Tomorrow – a word that holds hope.
Tomorrow – also a standard retort for a mother lode of procrastination.
We despise it, along with the extra anxiety that creeps up to say ‘Hello, I’m here… when are you going to pay attention to me?’ However, it seems so difficult to shake it off?
Before we stock our arsenal with a list of ways to conquer procrastination, we need to know how it plays the game on us.
Procrastination is the result of:
- Goals that are not tangible
- Having returns that are too far into the future
- Low self esteem
- Fear of being judged
- Perfectionism (if you can’t do it right, why do it at all?)
- Broken link with future self
Can you identify with any of the above?
Busting procrastination cannot be done cold turkey. There are several ways you can implement that needs willpower and the willingness to eliminate the habit of postponing everything up till the last minute.
1) Break Each Task Into Smaller Pieces
‘Do not bite off more than you can chew’ is a mindset that can be cultivated so you don’t see each task as a mountain to take on. For example, ‘clean the house’ is a good goal to work on to but it is something that is colossal for some. Breaking it down would mean that you should write mini tasks to achieve, like ‘wash dishes in the sink’ and slowly progressing to ‘wipe down the oven’. Breaking it down to the types of action to take will make each task not so daunting. And even if you don’t fulfil the whole ‘clean the house’ goal, at least you’ve got your dishes cleaned – and that is a good start.
2) Take Tiny Steps
Here’s another idiom, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’ and honestly, you need to fight procrastination at every stage. So pace it out and do it one by one. Focus on the one small thing you need to do right now to take you closer to completing the task before thinking about the next step. If you are supposed to write a proposal, start by just doing the first page. Give yourself a pat on the back once it’s done and move on to the second. Soon, you will look back and say hey, that was not so bad after all!
3) Be Publicly Accountable
If you’ve got an important task to complete within a certain timeframe, tell your friends and colleagues about what it is and when you will complete it by. Telling the people around you will serve like a commitment and these people will hold you to your word. Stemming from the need of not wanting to ‘lose face’, you’ll actually (grudgingly or not) force yourself to complete that task within your promised time.
4) Switch off Your Phone (and disconnect from social media on your laptop)
The mobile phone is great for communication but it also serves as the biggest distraction. If procrastination were to be an object, it would be the mobile phone. If you have allocated a time to do a certain task, make sure your phone (and social media notifications on your laptop) is shut off – you do not need to know any status update or scroll anyone’s new photo album. In this quiet time, start to take on your assigned tasks.
These are some ways to increase productivity and cancel out distractions. Fighting procrastination today is tougher than ever; however, the power of the mind has to be strong. Make conditions right for you to start the task ball rolling and you will be poised to work effectively.