If you’re notorious for procrastination and are looking for ways to improve your productivity, check out our 5 effective steps to help get your creative juices flowing.
Why do people procrastinate?
We are all too familiar with procrastination. It has been described as Akrasia or akratic action – ‘a way to act against our better judgement’.
Some of us even use procrastination as a coping mechanism to avoid tackling a task that appears way too overwhelming to even begin, let alone complete successfully.
If you find yourself stating on the daily, ‘I procrastinate too much’, the next steps will teach you how to stop procrastination in the workplace, or how to stop procrastinating and study if you are a student.
every year procrastinating
1. Think about your environment
If you are the ultimate procrastinator, you will know the lengths that you will go to, to avoid actually tackling the task that needs to be done. I know personally, I can get quite creative in the way I procrastinate. As soon as I sit down to complete a task, I get the sudden urge to have a snack, clear out my emails and organise my sock drawer.
The key here is to situate yourself in an environment where you will not be tempted to stray from your task. Different setups can influence your productivity. Whether it’s setting yourself up in a different part of the house, or even venturing out to the library or a local cafe, sometimes a change of scenery can stimulate a newfound motivation that your old workspace just wasn’t doing.
However, sometimes you have no control in your environment, which is when you need to revisit what exactly stops you from focusing. For example, most people are limited to their office desk when working. If this is the case, really narrow down what hinders your productivity. Going back to my snacking problem, I know that if I am even the slightest bit hungry all productivity stops for me. This is why I make sure my snack drawer is full before really buckling down to complete a task.
It’s really about knowing yourself, and combating the little distractions you encounter.
2. Eliminate Distractions
In a digital word that is constantly buzzing with pings and beeps, it’s no wonder procrastination is a problem. If you know yourself to be one to pick up your phone as soon as a notification comes through, it’s as simple as popping your phone on its ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, flipping it face-down onto your desk and continuing on. If you’re still tempted, move it into another room away from where you are working to avoid using it as a tool for procrastination.
If you are working on a computer, there are various extensions that you can download for your browser, specifically designed to increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. So maybe give that a go if you know that you can’t help yourself.
3. Break your work into bite sized chunks
A common reason for procrastination amongst many, is that subconsciously we believe that the task ahead is too overwhelming for us to complete. To combat this, break your work down into bite sized chunks that you can focus on one at a time. A task can seem less intimidating and easier to approach if you can really envision the steps you need to take in order to complete it. If you still feel overwhelmed by it all, see if you can simplify the tasks even further.
Usually by doing this, your monstrous task can suddenly seem very manageable. When you can put all of your focus into a mini-task, you can complete it more efficiently, and in turn you will feel more accomplished when you’ve finished one and can move on to the next.
4. Set Yourself Goals
Setting goals comes hand in hand with breaking your work into mini-tasks. By knowing what needs to be done within a certain time frame, you are holding yourself accountable to those goals, and nothing feels better than completing your allocated task by its deadline. In doing this, you avoid feeling like you have achieved nothing at the end of the day.
For example, to write the perfect essay, once you’ve applied step 3 and broken your work up you would then set yourself a goal to complete a particular amount of these mini-tasks in your allocated time frame.
5. A 6-Step Checklist to Overcome Procrastination
Finally, use this simple checklist to help to solidify your anti-procrastination method and help guide your efforts:
BONUS TIP: 3 Anti-Procrastination Apps to Motivate You
A self-help app that provides you with custom advice depending on the type of procrastination you are experiencing, to help you get back onto the right track.
You can select from options such as ‘I have to finish’, or ‘I don’t know where to start’.
Once you’ve chosen what is actually the source of your procrastination, the app then provides some encouraging advice based on your answer, as well as a step-by-step process on how to combat your procrastination.
The app also offers statistics for your productivity over the course of its use, which can be handy and stimulate more productivity and motivation.
This app and website blocker blocks distractions, making it easier to focus so you can get your work done. Freedom is great as it eliminates the things that are more enjoyable than completing your task, giving you no choice but to get your work done. It syncs its blocks across all of your devices, and is compatible with Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPad.
It works by its user either starting a session ‘on-the-fly’ or by scheduling in a timeframe in which the app will then block access to things you might waste time on.
Depending on your task, you can modify your blocks to specific websites, apps or even the whole internet. You can also enable a ‘Locked Mode’ to prevent you from ending a block session, for those who really struggle to focus on commitment to their goals.
A simple ‘To-Do’ list can sometimes be all you need to create structure when we don’t have a set plan to complete a task.
Todoist takes you to the next level, with features such as task tracking and task syncing across mobile and desktop devices, you are given a clear overview of everything in your schedule
so that you never lose track of your tasks and goals.
The app helps its user to organise and prioritise tasks,
remember deadlines and build habits, along with the ability
to review the day or the week ahead. You can also measure
your progress with visual data, to really show how your growth and developed over time.
Now that you have all of the tips, tricks and tools to combat your pesky procrastination once and for all, you have no excuses left to stop you from channelling ultimate productivity. Go on and get things done!
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