I am doing it right now. I’m procrastinating. In fact, some days I could be crowned the Queen of Procrastination. I should be writing this blog. Instead, I’m checking my email, scanning Facebook and playing Candy Crush.
We all procrastinate. We have a deadline looming, and we know we should be working, but we somehow manage to find other things to do.
Procrastination is a bad habit. When we procrastinate, we get less done. We are preventing ourselves from achieving greater things in life. Think of how much more you could accomplish if you just got it done.
Here are 8 ways you can overcome procrastination and get more done:
The longer you put off starting a project, the more overwhelming it can seem. So, just start. Make an outline of what you need to do. Create a task list to get your mind organized. Once you’ve taken that first step, the project will be less scary.
For instance, for this blog, I chose my topic a week before it was due. I did some online research and gathered my thoughts so that I would be ready start writing.
Do the hard part first
Maybe you have a list of five tasks you need to accomplish today. Choose the hardest one to start on first. It will probably be the task you are dreading the most. For instance, you might have to make a phone call that you aren’t comfortable doing. Just jump in and do it. Otherwise, you will be distracted by the phone call while you are trying to accomplish other things.
Break it down
Part of the reason we procrastinate is because we find the task as a whole to be overwhelming. You may have a really big project to do. Maybe it’s a large 20-page report you need to compile for work. Start by creating an outline for the report. Once you have a guideline for your report, it can be easier to break it down and work on each section. You will find the project is much more manageable in sections and not as daunting as you first thought.
If you are easily distracted by texts or emails, turn your phone off and silence your email alerts. Close out your Internet browser, of if you are using the Internet for your task, then close any extra tabs or windows that may distract you.
Change your location
If you work in an office with an open floor concept, you may need to relocate to a conference room or another area where you can block out distractions. Because I work primarily at home, I typically work at my kitchen table. I like to be in the central part of the house. However, it’s also a mecca of distractions. There’s the refrigerator, a huge patio window with a great view, and the TV is right in the next room. If I want to get serious about a task, I have to go to my office in the basement. No food, no windows and no TV. But, less procrastination.
Give yourself deadlines
You may not have a specific deadline for a project. This is like Kryptonite for a procrastinator. You will be rendered immobile. The task will be constantly put off for more urgent and exciting projects. Give yourself a deadline and mean it!
Even if you have a deadline, you may be lulled into a false sense of security because the deadline seems so far off. You need to give yourself deadlines for those tasks you set to break the project down into manageable pieces. Then, you will be on track to reach your final deadline.
Just do it
The hardest part is getting started. So, jump in. When I start writing on a new project, sometimes the first sentence is the most difficult. I want it to be creative, brilliant and inspiring. The next thing I know, I’ve been sitting and staring at the screen, or I end up walking away to do something else. To avoid procrastinating, I just write something – even though it may not be the best start. I can always go back and edit it as the content takes shape. But if I agonize over that first sentence too long, I may become blocked.
I find that I can be motivated by bribery. If I’m avoiding starting a task, I bribe myself with something I want. Maybe I can get a snack when I’m done. Or, maybe I can play online games for 15 minutes after I finish. Sometimes it just takes the promise of a reward to get yourself started.
Even with these tips, you will probably still procrastinate from time to time. However, if you become better at recognizing when and why your procrastinate, you can overcome it and get more done! How do you avoid procrastination?