To be completely honest, I myself procrastinated writing this article. So much for giving advice on how to stop it. But that’s what being human is. Procrastination is part and parcel of our make-up. We can’t help but postpone tasks that are difficult. However, much like our cravings for French fries and ice cream, if we let it take over our lives, it will destroy us. We need to learn to keep it at bay so that we can still get things done when we need to. I mean, this article did meet its dateline after all, see my point? So here are some tips to stop procrastinating and tame the flame of procrastination that burns in all of us.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #1: See the bricks, not the wall
There is no way you can swallow an entire piece of steak in one go. Hence the reason we cut it up into small pieces, to make it easy for us to chew then swallow. In the same way, your work may seem like a tsunami that will sweep you to the pits of hell if you even begin to work on it. But break it down to bite-sized pieces, and things may not seem so bleak. So, the first rule of procrastination: Make simple the complex. Remind yourself of the project’s objective, come up with tasks that will bring yourself towards that goal, then break down those tasks till their simplicity gets you thinking “Gee, this is so straightforward, I might as well just do it right away!” Now, you have your first weapon to combat procrastination.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #2: Environment control
It is possible, that the reason to your procrastination is your lack of workplace comfort. Maybe that chair you’re sitting in is giving you a backache, constantly taking your mind off focus, derailing your thoughts and attention. On the other hand, perhaps the problem lies with you being too comfortable. You’re working on your bed maybe, in such a cosy atmosphere that you’re perpetually drifting off. The point is, your working environment is vital to your productivity. If your workspace is a distraction, it’s time to change it for the better.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #3: Eliminate your procrastination pit-stops.
What is the Achilles heel to your current of concentration? What ebbs your flow? Is it Facebook? Youtube? Your spouse? (if you work from home). Acknowledge it. Then take measures to limit its distraction on your work. If it’s social media, turn off your internet periodically. If it’s a person, communicate that you need distance during your working hours to fully engage with the work that you’re doing. If you’re not striving to eliminate your distractions, you are willingly staying under their control and your productivity will slowly be extinguished.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #4: Create a trail of treats
You know the carrot on a stick you dangle in front of a donkey to urge it to keep moving forward? Well, time to apply the same trick to your procrastination. Think up rewards for every section of the work you get done. For example, if your task was to read a whole page of boring text, place gummy bears at the end of each paragraph. That way, you’ll look forward to finishing a paragraph, to eat the treat at the end of it!
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #5: Seek out sources of motivation
I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with significantly influence our behaviours, sometimes rather subconsciously. So, hang out more with people in your life that you admire, the go-getters and hard workers, and pretty soon you find yourself inculcating their drive and spirit.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #6: Go further, together
If you know someone with the same goals as you, or even the same aim to reduce procrastination, team up with them! People go farther together, so tell your partner your goals and allow her to hold you accountable to them and vice versa. This mutual accountability will spur the both of you to keep on taking action.
Ways to Stop Procrastinating #7: Just do it!
You know that realization you get midway into your procrastination? That moment where you think to yourself “Oh man, the work is never going to get done.” Snap out of it! Reality check: I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and just do it. Because if you don’t, no one else will.