We all procrastinate from time to time. We delay tasks that we find too hard or too tedious. We promise ourselves to start jogging in the mornings but keep leaving it to another day. We buy books, but we never get around to reading them. Generally, putting things off from time to time isn’t something to be worried about. Chronic procrastination, however, can gravely hinder our productivity. It can also have a negative effect on our health, causing insecurity, frustration, anxiety, stress, and even depression. Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome this bad habit once and for all. Here are some of the ways you can do it.
1.Break difficult tasks into digestible pieces
Whenever we face a task that appears too difficult or too lengthy, we start to panic. It seems too much for us to handle. The solution is to break this daunting task into several smaller chunks or into short time intervals. For instance, you don’t have to write that long report in one sitting. Put a timer for 15 minutes and write until it goes off. Then take a break. Distract yourself. Do some stretches or have a cup of tea. After 5 minutes do another 15 minutes of writing. This simple technique will allow you to finish your task in no time.
- Don’t strive for perfection
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having standards and polishing your work. Perfectionism, however, is one of the key reasons people tend to procrastinate. Perfectionists often fear making a mistake, and this fear is what forces them to put off important tasks and kills their productivity.
The solution is to lower your standards a bit. Striving for perfection puts unnecessary pressure on you, and it’s important to realize that in order to try and change your mindset. Concentrate on getting your task done, not on achieving perfection. Setting realistic goals is the key to achieving them in time.
- Set up your workspace
The physical environment plays a significant role in our productivity. Organize and clear your workspace so no clutter gets in the way. Eliminate any distractions such as social media, magazines, and television. Make sure the lighting is good and your chair is comfortable. Get a water bottle or make yourself some tea. It’s important to figure out what setup works best for you and to customize it to suit your needs so you can fully concentrate on your task.
- Promise yourself a reward
A reward waiting for you at the end of a difficult task can be a great motivation. What’s more, it can help you get rid of procrastination once and for all. Getting a reward for your efforts causes the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine, to spike in your brain. By consistently rewarding yourself, you establish a link in your mind between an accomplishment and a subsequent gratification. This will make you more eager to undertake a new task in the future.
- Be patient with yourself
Being patient with yourself is as much important as being patient with others. It’s essential to realize that almost everyone struggles with procrastination from time to time. Blaming yourself for being disorganized or lazy can trigger anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions that will make you even less productive. What you can do instead is admit to yourself that you tend to procrastinate and make a conscious effort to work on overcoming this habit.