As human beings, we have an unfortunate tendency to procrastinate. From our earliest days in school, when the prospect of a seemingly daunting assignment looms on the horizon and all we can think of is how much more enjoyable it would be to go play with our friends instead, to that ever-nagging feeling of having just one more episode of our favorite show left before getting some work done, procrastination is something that has been a part of life since the beginning.
And yet despite its ubiquity, most of us still don’t understand why we are so drawn to putting off tasks until the last minute and how this behavior affects our lives. It’s only when we begin to look deeper into this phenomenon that it becomes clear: procrastination isn’t something we should dismiss or ignore–it’s something we need to understand in order to move forward in life.
Procrastination is a phenomenon that has puzzled researchers for decades. On the surface, it may seem like an innocuous habit, but when studied more closely, its effects can be far-reaching and damaging. Those who procrastinate tend to exhibit less productivity and more stress than those who don’t, and it can lead to negative outcomes such as depression and even suicidal thoughts. Despite research suggesting that procrastinators may be hardwired to put off tasks until the last minute, there are some strategies that have proven effective in helping people manage their procrastinating tendencies.
Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but for some people, it can become a serious problem that gets in the way of achieving their goals.
Here are fifteen practical ways that procrastinators can use to stop putting things off and start taking action:
1. Set smaller, achievable goals and break big projects into manageable chunks.
One of the best strategies for procrastinators is to set smaller, achievable goals and break big projects into manageable chunks. By breaking down longer-term projects into smaller tasks that require less effort, it becomes easier for the procrastinator to stay motivated and track their progress. It also reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed by eliminating too much ambiguity from the task at hand, allowing them to focus on more concrete accomplishments and interact with achievable results. Additionally, setting smaller goals can help keep procrastinators motivated as they can see themselves progressing towards each goal incrementally, eventually leading up to the completion of larger, long-term projects or goals.
2. Schedule daily work sessions and set aside specific times for completing tasks.
Knowing you have a certain amount of time each day devoted to working can help prevent the urge to put things off for later. Additionally, it creates a plan for when and how often you’ll work, which in turn gives you the drive and momentum to keep going when things get tough or tedious. When planning ahead, make sure that your daily goals are reasonable and achievable given the amount of time you have allotted for them. This will give you an added sense of accomplishment and motivation as you progress through your tasks.
3. Identify distractions and remove or limit them as much as possible.
Setting boundaries and limits on activities like checking emails, browsing social media, or talking to friends, it eliminates the potential for these activities to become large time-wasters. Additionally, it can help keep you focused on your task at hand by reducing any additional sources of temptation. Taking control of your environment can also have a positive effect, such as opting for a quiet workplace or turning off notifications and alerts that may disrupt your workflow.
4. Make a list of tasks to be done and prioritize them from most to least important or urgent.
Making a list of tasks to be done and prioritizing them from most to least important or urgent is another great way to stay focused and organized while working on projects. Not only does it provide a clear plan of action, but it also allows you to focus on the more pressing items first, while avoiding any unnecessary stress or anxiety due to time constraints. Moreover, this gives you an idea of when certain goals need to be completed by so that you don’t fall behind or wind up procrastinating. When creating your task list, be sure to focus on the specific details for each item in order to give yourself the best chance at staying on track.
5. Track progress toward your goals throughout the day or week by using an app or notebook to record how far you’ve come with each task.
Tracking progress toward your goals throughout the day or week is a great way to stay motivated and keep yourself on track. Using an app or notebook, you can easily record how far you’ve come with each task and use this information as a motivational tool when faced with difficult tasks. Additionally, this allows you to look back at your past accomplishments, giving you the confidence boost you need to take on new challenges.
6. Use positive reinforcement like rewards or treats to motivate yourself when completing difficult tasks or hitting milestones in your projects
Positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate yourself in order to get through difficult tasks or hit milestones in your projects. Small rewards along the way, such as treats or something else you enjoy, can be highly effective in keeping you on track and helping you stay motivated – allowing you to easily overcome any roadblocks that might be in your way. Moreover, these rewards don’t have to break the bank, they can simply be small reminders of how far you’ve come and how much progress you’ve made thus far. Achieving milestones and completing tasks is always rewarding, but the emotional reward of positive reinforcement can be just as powerful!
7. Use deep work periods where you focus on one task at a time without interruption for at least 15 minutes at a time
Taking the time to engage in deep work periods can be a great way to increase productivity and ensure that difficult tasks are completed without interruption. Focusing on one task at a time for at least 15 minutes is a great way to get into the groove of working, allowing you to quickly become engrossed in the task and remain focused. Some people may find themselves getting off track or becoming easily distracted during these periods, so it’s important to have strategies in place to help them stay focused. For example, turning off notifications for your devices or finding songs with lyrics that match your current task and playing them on repeat can help keep you motivated and on track. Deep work periods are essential for completing difficult tasks efficiently!
8. Break up long-term projects into short-term tasks that require less effort and more engagement
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when confronted with daunting projects, so breaking them down into smaller steps is a great way to make it easier on yourself. Short-term tasks require less effort but more engagement as they keep you interested in the project. As you complete each task, you can easily shift your focus to the next one! Breaking up long-term projects allows you to pace yourself and stay motivated – leading the path to success!
9. Ask for advice from trusted friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors who have experienced similar struggles with procrastination
Struggling with procrastination is a common problem, but it can be overcome. Asking for advice from trusted friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors who have experienced similar struggles can provide you with valuable insight on how to stay focused and motivated. Seeking out this kind of mentorship can help keep you on track and set you up for success in the long run.
10. Utilize tools like deadline reminders, calendars, and timers to stay on top of tasks
To help conquer procrastination, it can be helpful to set practical goals and utilize tools such as deadline reminders, calendars, and timers to stay on top of tasks. This will keep you accountable and give you a better sense of structure when accomplishing the tasks at hand. Regularly taking breaks throughout the day can also help manage your workload while keeping motivation levels high.
11. Take breaks throughout the day in order to recharge your batteries but keep them short so they don’t lead to further procrastination
To break up tasks and avoid procrastination, try taking regular breaks throughout the day to refresh your mind and recharge your batteries. Keep these breaks short, however, so that they don’t end up leading to further procrastination. Remember to set achievable goals, rely on helpful tools like timers, and seek advice from mentors in order to stay motivated and focused.
12. Break down daunting tasks into smaller parts then gradually build them up until you complete the entire thing
Breaking down daunting tasks into smaller parts is an effective way to combat procrastination. Taking breaks throughout the day can help recharge your batteries, but be sure to keep them short to prevent further procrastination. Gradually building up each part one by one will make the task more manageable and help you complete it in a timely manner.
13. Find someone else who is also working on a similar task and help hold each other accountable for making progress
Finding someone with similar goals can be extremely helpful in staying motivated and accomplishing tasks. Working together to hold each other accountable makes it easier to stay focused on the task at hand. Setting achievable goals, taking regular breaks throughout the day, and relying on helpful tools like timers can all help you stay productive and make progress toward your goal.
14. Review all materials ahead of time so you are familiar with what needs doing when it comes time to begin working
It’s important to review all materials before beginning work on a task. Familiarizing yourself with what needs to be done makes it easier to stay focused and make progress. It can also help identify any potential pitfalls or difficulties you may face along the way, helping you come up with strategies to overcome them. Taking notes throughout your review process will help make sure that you have everything you need once it comes time to start working.
15. Make sure you take care of yourself both physically and mentally by getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals regularly, exercising regularly, and taking time out for yourself
Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential to staying productive and making progress on tasks. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals regularly, exercising regularly, and taking time out for yourself are all important factors to consider. Additionally, making sure you have a comfortable workspace, taking regular breaks throughout the day, and being mindful of how you are feeling can all help you stay focused and energized.
Procrastination will never lead to success, in fact, it can only lead to frustration, stress, and worse. Taking action is the only way to make progress, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t put off tasks until the last minute, break them down into manageable chunks, set concrete goals with rewards for milestones achieved, and have an accountability partner or group of peers to help you stay on track with your progress. It’s time to put procrastination aside and get started on what needs to be done!