At a point in our lives, we might have had those moments of panic when we realize we had a task to do but we had put it off until the last minute now our brains are on fire trying to get what could have been done in a month accomplished in one day. At times it may not be something as big, but the little tasks like exercise, eating healthy, calling family etc. that we tell ourselves to do, but then it’s going on two weeks and we still haven’t gone to the gym. Procrastination is something we have been acquainted with at a point in our lives, it is stressful and strips productivity at times yet we find ourselves in the same old cycle.
Here are some ways we can tackle procrastination:
- Recognize why you are procrastinating
There are different reasons why we may be procrastinating. Sometimes, procrastination can stem from a fear of failure for the task ahead, we worry of the outcome not being good enough or less than perfect, so we decide to put it off. Other times, we might be procrastinating due to problems with time management, when we have so much to do it is hard not to hold some off for later, and this leads to a sort of domino effect and we can never get things done at the right time. Laziness or our work ethic can also be a cause, sometimes people feel they work best under pressure so they hold off till the last minute for their genius, or are even too lazy and lack the motivation to even start. Whatever it might be once we acknowledge the reason; we would better be able to watch out for those moments we are procrastinating, and this gets us a step closer to solving the problem.
- Try to be an anti-procrastinator
What does it mean to be an anti-procrastinator? Unlike a procrastinator like the name implies anti- anti-procrastinators are people that get things done once they are given. Call mom – done, write a spreadsheet-done. Read a book- done. They have better time management skills, and avoid piling tasks. They try to complete the task immediately when it comes into their head, and live by saying don’t keep up till tomorrow what can be done now. In the long run it is easier and healthier to be like this. But it is not as easy as it sounds. We can start by trying to make a conscious effort to check the boxes immediately when they arrive on the list, especially for short term goals. The aim is not to be perfect; the aim is just to start.
- Set deadlines
Deadlines are like the borders that keep everything neat and tidy. Without them there is a mess. It is scientifically proven that people tend to take tasks more seriously when it has a definite expiration date. When we set realistic deadlines, our mind pushes us to get them done and then we feel dopamine that comes with accomplishing the task.
- Break large goals into smaller and manageable steps
Sometimes we think it is best to set big goals and try to achieve them all at once. We wait for the perfect time to accomplish our goals and one thing for sure is that the perfect time is never now. The key is to break them down into smaller and start on each step. Let’s say you want to write a book rather than waiting for the moment when you receive inspiration to finish the book in one sitting, maybe start with a chapter a week. When we start small the whole task begins to seem less daunting. It also helps to take the hardest of those steps first, as it makes the task seem lighter and easier to accomplish as we progress.
- Develop Habit
There is nothing like the power of a good habit. Habits take time to form and likewise can be hard to let go. Why not start by developing a non-procrastinating one? As the months go by you will find yourself being more comfortable with the routine of getting things done immediately and making procrastinating a thing of the past. Some books I can recommend to help with habit forming are ‘The Now Habit’ by Neil Fiore and ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. An honorable mention is ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck. All these reads are helpful ways to get you started on a train to a better and productive lifestyle.
Written by: Claire Mabia