We’ve all been there. Deadlines looming, an urgent and important list of tasks that need to be completed, and you’re sitting on your phone scrolling through social media or the internet. You should be working, but you don’t feel like doing anything.
Minutes and hours pass by; and before you know it, its bedtime.
It’s a problem for all of us, but for some people, procrastination can be the centre of a severe problem. Tasks are only completed when absolutely necessary, they are never completed to the best standard, and then they find themselves stuck into an endless loop of under achievement, and a strange imbalance of laziness and stress.
Here are my top 8 tips for slaying the procrastination demons:
1) Work in little steps.
The problem for many of us is that work looks overwhelming as a whole. That is to say that, in its entirety, there appears to be a lot to do. However, if we break our work into smaller, more manageable chunks, it’s much easier to find perspective. If work is broken into small chunks, you will just decide that you may as well do it because it will hardly take any time at all. I follow this rule all the time, I work regularly in short bursts, and get quite a lot done on a day-to-day basis. Everything becomes much more manageable this way.
2) Change up where you work.
This is a big one for me, every single task I do on a daily basis; I do in a different place. Whether that be standing in my room, sitting at my desk or sat down in my lounge. Changes of environment will jumpstart a changing of your mind. You will also begin to associate certain spaces with certain work; this will make you feel like you have more purpose and a greater obligation to yourself to complete the task at hand.
3) Make a plan.
Planning is so important, and my wall is often littered with them. Having 1 deadline is an opportunity to procrastinate. It gives off a false illusion of time; 1 task in 1 month sounds very manageable, so you’ll put it off until the last-minute. But often, when it comes towards the end of the month, you’ll find that you don’t have the time to complete the task to an excellent standard in time for the impending deadline. To fix this, you need dates, times, specific and simple tasks, and some sort of checklist to see how far you have come. I like to tick little boxes, but you might prefer the sticky pad route.
4) Immerse yourself in inspiration.
Find people who get you going, whether that is in person or through the internet. Find people who inspire you. I spend at least 15 minutes most mornings watching inspirational talks from successful people about their achievements and experience. It gets me going for the day, and I see in them what I want myself to be in the future. That makes me want to go out into the world today and become those things now, rather than to sit about waiting around.
5) Tell other people about your goals.
This is arguably my favourite one. I have a funny little conflict inside of me that I try to capitalise upon regularly. I believe that if I say to people, ‘I am going to do X,’ I have to do it. The moment that you say to someone you’re going to achieve something; you feel an obligation to complete it. This may be because of pride, or simply because you wouldn’t want to let someone down. Of course, you can often set yourself tasks which, in the end, can’t be done for whatever reason. But trust me; the moment you say you’ll do it, you’ll feel a tangible obligation to yourself to fulfil your word.
6) Reaffirm your goals.
This links back a bit to tip 3. Often we find that we are outgrowing our goals, but it is still really useful to reflect over them. It will help you see how far you’ve come, while also helping you to develop the next stages of your action plan. Remember to take the time to consider your goals. What do you want to achieve? What are the steps you need to take? Does your current work align with these goals? If not, what can you do to fix these problems?
7) Stop waiting for the right time.
Perfectionists are often a bit useless. It’s just my opinion, but it based on a great deal of real experience. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, there really is never a right time. Going over things over and over again will only get you so far. In the past I have personally wanted to take action, but have found myself sitting around procrastinating because, fundamentally, I was a bit nervous to actually get started. And so, my last tip is…
8) Get a grip and get-on with it.
Reality check: nobody has ever procrastinated their way to the top. So get-on with it! Use these tips and I can guarantee that you will see results quickly.