Procrastination is a struggle everyone deals with. From teachers to students, it’s something that affects everyone differently. As a chronic procrastinator, there are many things I often struggle to do, especially meeting deadlines. When there are too many tasks piling up, it gets difficult to efficiently focus and follow through with one task.
Procrastination can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Untreated mental distress can negatively impact your daily life. Disorders like ADHD also make it very difficult to complete a task. For that reason, I’ve put together a list that I think would be beneficial for all procrastinators, even if their reasons for procrastination are different.
Beating Procrastination with These 10 Simple Tricks
1. Understand why you're procrastinating Understanding the root cause of your procrastination will be very beneficial to stop procrastinating. Prompting yourself with questions about ‘Why do I procrastinate?’, ‘Is it a task that I dislike?’, ‘How can I efficiently manage all my tasks?’ Of course, it will be a different set for everyone, but it is a good mental exercise to get started on your journey.
2. Make a to-do list Make a physical to-do list. Whether it is writing it down on your notes app, putting it in a notepad, or even buying a fancy planner, these things are incredibly beneficial for getting past that wall of procrastination. Creating a visual list that you can see is a great way to remind yourself of every task you need to finish. Physically writing something out also helps with memory retention, and it's a great way to ensure that you do not forget any critical tasks.
3. Outline rewards Rewards are important when dealing with procrastination. Rewards can be something like treating yourself to a good meal after successfully completing a task. They can also be small things like 15 minutes of scrolling through your phone. Rewards are great motivation to finish tasks on time.
4. Put away distractions All procrastinators are aware that even the tiniest speck of dust can be the biggest distraction in the world. Identify your distractions; is it your phone, pets, friends, books, etc.? Identifying your distractions and putting them away for the time it would take you to complete your task is very important to avoid procrastination successfully.
5. Create a timeline If you are familiar with any game show, you are aware of how the tension rises every time the time is getting closer and closer to running out. That adrenaline is what gives them the last push they need to complete whatever task is given to them within the time limit. We can use that technique to motivate ourselves when we REALLY need to meet a specific deadline. Creating your own timeline in terms of mapping things out to do on an hourly basis is very beneficial for keeping yourself in check.
6. Put the worst task first When you make your to-do list, it is imperative that you put the worst task to the top. Spending your day dreading the task will hinder your ability to complete other projects. It is also easier to get it done immediately as you start your day so that you can go through your day with the peace of mind that the worst is already over.
7. Get started As is the case, with most things, starting is the hardest part. Most procrastinators struggle the most with getting started on their work. Once you start doing it, you realize that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Once you have the ball rolling on a project, it is also easier to follow through and complete it in a timely manner. As the age old saying goes, ‘Well begun is half done.’
8. Ask someone to check-in If you struggle with accountability, asking someone to check in on you can be really helpful when you want to get something done. It could be a friend, your parent, significant other, or even our community here at Now&Me. When you know that you will be answerable for why a task is not complete, it tends to keep your procrastination in check.
9. Remind yourself why procrastinating stresses you out One of the most important things to do when trying to avoid procrastination is to remind yourself why procrastination is harmful to you. Contrary to popular belief, procrastinators aren’t lazy; we are aware that we have a task to do and not being able to do it causes grave anxiety. Reminding yourself of the anxiety and stress you face when procrastinating is a great incentive to stop and get started on whatever task you have at hand.
10. Be kind to yourself All in all, no tips and tricks in the world will work if you don't give yourself room to breathe. Even with the most watertight foolproof plan, things go awry; even if you create a solid schedule, there are chances of old habits taking over. In moments like those, remind yourself that it's okay and then try again harder next time.
How do you deal with procrastination? Share your tips with our community at Now&Me, or find like minded people to work together