Before doing that one important task, you should read this (and this) article first.
You know it, don’t you? You should probably start working on that paper soon but something or someone is holding you back. You keep thinking about the deadline which is inching in slowly, and you know the consequences of not starting now, yet, you can’t seem to collect enough energy to perform the task.
Luckily for us, procrastination is a changeable state of mind, so overcoming it is not impossible. Here is a list of things you should try to do to overcome this problem.
- KNOW YOURSELF
Before anything, you should try to find out what makes you procrastinate. What triggers this behavior and how can you avoid in the future? Do you procrastinate because you accept too many requests? Or is the task simply boring or too hard to manage? If you know what causes this problem, you can finally begin to tackle the real issue here.
- SET UP TIMES
Often, poor organization leads to procrastination. Set up a schedule for when you will finish a task and follow that plan. Buy a calendar to set up different dates for when you are going to work – this will give you a broad overlook on how much time you can spend on a task before a deadline. This will make you avoid stress and improve the quality of your work. Winning!
- DO NOT MULTITASK
Multitasking is not a thing, so don’t try it. Multitasking by definition, means to give two or more tasks all your attention, which is not possible without performing worse in one of the tasks or all of them. The correct term for this would be “switch-tasking”, but nevertheless, it is bad and you shouldn’t do it. Some scientist even suggests that it is bad for your health, because it makes your brain shift its attention constantly on the different tasks you got – ultimately exhausting it more quickly. The safe option is to give all your attention to one task only and eliminate all sources of distraction.
- WORK IN PRODUCTIVE ENVIRONMENTS
If you got the option, work in a productive environment by all means! Having a buddy to remind you to work can easily improve and strengthen your work ethic. As for me when I work alone, I don’t slap myself enough for pushing away work. But now that I got a partner on this blog, for example, I work so much efficiently! Having an accountability partner makes you not go back on your word and promises, and reinforces the seriousness of the task.
- DISTRIBUTE BIG WORK
If you have a big project coming up, you should distribute work evenly on a planner. If a task as whole, seems big and daunting, you should consider dividing it up. One of the greatest investments in my life till now, was buying a calendar. With a calendar, it gives me a sense of control over time. How I use it for this particular tip is to make sure I do at least a small chunk of work every day. Dividing up the big task into smaller ones (and giving those tasks their own day on the calendar to work with) will ensure I spend quality time with every step of the task.
- DISCOVER WHAT IS FUN
Sometimes, you might land on a boring gig. Then hell, everything becomes tiresome. Sitting down in front of your desk, turning on your computer, opening an app, and urgh! In some mysterious way, these simple movements now require ten times more energy to do. What can we really do about it? If anything, you should trick yourself to think that what you do is super fun. Yes, even though deep down in your heart, it might be gut wrenching to complete this particular gig, you just got to do it. Think of your favorite celebrities and their early days of working. Most of them couldn´t pick and choose what work they wanted to do. You are sort of in the same position right now as they were, back then. Find inspiration in that or try to relate yourself to the work you´re doing. Work hard enough to become your own boss one day.
- BE REALISTIC
It is important to set yourself up for success, but know your limits for the sake of your sanity. When performing tasks, look for ways that can make the task easier for you. Set reasonable targets and only increase the difficulty when you’re comfortable with the current level you are on. Strive for success and don’t forget that change won’t happen overnight.
- TREAT YOURSELF
Just like a training a puppy, you should reward yourself when you accomplish a task and punish yourself if you fail at one. Treat yourself with a chocolate when you manage to do one thing right and somewhere, somehow in your brain, it will make you excited and eager to finish the next task. It has to do something with chemicals in your brain I suppose, but it works.
I got to admit, meanwhile while writing this article, I did the opposite of all these tips…