Are you looking for ways to overcome procrastination? Well, it’s not rocket science and anyone can follow these simple steps to be more productive.
“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!” ― Charles Dickens.
Let’s be honest in this – we are all procrastinators in some way or the other. Like if I have to talk about myself, I often think that I have enough time to finish some pending work until I realize that there’s actually no time left in hand.
I’m sure the same happens with a lot of you out there – when you’d just wake up in the morning and don’t feel like doing certain things that you were supposed to do.
Often, you might have confused this with being lazy – but this, in reality, is not just laziness, but something way more complex than that.
Psychologists have mentioned that people who procrastinate have a faulty sense of time – that they think they will have more time to get something done than they actually do.
Well, that definitely is true to an extent and further research has proved that this ‘sense of time’ is also intrinsically attached to the thoughts of the task (in an unpleasant manner – like “It will be tough, boring, painful…”) which we are more likely to put off for later!
Over the years, I’ve been trying to make some conscious efforts to overcome procrastination and be more productive (as per my potential standards), which makes me feel more confident & less stressed, for sure.
Maybe you can also follow these simple steps and pump yourself up, gets your hands down, and start with all that’s lying pending for quite some time.
- Proven Ways to Overcome Procrastination:
- 1. Write things down and maintain a journal.
- 2. Figure out ‘why’ you procrastinate.
- 3. Try getting done with the difficult chores first.
- 4. Set up a perfect environment to work.
- 5. Befriend people who motivate you to take action.
- 6. Enjoy small victories.
- 7. Convince someone to be your partner.
- 8. Don’t overthink about ‘why I didn’t do it earlier’.
- 9. Time to focus on the results.
- 10. Set realistic goals.
- 11. Focus on being PRODUCTIVE than being PERFECT.
Proven Ways to Overcome Procrastination:
1. Write things down and maintain a journal.
I strongly believe that writing is the best tool to let our emotions flow and often, people fail to understand how impactful it can be.
Just think about it for once, can you ever try building a house without an architect’s blueprint?
This also is something similar – unless you know what all you need to get done, how will you be clear about your schedule and the tasks you’ve?
Maintaining a journal (or just a notepad to jot things down) will help you in ways you can’t even imagine.
Write down about your tasks, the time by when you wish to finish them off, your short-term & long-term goals, etc.
Once you’ve written them down, sort them as per priorities – and making sure that you mark the important ones to be done on an urgent basis.
Keep the journal handy, so that you can flip through the pages as often as possible, have a tab on the time-table you’ve prepared for yourself and move towards achieving your goals.
2. Figure out ‘why’ you procrastinate.
There are times when we fail to understand our mind’s call and our body’s needs.
When you’re not in a mood to work or tend to procrastinate, it’s important to listen to what your mind & body is saying.
Maybe you’re tired or you just need a break, or probably your brain is pre-occupied with something else, that’s bothering your subconscious.
No matter what it is, know that procrastinating can’t be the solutions to your problems, rather it’s a punishment you’re giving yourself by putting an extra burden on the future.
Rather, pause for a while, reflect and try to figure out what’s bothering you exactly and why you’re procrastinating.
This could end up being the most productive step you take in conquering your task.
3. Try getting done with the difficult chores first.
This is really IMPORTANT – and trust me when I say this, getting done with the difficult tasks often helps us in getting the burden off our shoulders, making the rest of the tasks easier.
Let me give you an example which is completely relevant to the current times – in this period of quarantine and ‘life without maids’, most of us have to engage ourselves in doing the household chores like cooking & cleaning (which many of us don’t really like/enjoy doing).
Every day, I procrastinate about sweeping the floors, until it’s late afternoon and I’ve to get it done.
I figured out that the rest of my day’s schedule often gets jeopardized due to this stress. Eventually, I decided to sweep the floors right in the morning, so that I’m fine for the rest of the day and do other things peacefully!
Even you might be having such ‘things to be done’ which you probably don’t like doing but then, if you have to do it, why not just get done with it?
Completing your most difficult tasks first not only motivates you for good but also it makes accomplishing the smaller tasks easier, for sure.
4. Set up a perfect environment to work.
Honestly, clearing the clutter and setting up a perfect work environment can boost your productivity.
To start with, if you have got a presentation to make, choose to avoid the couch or the bed and rather sit down properly (& comfortably).
Log out of your social media accounts (which are the main tools for distraction) and put off your email notifications for the time being. Keep your phone on silent mode and get started.
It’s extremely necessary that we have control over the environment we choose to work in so that we are able to concentrate fully.
Choose the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode for ourselves can actually be a great way to stop procrastination & focus on getting things done, at the earliest.
5. Befriend people who motivate you to take action.
The kind of people we mingle with makes an impact on our lives as well. Imagine being friends with folks whose parents are super rich, have a family business running for decades and can chill for life, without bothering much for anything – well, they’ll surely tend to make you less productive & draw you in the loop, irrespective of the fact that you don’t belong in their circle & you need to work hard to achieve your dreams.
Rather, think of being friends with someone who’s determined and focused, eager to learn new things and share them with you, open for suggestions, and always on their toes with a ‘go-getter’ mindset.
It’s your job to identify the people, friends, or colleagues who can trigger you for good and hang out with them more often.
Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too, eventually letting go of procrastination & be motivated to achieve your goals.
6. Enjoy small victories.
We all deserve a little reward as a token of motivation – and most of the time, we’ve to provide that for ourselves!
Sounds odd, right?
Let me explain – say, for example, you have got a presentation to make and submit by afternoon, set a deadline for it, and finish it by morning.
Tell yourself that once you get it done, you can have some free time to practice yoga or catch up with a friend over a video call. Rewarding yourself with little things will definitely motivate you.
Small victories help us to understand that we are capable of achieving the bigger goals and provides us with a much needed mental strength to build our confidence and momentum.
7. Convince someone to be your partner.
When we work with another person, we tend to be more motivated than when we work alone.
For example, I always procrastinate when it comes to exercising or practicing yoga and need some extra encouragement to achieve my fitness goals.
So I’ve quite successfully convinced my best friend to join me in this and we keep pushing each other, every time one of us tends to be a little loose!
It’s always good to have a colleague or a client accompanying if you’re on the same project as that’ll boost your confidence and help you to stick to the deadlines.
8. Don’t overthink about ‘why I didn’t do it earlier’.
Procrastination over procrastination is the worst thing ever! While you’ve already wasted a lot of time pondering over thoughts, whether ‘to do it’ or ‘not to do it’, fiddling with your phone, taking a nap, and what not – there’s no point in feeling guilty now about what you haven’t done.
It’s better to start forgiving yourself for past actions, promising not to repeat them in the future again!
Put a pause to thoughts like ‘I should have done it earlier’ or ‘I can do nothing on time.’ Instead, start learning from your past and think to make your present better.
9. Time to focus on the results.
Sometimes, when we feel a lot of pressure to get some work done, we tend to forget about the satisfaction that the results can fetch us.
Also, for someone like me who has been brought up with the virtue – ‘Do you work, don’t think of the results’ – it often gets difficult to foresee what the outcome of my hard work would be.
But then, I do pause at times and think how the end result would look like, which often triggers my energy levels and pushes me to work better to achieve how I perceive things to be like.
While it may make you anxious to get started, don’t focus on that. Just think of how great it’s going to feel to get things done and how much worse you’ll feel if you wait until the last minute and don’t give it your best effort.
10. Set realistic goals.
While all the above-mentioned pointers will help you in some way or the other, it’s important that you set realistic goals for yourself.
Projects often take much longer than expected, so it’s necessary that you provide yourself adequate time and don’t pressurize yourself much – ‘coz that might eventually drag you towards procrastination.
Also, try setting the work schedule as per your routine, for example, you are not a morning person, don’t expect yourself to get up an hour early to start the work, because that would surely hamper your productivity.
Rather get some good sleep, wake up in your normal time, and then, without any distractions, get started with the work.
11. Focus on being PRODUCTIVE than being PERFECT.
We often tend to be perfect in whatever we choose to do but perfectionism is an ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality, which often acts as a hindrance.
We believe that either we should do it in the most perfect manner or we shouldn’t do it at all – but that’s not how it should be!
While we keep waiting (read: procrastinating) for the perfect time to get a particular work done, we just tend to delay it ‘coz there’s nothing really as a perfect time!
Know that if you take it up now, give your best shot and focus on working with excellence – then this, right now, is the perfect time to get it done.
So, why procrastinate?
“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin.
The key to beating procrastination is to understand that procrastination is rooted in emotions and there are a lot of distractions around us, which we keep fueling, knowingly or unknowingly.
So now is the time to shed of that extra baggage of stress and follow these simple steps to motivate ourselves & beat procrastination!
Do you procrastinate as well?
Have any coping methods that you wanna share with us? Write down in the comments below, ‘coz we’re all eagerly waiting to know.