve on a list can be helpful when it comes to avoiding procrastination, with the date written next to them. However, rather than putting the final deadline on them, choose an earlier date, and work towards that instead. Grab a highlighter and mark things off once they are done. No matter how small a task is, showing that you have achieved it can be a boost to your confidence.
Procrastination can creep in easily, particularly when we are doing something we are not keen to do. Try to recognise what it is beginning, and put a stop to it immediately.