You know that thing you were supposed to do earlier today? Before you know it, the day has slipped away and now you don’t have time to get it done. You promise yourself you will get it done first thing in the morning, but you wake up late, and now you have to run out of the door and you don’t have time to do it this morning. Maybe later after work, you can squeeze it in before that important dinner date. Maybe not. Before you know it, procrastination has gotten the best of you – AGAIN.
Does this scenario seem familiar to you? For a long time, it was the story of my life.
Hi, my name is Victoria and I am a recovering procrastinator and time-waster extraordinaire. Time after time I broke promises to myself, causing me to miss out on so many great opportunities. Things didn’t change for me until I decided to develop discipline, change my mindset, and get honest with myself.
Procrastination is the thief of time, and it works in stages.
Stage #1: False security. “This isn’t due for a while…I will work on it later.”
Stage #2: Laziness. “Maybe I should get a headstart and start working on this now…Nah!”
Stage #3: Excuses. “My favorite show is on right now, so instead of working I will take a little break.”
Stage #4: Denial. “I can pull an all-nighter to get it done.”
Stage #5: “I will never procrastinate again!”
To beat procrastination, you have to be honest with yourself.
What is causing you to procrastinate? Is the anxiety of it all causing you to stagnate and not move forward?
For many years, my procrastination was caused by an irrational fear of failure. I thought it was easier for me to put off completing the thing than to do it and fail.
Other times I procrastinated working on my projects because I was an over-critical perfectionist. In my eyes, everything I did was never “good enough”, and I would rather not do it at all than do it and not like the result.
If procrastinating and putting things off until the last minute is getting the best of you, I have some encouragement for you. You can start to get things done, but it will take a mindset shift and discipline. Procrastination is a bad habit, but you can change your ways with a few simple steps.
10 Simple Ways to Beat Procrastination to Get Things Done
1. Stay focused on the task at hand.
Take your time on each individual task throughout the day. Avoid multitasking and give your best to what you are working on at the moment. Doing a task right the first time can save you lots of wasted time in the long run.
2. Only check email and social media at scheduled times of the day.
Constantly checking emails and browsing social media is not always an effective use of your time. Create a time slot to check your messages. Other than that, try to avoid internet browsing during working hours.
3. Stop “winging-it”.
When you don’t have a plan, you have nothing in place to measure your productitivy. Schedule every aspect of your day, starting with what needs to be done, as well as your short breaks, lunch, and quitting time. When you find a schedule that works for you, stick to it.
4. Don’t be easily distracted.
When it is time to get down to business, don’t quit until you finish the task at hand. Find a secluded room or area that is separated from your normal day-to-day distractions while working. Try to focus 100% of your attention on the task at hand until it is completed.
5. Use a timer.
Don’t overwork yourself, instead work in time blocks. For example, if “clean the kitchen” is on your “to-do” list, set a timer for 30 minutes. Clean the kitchen, and when the timer goes off after 30 minutes, move on to the next thing.
6. Avoid old time-wasting habits.
When working, stay away from the people and things that distract you most.
7. Create To-Do lists.
Checking your tasks off of a to-do lists helps you to visualize what needs to be done. Put a check mark after each task you complete and celebrate the small accomplishments along the way.
8. Give yourself a stopping time.
Working on a schedule and stopping at a certain time helps prevent “burning out” and keeps you motivated to get back to work tomorrow.
9. Reflect on your day.
At the end of your day, reflect back on everything you accomplished. What can you do better tomorrow? What are some things you can do better?
10. Be consistent.
When you find a routine that works for you, keep at it. Procratination is a bad habit, but it can be broken with better habits.