What Is Procrastination And How To Avoid It?
Your to-do list is ready and looks amazing. You just need to complete the listed tasks and you’ll be definitely fine. It feels so exciting…
Well until it is actually time to start carrying out those tasks on the list.
And when you actually start?
Well, often you start when the pigs fly.
Or sometimes you start immediately and then you notice how the efficiency decreases, you get systematically distracted and inspiration/motivation fades away.
This unproductive state of things is known to everyone and it is often the natural outcome of procrastination.
The main difference between a loser and a winner usually lies in a person’s daily habits.
Most of the people nowadays fail to get a job well done in real time or end up with a poor outcome because they just can’t help themselves from procrastinating.
Procrastination is a perfect way for us to get stuck up and yet, many of us keep being totally unaware of this phenomenon controlling and harming our lives. Unknowingly, we always easily create or find persuasive arguments right in our minds to delay the tasks that are at hand.
And the worst part is that often times this feels pretty natural to us.
Procrastination is in fact (natural) normal and all of us instead of working just fool around from time to time. Nevertheless, you must decidedly avoid it if you want to be productive.
It is just like in business, if you want your company to achieve success, you must always bear in mind that your victory requires commitment, time and effort, most especially with the fact that a business always mean taking risks of failing just to get what you want to achieve.
Sometimes this habit happens due to those mundane stuff such as sorting through your old files, tidying your linen board or reconciling your accounts. Delaying, slacking, putting off things, hiding from work or facing work in your business when it’s already unavoidable will not help you. Yes, the classic “bury head in the sand” situation. (Did you also thought of Ostrich?)
You bury head in the sand again when you do nothing while it is so obvious that this bad habit would just eat you away and would certainly prevent you from achieving success and greater results in your life. The chances that it won’t are too low as our achievements are always fruits of our efforts.
Don’t ever let procrastination take over your whole life. Don’t do it because you can avoid it.
The following strategies can help you in avoiding procrastination effectively:
1. Include deadlines to your to-do list
Write down all your goals and then give yourself a specific deadline. Yeah, this is the same old to-do list, but with serious deadlines.
In this way, you will be focused and well reminded that there will be no other time for you to do a thing but now. A goal without a specific deadline can be just put off carelessly/indefinitely.
2. Make tasks smaller
Break your goals into small pieces. Big goals can make you feel overwhelmed with it and may make you think that it is unachievable.
This negativity is the main reason of procrastination. So if you see that your goals feel too heavy to trigger the necessary action then you better break them into small parts.
As soon as you do it the big “unachievable” goal may end up with turning into a piece of cake for you. Here, without you knowing it, the steps will just become obnoxious to you as you move forward.
3. Remove distractions
If you really want to get the work done – remove distractions. Identify what distracts you the most (checking social media updates, email, cell phone etc.) and get rid of them until you are done. You may even temporarily deactivate your Facebook account (no worries to reactivate you will simply need to log in).
You may also consider putting your phone to an airplane mode. Trying to stay focused on important things you need to do is a sufficient excuse to stay inaccessible for a while.
4. Two (five) minute rule
Sometimes we have small yet very important or even crucial tasks that we postpone.
Two-minute rule by David Allen suggests to immediately do your work or task that will take no longer than two minutes.
This rule is applicable when you need to reply to an important email for instance but feel like not willing to do it right now although it will take two minutes at best.
According to two-minute rule, you just reply to that email immediately and do not let yourself to even start thinking of delaying. You just automatically do whatever takes less than two minutes and become incredibly productive with this small shift in your attitude.
As an addition to David Allen’s rule, we recommend changing two-minute rule into the five-minute rule in order to cover a wider range of tasks. If you never postpone whatever takes you just five minutes to do, you’ll heavily increase your productivity.
Start testing today and you’ll love it. We love it! And it really works.
5. Reward progress
Honoring yourself for a well-done job and small achievements will keep you motivated to be the best version of yourself.
If you are motivated in whatever that you do, it is almost guaranteed that procrastination will never set in.
Create a compelling system of rewards. What is important here is a foretaste. When you know that an amazing reward is there for achieving a specific goal you get crazy and importantly you often start to enjoy the process (this awfully boosts the level of productivity).
The reward must be super appealing while still objectively achievable though. So, do not set unrealistic or tedious rewards. You simply may pick whatever you like to do the most daily or weekly and set it as a reward.
6. Try Negative Reinforcement
This is an another effective way to fight procrastination. In order to get extra motivation you may consider taking away something bad (or something you really do not want to do) as a motivator.
For example, you may let yourself skip cooking and have flakes instead if you finish the work in time or whatever you absolutely do not want to do.
Does not sound that exciting, but still may work. Give it a try.
When negative reinforcement does not work well for you then you may try penalty method to fight the procrastination.
It’s quite simple – you just punish yourself if you do not do things on time and let say do not go out that day or run an extra mile at the evening jogging.
Try to set positive penalties such as doing some extra sport or eating healthy food.
This way the penalty method will benefit you in any case: you’ll either finish the task in time or do something useful.
8. Power of Visualization
Leverage the power of visualization. Visualization is a great universal power, so you can make use of it in many cases including but not limited to procrastination.
Imagining your future success will pump you up and provide instant motivation. It will help you get your job done in real time and stop the procrastination from affecting your performance.
While visualizing try to feel that amazing excitement of victory. This is what you are going to feel when you’ll achieve all your tasks and become amazing.
Make feelings stronger, colors brighter and voice of success louder!
You wanna feel that right?
So, do it.
9. Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Feeling good in you comfort zone and not willing to leave it is another cause of procrastination. In a modern world, you have to leave your comfort zone if you decided to be successful.
This became almost unavoidable nowadays.
So, break out of your comfort zone now. Our comfort zone limits us and fear or reluctance to run out of it can keep us from taking action. If you want to be successful, the sooner or later you must get out of your comfort zone and apparently the sooner is better.
Fair competition has always led to progress. If you have someone to compete with you’ll be kept naturally motivated.
Moreover, if you agree to compete on something with your friend or colleague this regardless of the outcome will eventually benefit you both. Competition is a strong motive force and it often feels just like a game where you do not feel like working while trying to win.
It’s very fun and highly effective way to forget about procrastination.
11. Track your progress
You need to track your progress in order to see if your efforts increase your productivity. Tracking makes the whole process transparent and precise. You see what you’ve done and what actually remained undone.
Remember, failing to track the progress is another form of procrastination. Unless you have a clear picture of things you may falsely consider them to be fine. However, often this is not the case and an immediate action is needed from your side to put things in order.
12. Ask for help
If you implement strategies above (at least some of them) you’ll be able to avoid procrastination and increase your productivity. As there is no magic bullet for it, you’ll need to do at least something to get rid of this bad habit.
In case, you lose your focus and are not able to continuously follow the strategies ask for help!
Seriously. People like when you sincerely ask for their help. Tell someone you trust to help you with avoiding the procrastination. It is much easier to follow strategies when you have some sort of accountability. This way you’ll be forced to deliver the results and who knows maybe this will reveal your momentous hidden talents!
And the most important takeaway is to TAKE ACTION NOW!
Do not wait for any other moment. This is the best moment to start becoming better.
Further Reading: How to Start a Business: The Ultimate Guide