You have a deadline creeping up on you like a thief in the night. However, instead of working on your content, you are screwing around with things like checking email, scrolling through your social media feed, and watching YouTube videos. And speaking of YouTube, Matt D’Avella drops some knowledge on the subject of procrastination. Check it out!
We are all familiar with the effects of procrastination. You know you should be writing, but you just veg out in your chair and do nothing productive.
When we procrastinate, we throw away our free time and put off important tasks until it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, our blood pressure rises and stress takes over. At that point, we wish we would have started sooner.
Procrastination is a bad habit that eats away at our being and prevents us from achieving great things in life. Time is finite and cannot be earned back. Don’t waste it by procrastinating. Here are five surefire ways to avoid procrastination.
Break Up Your Larger Tasks into Smaller Tasks
One reason we procrastinate is that subconsciously, we find our workload too overwhelming to handle as a whole. Break it down into smaller tasks, then focus on one part at a time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further.
For example, when I’m beginning to write a new article at its full scale, it can be an enormous task and become overwhelming. However, to make it easier, I break it down into the following steps.
Deciding the topic
Creating the outline
Drafting the content
Editing the content
Suddenly that task seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on each step individually and get it done to the best of my ability. When it’s completed, I move on to the next step.
Change Your Work Environment
Different work environments have different impacts on our productivity. Look at your desk and your office. Do they foster productivity or do they make you want to crawl under a warm blanket and take a nap? If it’s the latter, you should look into modifying your workspace for productivity. With many working from home now, this is a critical step no matter your career field.
One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired now may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. I’ve personally made several changes to my home office over time. I’ve rearranged the layout, painted it a different color, and changed up the wall decor. Whatever it takes to keep it fresh and inspirational, do it!
Create a Daily To-Do List With Specific Deadlines
Having just 1 deadline for your task at hand is an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back until it’s too late.
Break down your project (see the first tip), then create a to-do list with specific deadlines for each task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. You must hold yourself accountable to the to-do list.
If you don’t finish a task by its due date, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. The purpose of your to-do list is to create the urgency to act.
Eliminate Your Procrastination Triggers
If you are consistently procrastinating, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.
When you’re working on a specific task, only have the browser tabs open that are relevant to that task. Close everything else, even your email and messaging apps. I also chose to minimize the number of apps in the dock bar of my Macbook. Less is better.
If you’re worried you’ll miss an important email or message, inform your team that you’ll be going dark for a period of time to work on something. If it’s important they can call or text. Also, try turning your smartphone over so you don’t see the screen, or you’ll end up being distracted by various notifications.
Otherwise, when you’re done with the task, you can check and respond to any missed emails and messages.
Just Do It | Take Massive Action
To truly end procrastination it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing and planning in the world, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen.
I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to happen any time soon. Whatever it is that you’re procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to suck it up and just do it. I find the following video to be very motivating when it comes to achieving tasks that may seem impossible at the time. If this video doesn’t motivate you, well then I’ve got nothin’.
Procrastination is the nasty habit of delaying an important task by focusing on more enjoyable and easier activities not necessarily related to the task that needs to be done. It is different from laziness, which is the unwillingness to act.
Procrastination can restrict your potential and have negative impacts on your career. It can disrupt teamwork, reduce morale, and even lead to depression and job loss. It’s crucial to take massive action to nip it in the butt.