Procrastination is defined as the deliberate act of delaying or postponing something. We all have procrastinated at some time. It’s easy to procrastinate! There are simply too many things to entice us, especially when doing a task that’s not enjoyable. If you work on a computer, you might start mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed, or get distracted by something on YouTube.
If that sounds like you, you probably have to rush to finish the task you were doing when you got distracted, and possibly regret your procrastination tactics.
Our habitual procrastination can significantly affect our lives. It can derail our productivity. It can hinder us from achieving our goals. Procrastination can also hurt other aspects of our lives, such as decision-making and commitment.
We have control over how we spend our time. Productivity only begins when procrastination stops.
Here’s how we can do it:
Classify Your Tasks
We all have an endless list of chores and activities we need to accomplish, but not all of them are urgent or important.
Take a look at your to-do list and classify your tasks according to the Eisenhower Matrix: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not important and not urgent.
Seeing your tasks in a matrix will help you better determine what order you should do your tasks in, and also help decide how much time you should allow for them. Doing so will lessen the amount of time for procrastination between tasks.
Break an Overwhelming Task Down Into Smaller Steps
One of the common reasons behind procrastination is feeling overwhelmed by a specific task. When a chore gets too tedious and laborious, we tend to lose the drive to push through. One way to overcome this is to break down the overwhelming task into smaller steps and decisively include them into your schedule.
For example, if you have a big presentation coming up in a week, identify which small jobs you can do throughout the week. That way, you don’t feel overwhelmed, pressured, and anxious about what you need to do, which lessens your tendency to procrastinate.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Sometimes, being a perfectionist can be the culprit behind our inclination to procrastinate rather than work on tasks. That’s because we worry we won’t perform as well as we hope. We won’t perform to our perfectionist standards, or we know that the output may not be what we want. Therefore, we don’t feel motivated to work on them, so find ways to stall.
However, you have to understand that no one, not even you is perfect, and your work will always have something that can be improved on. So let go of your perfectionism and focus on putting your best effort into your work.
Not having enough time to do the things that bring you joy can be another reason why you procrastinate and spend precious time on insignificant activities. Give yourself time to relax and enjoy after a long day of working hard. Think of it as a reward for your efforts. Relish on your prize at the end of the day without having to think about what still needs to be done.
You can also take mini-breaks and small rewards throughout the day. But keep them short – otherwise, you might find yourself in the procrastination hole once again. If you need to, make use of your phone’s timer to keep you on track.
This is an obvious one of course. You probably know that scrolling through videos can lead to some major procrastination. What you may not realize is that these social media apps are designed to keep you glued to the screen. The constant stream of content is never-ending and can be difficult to switch off.
So what’s the solution? Simple – put your cellphone away while you work. When your phone is not accessible, you will lessen the chance of constantly checking your news feeds. You can also turn off your notification for these apps so that you don’t get distracted with every update or a new post on your timeline. You don’t need to hear a ping to know that things are still happening while you are not watching. The world never stops!
How we spend our time directly affects how much we get to achieve, whether on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis. Of course, the lure of procrastination will always be there, but if you truly treasure your time you will not end up wasting your time away.