30 May Top 10 Tips To Avoid Procrastination
Surprise!…It’s Now the Top 15 10 Tips to Avoid Procrastination!
(I could not stop, once I stopped procrastinating over writing this article!!)
Procrastination is simply putting off things that you should be doing right now in favour of something that is more enjoyable or that you are more comfortable doing.
Research reveals that 95+% (nearly all of us!) procrastinate at some stage and put off tasks that we do not want to do.
Studies also reveal that at least 20% of us are chronic procrastinators and that procrastination is also linked to higher levels of stress and lower general wellbeing.
So here is a list of my top 15 tips that you can try to help you break thru procrastination, when it strikes you.
SIDE NOTE: In fact, when I was researching this article, I found that there are literally hundreds of different techniques, tricks or tips that can help you. So, if my top 15 do not work for you, keep searching because once you find your break thru technique that works for you, stick with it. It is a liberating feeling when you finally achieve those ‘too hard to do’ tasks, that you ran previously in the other direction from!
Become More Self-aware.
The first step to conquering procrastination is recognising when you are procrastinating, and you know the reason why. By simply acknowledging your lack of motivation or fear in tackling the task ahead is the first step towards making a change.
Devote Time to the Task
Allocate time to the task at hand. You will find that once you finally get into the task at hand, after giving it a time allocation, you will be surprised that the task took less time than you thought. Create a schedule through the day for the unpleasant tasks to be done.
Break the Task into Manageable Steps
When it is a large task, or you are at the beginning of a large day ahead, what’s facing you can be overwhelming. So instead, break the task into written, manageable steps, starting with a small task so that you can get into the ‘mood’ first. Otherwise, you tend to spend a great deal of time, ‘planning’ rather than doing. By achieving small tasks first, they should give you motivation to keep going.
The first step is always the hardest. The quicker that you realise that action is better than perfection any day, the quicker that you will break thru procrastination. Just get moving with the task ahead as you can always come back and fix things later. This is a big one for me!
Give Yourself a Deadline
Without a deadline, nothing ever gets finished. The old saying…’if you want something done, give it to a busy person’ applies here. How is it that a busy person can get stuff done? I believe it is because they work to deadlines and allocate time effectively. You can too!
Rewards are powerful motivators if they are used sparingly. On the flip side, rewards can also be dangerous because you can spend a lot of time enjoying rewards that are a little too frequent!
Getting organised is not an excuse to waste time. Clear your desk, remove any distractions off your desk and put your mobile devices OUT OF REACH.
Take (planned) Breaks
Try the Pomodoro method. It works by allocating 25 minutes to a task and then have a 5-minute break after each 25 minute ‘sprint’. By allocating short bursts of time, allows you to complete the tasks quickly without procrastination.
Tackle the Hardest Tasks at Your Peak Times
We all have the best times of the day and the worst times of the day. When your brain is at its most active is the time to get stuff done. This time is when we get our best work done. In my case, between 9am and 12 noon are best for me. Starting a project or a big task after lunch is a waste of time for me. What is your best time?
Sometimes, if you have the strength to do this, start with the worst job first. The natural reaction is to leave the hard stuff until last but if you can conquer the tuff stuff first, it becomes a great motivator to achieve more. Also, you will be amazed in the fact that by completing the big worst job up front, it doesn’t normally take you as long as you think that it should have, to be completed!
Keep a ‘To Do List’
Keep a ‘To Do’ list is vital. Without a list, procrastination takes over and you tend to complete the tasks that you think are ‘important’, rather than your ‘To Do’ list.
Keep a ‘Not to Do’ List As Well
On the flip side of having a ‘To Do’ list, ALSO have a ‘Not to Do’ list, identifying all the tasks or behaviours that you should not do. On the top of my ‘Not to Do’ list is ‘procrastination’!
Having someone like a family member, a coach or mentor, a friend or business partner that holds you accountable is the most powerful motivator that there is. Being accountable to another human being is very powerful in stopping procrastination dead in its tracks! You could reciprocate the favour with your accountability partner, so they too can prevent procrastination.
Use Time Management apps
There are hundreds of time management apps. out there. Choose which one is right for you and works with your schedule.
Finally, Remind Yourself How Good It Is to Get Stuff Done!
Remind yourself continually how good it feels when you have completed the task, particularly if it is a big task that you have been avoiding. Also, when you are just starting on the big task at hand, ask yourself ‘will this really be better if I put it off?’ You know the answer!
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