You have a big project and you know you should be finishing it, but instead you found at least twenty things to do like watching your all-time favorite YouTube videos, sorting photos from the early 2000s while laughing at your fashion choices, etc. My dear reader, welcome to the dark world of procrastination.
We all procrastinate at some time or other, but that doesn’t mean it's okay to wait until the last minute to get things done. In fact, procrastinating is a waste of time and we know no one can give us back the hours we lost. The "I'll do it later" mantra is dangerous, but we have few methods to end this miserable habit.
Are You A Chronic Procrastinator?
It's not an easy thing to admit that you have wasted so much time, but what makes the matter worse is that you are losing self-esteem, delaying your sleep pattern and derailing your career.
Furthermore, it leads to more shame and quilt making you procrastinate even more and getting you stuck in a circle of self loathing. While some see it as pure laziness, procrastination is actually the fear of failure, the fear of success or the fear of making mistakes. So what do we do with fear? We face it and we push through with a little help, of course.
1. The List
The first step, after admitting you procrastinate, is to take a notebook and start writing your goals. Set a reasonable time limit. Then break down every goal into smaller tasks with a timeline.
2. Set the Alarm
Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or an office worker, make sure you get enough sleep. It is important to give your life more structure and it all starts with good night sleep.
3. Save the Best for Last
Take a look at your list of tasks and identify which one you dread the most - that's the task you should tackle first. Knowing that you’ve handled the most difficult task is the best motivation to finishing the whole list or moving to the next one.
Scrolling through social media seems harmless enough, but once we lose our focus - we are going back to non-productivity and we feel guilt and shame over losing more time. If you know that time management is your problem, stay away from distractions.
Put your phone on silent. Tell people not to bother you and just work.
5. Find Your Time
Are you more motivated in the morning or evening? Which time of day suits you the best? Find the hour when you are most productive and do the most challenging thing at that time.
6. Take a Break
If you're feeling stuck, your mind is wandering, you can't concentrate, you are getting nothing done; you need a healthy break. That break doesn’t mean you should just go back to procrastinating. It means you go and take a walk, do some meditation or exercise. In some cases, you are just tired and you might need power nap.
7. Forget Perfection
People who procrastinate are often perfectionists. In fact, looking for perfection will lead to more procrastination and we all know how it ends. Learning to be average or just getting things done is tricky, but that’s why the next step is important.
8. Reward Yourself
Every time you finish a task, treat yourself. In this scenario, you are like a puppy and you are learning to sit or roll over. The reward is small, but it is there and you deserved it.
9. Think: ”So What”
So what if you do end up procrastinating again? Maybe your list wasn’t planned well or you simply fell into a trap. Just pick yourself up and start again.
10. Talk, Listen, Share
Just talking won’t fix your problems, but it will make them more real. Talk to a family friend or a partner about that need to delay things. It is far more common than we want to admit it and we all do procrastinate. Ask them to check up on your progress or install an app called Procraster.
While it clearly affects your work life the most, procrastination is ruining your social life as well. But don’t judge yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself. Simply, try to do better.