Most of us put something off until the last minute at least once in our lives. But if this post on how to stop procrastinating caught your eye, you may have a problem. If so, you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle with procrastination and we can help.
So here goes. Are you ready to take control of your life?
So you want to know how to stop procrastinating? The struggle is real. Studies show people who procrastinate have higher levels of stress. Yet up to 95 percent of college students say they procrastinate on a regular basis. This affects millions of people every day, and it’s not just a matter of poor time management.
To learn how to stop procrastinating, we first need to know why we do it.
We tend to put off things that we don’t necessarily have to do right this minute. It is human nature for us to avoid doing work that doesn’t seem necessary until the last moment. Some people are better than others at knocking out tasks on time or ahead of schedule. But the rest of us tend to make more bad excuses than progress.
We will take a look procrastination and offer tips on how to get back on track. These should help you make progress on your objectives, projects, and deadlines. Waiting until the last possible minute has adverse effects not only on our work but on our bodies as well.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is a habit. When you keep putting off tasks, work or mundane things for an indefinite period of time, you are a procrastinator. It doesn’t have to stay that way. You suffer mental and physical side effects of procrastination.
Not only will you feel better, but you will also be more productive and have more free time when you stop procrastinating. You will also feel better, be better rested and have less stress.
Procrastination isn’t the same thing as being lazy. When you procrastinate, you make a mental choice to do one task over another one. Usually, the task we do accomplish is something we would rather do for whatever reason. This can be something as simple as making a phone call or taking a nap instead of writing a book report.
In other instances, we may have too many ongoing projects and decide to save the most difficult or time to consume for last. When it comes time to work on the last task, we may feel disinterested or distracted. We could be too tired or overworked and put the final task off to recharge by doing something else.
Procrastination can be avoided, and we have the tips to help you overcome the affliction of procrastination.
Let’s take a look at why people procrastinate.
How to Know You Suffer from Procrastination
Some forms of procrastination may be harder to recognize than others. It is easy to see when we have a single task to complete and we just simply don’t do it. However, not all types of procrastination are as easily spotted.
Often times our daily schedules are full and we tend to over-schedule our personal pr professional to-do lists. When this happens, we will obviously procrastinate. It doesn’t mean we don’t get anything done, or we opt to sit on the couch with a cup of tea instead of doing our chores, it just means we have to choose something to put off until we can find time to get it done.
So how can we turn it around, get our tasks done, accomplish our goals and meet our deadlines without added stress, pressure or forgetting anything? How do we stop procrastinating?
Tips on How to Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination, as stated, is a habit. It isn’t one that is easily broken. However, there are things you can do to turn the bad habit into a good one that produces a better result. Here’s how.
Change Your Routine
If you do your work, or your chores or assignments in the same order, the same time and the same place every time, change it up.
There aren’t many rules about where or how we accomplish our tasks. If you have the ability to change your scenery, you will be more of a mind to get things done. Doing homework on your bed, for example, may result in you laying down, getting comfortable and working slower, eventually stopping to do something else.
If you move your location to the kitchen table, you won’t be able to get comfortable on the bed. Changing your scenery will also prevent you from allowing your mind to wander to familiar settings.
Create a Timeline
Having goals is fine, but creating a timeline to achieve those goals is even better. When you outline your goals, you accomplish a few objectives all at once.
First, you have a personal deadline that you are willing to follow. Since you created it, you are more likely to follow it. Opposed to having a timeline created by someone else, you won’t focus on why the timeline is set out like it is. You will have fewer things to think about and will be able to focus on the tasks.
Second, you will have effectively broken your objectives up into smaller manageable chunks. Having small goals are easier to obtain. You get a sense of accomplishment when you can check off smaller goals in a timelier manner. Instead of having to wait until the entire project is complete to mark it off, you actually see physical progress and the entire process becomes easier.
When you create a timeline, you have the ability to see the next step in the process and are more likely to work towards that next goal, instead of watching the clock worrying about when you have to be there.
Eliminate Your Distractions
In the digital world, we do a lot of our work on the computer, and those computers are connected to the internet. We can have multiple tabs open to various social media sites and other forms of digital distractions.
Close the browsers, turn off the mobile apps. Take the necessary steps to eliminate digital distractions. You don’t need to worry about missing anything; your friends status updates are still going to be there when you finish your work. You can still share the cat video and like the baby pictures.
If you generally watch TV or listen to music for “background noise,” it may be a distraction instead. If you find yourself singing along or pausing to watch the loud commercial that just popped on, you aren’t doing your work.
Try removing all distraction points, close the doors, turn off the electrical devices, radios, and TVs. You will find that you can focus more on your work and if you have a favorite program or sporting event being televised in a couple of hours, you will be more likely to push through and get your work done ahead of time, instead of trying to do both at the same time.
Take Breaks But Resume
Taking a break is important. Some follow strict break rules. However, like taking a vacation from work, it can be difficult to return. Find a way to make sure you get back on track in a reasonable amount of time.
Plan your breaks when there isn’t anything else you need to do. You don’t want to plan a 10-minute break right before lunch. You will stop working and then decide that lunch is so close you may as well go eat before getting back to it.
If you have other time-sensitive obligations, make sure your breaks align with them so that you aren’t taking extra breaks. Do you need to take the dog on a 10-minute walk before picking the kids up from school? Don’t take your break five minutes before you need to walk the dog.
You should take a ten to 15-minute break every hour. Get up, stretch and walk around. Keep the blood flowing and your mind and eyes sharp. Set an egg timer, or an alarm on your phone. When the alarm goes off, take your break, reset the alarm and get back to work.
If you find that your breaks are being extended, reset the egg timer or alarm for the duration of your break and when it goes off get right back to work. Once you have a habit of working and taking regular breaks, you will be more energized and willing to finish than if your breaks are random and unscheduled.
Getting enough sleep, enough rest away from the work source, as well as proper nutrition, your body will be more engaged, your brain will be more alert, and you can focus easier on the task at hand. Eat right, sleep at night and take your regular breaks.
Here’s WellCast’s video on how to stop procrastinating in three simple steps.
Following these tips is just a start. You need to be aware of what is causing your procrastination. If it is a simple distraction, eliminate the distractions. Make a schedule and a timeline to break your projects up into manageable pieces.
Eat right and get enough rest. This includes taking regular breaks and keeping yourself on the clock. Manage your time, stay focused and distraction free. If you find you still procrastinate you need to take the time and step back, evaluating the causes of your procrastination. When you find causes take steps to eliminate them. You will find that eventually, you won’t procrastinate as much, and your daily life will be easier and more manageable.
Featured image: CC0 Public Domain Sarah Richter Art via Pixabay.