If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re familiar with the pain and stress that goes hand in hand with leaving things to the last minute. Even if you want to accomplish or finish a task, you’re likely having trouble getting started in the first place!
The habit of procrastination develops when you think there is nothing wrong with leaving jobs until the last minute.
It may be because you lack the motivation required to complete a task. To overcome this issue, we need to change our attitude, and the first thing we should do is set a limit for completing a task.
There are several strategies that can help you stop procrastinating right now, as well as lifestyle changes you can make to avoid future procrastination.
1. Make A To-Do List.
Every day or every week (or both), make a to-do list of all the things you want to accomplish. This includes jotting down your work tasks, home recurring and daily to-do’s, making certain notes, doing research for a paper, writing an essay . . . whatever tasks you have coming up.
Then, set deadlines for these tasks. Not only will this organization be important for planning out your tasks, but seeing them written down on paper next to their due dates will make them less abstract and more real — which will make you that much more determined to complete them on time.
Penning down your tasks on a piece of paper is absolutely fine if that works for you.
But, in today’s digital world you need quick access and for that, you can use apps that are cross-platform and have the capability to capture information quickly.
You may also refer to my YouTube channel for any further tutorials on these apps.
2. Eat Your Veggies First.
When it comes to eating dinner, you want to save the best for last, right? The best is usually a dessert, so what does that mean you should eat first? Your veggies, of course!
Get those veggies out of the way, and you’re one step closer to the best part of your meal — dessert!
Just like eating your veggies first, finishing your most dreaded tasks first will make the rest of your tasks feel much less stressful.
Once the worst part is over, you can focus on things that are easier or more enjoyable and you may even have more fun along the way!
3. Break Stuff.
When I say “break stuff,” I mean break larger tasks down into smaller tasks to make them more digestible and easier to do.
When you have what seems like one huge project hovering over you, of course, you’ll do anything to avoid even starting it.
But when you break this big, bad task up into smaller tasks, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and realize that these smaller tasks aren’t nearly as daunting as the larger one at hand.
4. Be Reliable & Responsible — stick to your word!
Make yourself accountable to a trusted friend or family member. It’s pretty easy to let things slide when the only person you have to report to is yourself, so inform others of your goals or plans.
This way, if you let yourself down, you’ll be letting others down, too and that’s just not the kind of person you want to be.
5. Make Space
Eliminate distractions and clear your work area.
Whether it’s your dorm room bed or a cubicle at the library, clear your space of distractions (or set a specific time for them), and make room for the important stuff.
Do you have your books, notes, and favorite pen? Great! Now put the things that aren’t as important (such as your phone and that magazine you’ve been wanting to read) away for the time being.
This will make it easier for you to hunker down and work on what you need to. In addition, if you know you get distracted by your phone or browsing the Internet while trying to study, set a time (and a time limit) to do these things after you’ve accomplished some of your tasks.
You can even do it on your break — just make sure to stick to your schedule.
6. Finish X So That You Can Do Y!
Tell yourself that if you finish X now, you can do Y later. For example, if you finish your report now, you can go see a movie with your friends later. This will give you an incentive and help motivate you to complete your work as soon as possible.
So, folks, there you have it. See how easy it is to stop procrastinating — and maybe even avoid procrastinating altogether?
You’ll feel more in control, you’ll have more free time, and you’ll inspire others along the way.
To wrap it up, I cannot resist myself in mentioning James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (bestseller on NY times). I consider him as the guru of productivity and time management along with David Allen.
Lastly, one of the key advice James Clear provides in his article on procrastination is about the “Action Line” — check it out here.