Everyone has had to deal with procrastination at some point or another. Think about the time you spent scrolling through social media rather than working on your project. However, for some people, overcoming procrastination is a constant struggle.
Procrastination comes from a deeply seated belief that you have more time in your hands than you really do. Unlike laziness, procrastination is an active process of choosing to do other easier and less important tasks rather than what you should be doing.
This is why procrastination has been described as the “thief of time”. Another reason why we procrastinate is that we think the task is too difficult or uninteresting. So we choose other more interesting but unimportant tasks instead.
People who do not procrastinate are more productive and less stressed. They also sleep better and are generally healthier than procrastinators. Procrastinating for long periods could make you disillusioned and demotivated.
Here are a few tested and trusted strategies to rob the thief and remain highly productive every day.
Have a plan
Draw up a schedule of your tasks and prioritize each one. Create a workable timeline for each task. I find that when I set a personal deadline for a project, I can finish it well ahead of schedule and don’t have to be under any pressure. Having a plan also helps you to manage your time wisely.
Do the most difficult tasks first
To avoid procrastination, it is important to get started with the most difficult task first. Breaking the task into smaller chunks makes it less intimidating and more achievable.
Each of these smaller tasks should have their timeframe. For instance, whenever I have a major article to write on, I write a few paragraphs every day to make sure I complete it well ahead of schedule.
Have an accountability partner.
Now that you have a plan and have broken down your seemingly huge task into smaller bits, you need an accountability partner. An accountability partner is one who will ensure that you get up and get going to be able to complete your task.
They will ensure that you stick to your plan rather than put it off for later. They will push you, even when you don’t feel like doing that job. Having an accountability partner is invaluable in overcoming procrastination.
Ditch the excuses
Excuses are the bedrock of procrastination. Sometimes, you hear yourself say things like; “I will do it later”, “I’m not in the mood for it yet”, “Let me just relax a bit and then I will do it”. “There is still plenty of time”, “I work better under pressure”.
Each of these is an excuse to procrastinate. Once you hear these excuses, refuse to permit yourself to postpone your task. Get up and get it done.
Giving yourself a little reward after completing a task on time is very helpful. For instance, you could decide to binge-watch a Netflix series only after cleaning your house or eat a bowl of ice-cream only after completing a chapter of a book. Having something to look forward to tricks your brain into doing what is necessary to get that reward.
Overcoming procrastination may seem daunting at first, but the rewards are far-reaching. The next time you find yourself faced with an unpleasant task, apply these strategies and you will find that you procrastinate much less often. Making you a happier, more fulfilled and more productive person.