Everyone has those days when they’re not feeling like doing that important thing they know they need to do. I am no different. I put off things until tomorrow. And when the time comes I push it even further, hoping that I won’t have to do it at all. But wait, isn’t this the blog about being productive, you may ask? Yes, it is, and that is why I am writing this article. Even though I do put off things, I am slowly getting better at completing them straight away and today I would like to share some tips that help me in the fight with procrastination.
To begin, we need to analyse ourselves and understand the causes of procrastination, only then we can fight it. Here is a list of the main reasons why people tend to postpone their actions:
Fear of failure. Linking the task to our self-worth is often the crucial mistake that leads to deferring a task. We get thoughts of failing the task floating around before even starting. That scares us. Fear leads to not completing the action. That is a bad thing.
Perfectionism. Some people want everything to be perfect. If that is not the case they simply don’t even start. They wait for the perfect time and place or have very high standards to start something, but that never happens because that place does not exist. I’m not saying that being a perfectionist is a bad thing, but make sure you start and work towards perfection rather than have perfect scenarios in your mind and not act upon them.
Lack of self-confidence. People who procrastinate seem to have lower self-esteem and be less confident than others. If you feel down, you may feel that others are better than you and that might stop you from acting.
Lifestyle. It is important to have a balance between work and pleasure. Bad habits such as staying up all night, alcohol or drugs can really distort your plans and make it very difficult for you to get any work done. Being hungover or tired because of sleep deprivation will not help you fight your procrastination.
Emotional and mental health problems. When you’re dealing with a lot of emotions or stress in your life it is really difficult to deal with the important things. This leads up to procrastination and being overwhelmed with the things happening around you. Although no one is immune to emotions, try to stay calm and clear your mind as soon as possible in order to start acting on the stuff that matters.
You’ve got the love for doing nothing. I have written an article about this before and why we tend to spend our time browsing the web instead of working on the things that really matter. If you want to learn more you can read the article here.
As you can now see there is a range of things that might cause you to put off things that should be done. Everyone in life has to go through one or even all of those phases. First of all, if you want to get rid of your procrastinating mindset you should deeply analyse yourself and use these 5 methods to help you overcome this issue:
- Set SMART goals
I have talked about the importance of goals in my previous articles and today is not an exception. Use goals so you would know where you’re headed. And here is what I mean by stating “SMART” goals:
Specific – Goals should be clear. State them so you know what you want to happen.
Measurable – Series of short term measurable goals add up to the overall goal.
Attainable – Set your goals as something you can actually do but don’t set yourself up too high to end up failing.
Realistic – This means that goals should be achievable but not easy. Make your goals results oriented and begin to achieve them slowly.
Timely – Set yourself a deadline as well as a time scale for daily measurements.
Example of a SMART goal:
“I need to write these 3000 words for my school project, therefore I will write uninterrupted for 30 minutes every day for the next week.“
- Expect obstacles and setbacks
We are all human beings so do not expect to be productive all the time. Be prepared to get stuck but when you do, try not to spend time worrying about it too much. Instead, try to find a different approach of solving a problem and continue to work. If you can’t find a way, try to work on something else that would still get you closer towards your goal.
- Use the next 15 minutes
I love this little hack. Right now, stop and ask yourself what can you do in the next 15 minutes to get closer to your desired outcome and do it! This will show you that even the smallest amount of time can really help you to get going. To achieve the highest productivity possible it is recommended to use short time intervals, such as a 15-minute interval. This helps you to overcome any excuses that you might come up with, like tiredness. You won’t become more tired because it will only take 15 minutes of your day!
- Reward yourself
Learn to reward yourself after completing a goal. This doesn’t mean that you should go out drinking or eating junk food. You should get yourself a healthy treat, have an easy exercise or go out with a friend for a walk. Once you feel refreshed, get back to pursuing your goal.
- Learn to understand deeper causes of procrastination
If none of the methods helps and you still don’t feel like doing anything, you might need to look deeper into yourself or seek medical help. I am not a doctor but I can tell you that self-awareness and honesty with oneself can really help you analyse how you feel. By doing that you may find deeper hidden problems which you might need to solve first.
As you can see there are quite a few things that you can do to fight procrastination. However, none of this will work if you don’t actually put any effort in. An action is a key antidote for procrastination and only you can use it to become a better version of yourself.