How to Stop Procrastinating and Improve Productivity
It’s 3 pm on a Wednesday, and you’re still at your desk. You’ve been there since 8 am, but you haven’t actually done any work. In fact, you can’t even remember what it is that you’re supposed to be working on. Instead, you’ve been checking social media, watching videos on YouTube, and browsing through articles online. You feel like you should be doing something, but you just can’t seem to get started for some reason. Sound familiar? If so, then congratulations! You are a victim of procrastination.
Procrastination can become a problem when it starts to interfere with our daily lives. For example, suppose we’re constantly putting off important tasks in order to do things that are ultimately pointless or unproductive. In that case, it’s probably time to take a closer look at our habits. Additionally, suppose we’re constantly feeling stressed or overwhelmed because we have so much to do and not enough time to do it. In that case, procrastination is definitely an issue that we need to address.
Identify your procrastination triggers:
The first step towards beating procrastination is to identify your triggers. What are some of the things that make you put off getting started? Is it because you don’t know where to start? You’re tired? You’re uncomfortable doing the task at hand? Once you’ve identified these, think about how you can avoid them in the future. For example, if you’re putting off a task because you don’t know where to start, then consider breaking the larger task down into smaller steps that are easier to digest. Maybe try planning out what you need to do first and then working your way from there.
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Challenge negative thoughts:
Once we’ve identified our triggers, the next step is to challenge the negative thoughts that are often associated with them. For example, if you’re putting off getting started because it seems like a daunting task, then one way to stop procrastinating would be to reframe all those “I can’t do this” thoughts into “I can do this.” This is commonly known as ‘reframing.’
Find accountability partners or mentors who can keep you on track:
An accountability partner helps us stay on track with our goals by providing support and encouragement. They can be useful for both big and small tasks and can be especially helpful when it comes to overcoming procrastination. If you’re struggling to get started on a task, try reaching out to a friend or mentor for help. Having someone there to support you and keep you accountable can be the difference between completing a goal and giving up altogether.
To give an example, let’s say you’re supposed to be working on a presentation. The task can seem daunting, and at this point, you’ve been putting it off for a week. In order to stop procrastinating, try getting together with a friend or mentor who can help hold you accountable. You could tell them that you’re going to work on the presentation from 10 to 11 am tomorrow morning and then see through it.
Use the Pomodoro Technique:
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that Francesco Cirillo developed in the 1980s. The technique involves breaking down a task into 25-minute intervals separated by 5-minute breaks. This system can be especially helpful for those who struggle with procrastination because it allows us to focus on one task for a limited amount of time and then take a break afterward.
If you have a paper due in a week and are struggling to make progress, you set a goal to work on it for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. If you get distracted after just 10 minutes, you can easily reset the timer to 25 minutes again and keep going from there.
Reward yourself for finishing tasks successfully:
If you have a difficult time staying focused when working on tasks, it can be helpful to reward yourself for completing them. This is known as ‘positive reinforcement and will help remind your mind that there are benefits associated with getting work done. Rewarding yourself at the end of each task can look different depending on what you’re doing, but the idea is to create a system that motivates you, so you don’t procrastinate.
Rewarding yourself doesn’t only work short-term, but it also helps to have a vacation on the horizon to look forward to. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, then try taking a step back and thinking about your bigger goals or what motivates you. Think about the best fishing trip you’ve been planning with your friends and how much more rewarding it would feel if you knew you’d finished all you need to do before your long-awaited vacation.
In conclusion, there are many ways to stop procrastinating, but the first step is learning more about how it works. Once you know why you’re putting things off, you can begin working on what steps are needed to finish your work successfully. This can be critical, especially if deadlines are involved because bad habits that lead to procrastination could cost you a grade or a job.