Have you ever found yourself mindlessly browsing the internet or stalking your ex on social media when you really should focus on work? Everyone procrastinates at one time or another. However, it’s time to find an effective remedy when this habit starts affecting your life or work.
These 10 strategies can help you stop procrastinating and finally finish your work.
1. Break It Down
A big, complex goal can seem overwhelming so break it down into small, easily manageable steps. Keep in mind that you don’t need to know all the steps to reach the finish line — that’ll become clear as you go along. Simply focus on one step at a time, and don’t move on to the next step until you complete the current one.
When you break down a goal into smaller steps, remember to set a deadline for each small task. This will help sustain the urgency and remind you of the importance of completing each task on schedule.
2. Create an Inspiring Work Environment
Does your work environment pull you down? A poor work environment — like a cluttered desk — can negatively impact your productivity while a good one can inspire you to work better. Figure out ways to improve your workspace, such as by keeping it clean and organized so you can think clearly.
If your current work environment doesn’t inspire you, try switching to a different place. If you work from home, for example, don’t work from your kitchen where a pile of dirty dishes in the sink can easily distract you. Instead, keep a room exclusively for work or head to the nearest library and work from there.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Removing distractions from your work environment will make it easier for you to focus on your tasks and not look for reasons to put them off for later. So, remember to log off social media platforms and switch off all notifications on your cell phone until you finish your task.
4. Reward Yourself
Give yourself a reward for every little task you complete. Small rewards work fine — what matters is that you acknowledge your progress and effort. In addition, observe how good it feels to check something off your to-do list.
5. Spend Time With People Who Inspire You to Excel
Find time to interact with people who are go-getters and believe in working hard to achieve what they want in life. That spirit and drive is contagious and can inspire you to shed your lethargy.
6. Increase Your Accountability
Tell your friends and colleagues about your goals. The next time they see you, they likely will ask about your progress. This acts as peer pressure, increasing your accountability and motivation to work on your projects instead of procrastinating.
7. Reject the Desire to Always Achieve Perfection
A little bit of perfectionism can prove beneficial and motivate you to give 100 percent to everything you do. However, perfectionist tendencies can hamper your growth if a fear of not being good enough holds you back from working on your goals.
Perfectionists procrastinate because they’d rather skip a task than complete it imperfectly. If you fall into this category, remind yourself that the quality of your effort counts more than achieving perfect results. In addition, try to avoid connecting your sense of self-worth with your achievements. You’re worth so much more than all of your achievements.
8. Make Sure to Get Enough TLC
Sometimes, your procrastination can have valid reasons like low energy and fatigue. To prevent such situations, make sure you keep your energy levels high by incorporating good habits into your daily routine. For example, try to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and take frequent breaks.
9. Revisit Your Goals
If you’ve put off working on your goals for a very long time, revisit them to determine if they still align with your current aspirations. People change with time, and so do their goals. There’s nothing wrong with modifying your goals to achieve what you want in your life right now.
10. Determine Why You Procrastinate
If it’s not perfectionism, low energy, or evolving life aspirations that make you procrastinate, figure out what else may cause this habit so you can tackle it head-on. For example:
- Do You Find the Work Boring or Unpleasant? In that case, do it first thing in the morning so you have the rest of the day to focus on tasks you enjoy. Alternatively, try to make the work more fun by, for example, playing music while you clear out your desk. Instead of thinking you “have to” or “must” do it, think that you “choose” to do this particular task. This mind-set will help you feel good about yourself and more in control of what you do.
- Do You Struggle to Decide Where to Start? If so, try creating a to-do list. Brainstorm with a friend for ideas. Break down your goal into tiny, bite-sized steps as described in the first strategy. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers right from the beginning. What’s not okay is doing nothing about it at all.
- Are You Waiting for the Perfect Time? There will never be a perfect time to realize your dream. Take a deep breath and just do it.
Procrastination is not a habit you can shed overnight. You must keep working at it and accept that you’ll occasionally slip up along the way. Yet, you can break this habit with some solid effort. However, procrastination sometimes signals a more serious problem like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People suffering from these conditions likely will require the help of a trained professional.