What is procrastination?
Procrastination is defined as voluntarily delay of an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.
In other words, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones.
How to stop procrastinating?
Even though it’s human nature to seek for immediate rewards and procrastinate, this can be beaten with enough willpower. Here are some tips on how to break the procrastination cycle.
- Take planned breaks
The human brain isn’t designed to work continuously on the same task for a long period of time and this could be a reason for procrastination.
Make sure you take regular breaks away from your task, thus you come back refreshed and ready to be more productive.
You can start a 25-minute timer, during this time you give the best you’ve got and then you have a 5-minute break, after that, you start again with a 25-minute timer and so on.
2. Reward yourself
It’s important to reward yourself for achieving your tasks and goals, even the small ones. It creates a sense of motivation and you feel good that you’ve done something productive. Make your reward proportional to the task you completed so getting a bite-sized task done gets you a cup of your favourite coffee or snack. Then plan a weekend away for the bigger goals.
- Break your task into little steps
Part of the reason why humans procrastinate is because subconsciously, we think that the tasks we have to do are too overwhelming and big for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down to even smaller tasks.
It’s best to focus on the current phase and get it done without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, you move on to the next.
- Change your environment
Different environments have a different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or you feel bored, or stressed maybe? If your working space doesn’t motivate you, then it’s time to change it.
- Eliminate your procrastination stops
If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy for you to procrastinate.
Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder which is less accessible. Disable your notifications when you work. Get rid of the distractions around you.
- Hang out with people who inspire you
If you spend 10 minutes talking to Bill Gates, for example, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you do nothing 10 minutes.
The people we are with influence our behaviours and habits. Try to identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you and hang out with them more often.
Sooner or later, you’ll feel motivated and inspired to do more.
You cal also communicate with such kind of people via social networks.
- Tell others about your goals
Tell all your friends, colleagues, and family about your projects and goals. Whenever you see them, most probably, they’ll ask you about your status on those projects.
This is a great way to keep yourself accountable to your plans.
- Seek out someone who has achieved the outcome
What is it you want to accomplish, and who are the people who have achieved this thing already? Try to find them and connect with them. Seeing proofs that your goals are achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action and motivation.
- Re-clarify your goals
Often we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.
Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good) and take some time to understand yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that?
When you answer these questions, your goals will be clear and you’ll know what do to achieve them.
- Just do it
You can do all the strategising, planning and hypothesising, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen, and you won’t achieve your dream target.
Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.