We’re all familiar with putting off the more tedious things we have to get done. Unfortunately such tasks remain unfinished until we put the time and effort in, and in some cases such procrastination just ends up creating more work in the end. Sometimes procrastination is even chronic, meaning that it becomes a habit to take care of everything at the very last minute. Here are my personal strategies for avoiding procrastination:
I give myself a deadline of two days to complete activities that I really don’t want to do. The reason is that I’ve noticed the longer I put something off, the less likely it is that I’ll ever do it. I make it clear exactly when I want to have the task finished, and I formulate my goal as concretely as possible. The more concrete the goal and the more precise I am in defining it, the more difficult it is for me to procrastinate.
Think about it this way: when you plan your work well, you’ve already accomplished a lot before you even begin. Create a time plan for yourself in which you set daily appointments for getting things done – that way, you can avoid confusion and keep moving forward. You should also give yourself a buffer in terms of time to eliminate stress to the extent possible. Goalify can help you a lot in doing this as it makes it easy to keep an eye on all the things that you want to get done. I just check the dashboard, then I know what I still have to do. The result is that you have fewer excuses for not taking care of a task.
Breaks are a part of the process: my swimming coach told me that training triggers the creation of more power, but this transformation only happens during downtime. Think about time off as a fixed part of your working process. Breaks keep you strong, motivated and focused. That’s why you should plan some time away from work in the same way that you plan your work.
If my internal voice tells me something like “I can never do that”, it becomes even more difficult to get started in the first place. The reason is simple: I have already somehow given up before I’ve even started. It’s important that you tell yourself that you can do what you’ve set out to do, and moreover that you reflect on all the things that you have already mastered.
As always, it’s important that you set small intermediate goals. Every task begins with the first step. If you divide up an unpleasant task into many smaller tasks, it no longer looks so big and insurmountable. That’s the path to making progress on your projects.
I’m sure you’ve had this thought: “I can’t do it perfectly, so maybe it’s better not to do it at all.” That’s a dangerous way to think about things as it can destroy many of your good ideas and intentions. It isn’t always possible (and often it’s not even necessary) to master things from the beginning. Be proud that you’ve started on something that you want to accomplish, and simply do your best! Making mistakes and practicing is a part of the success process, just like taking breaks and getting things done.
Don’t give up right away – keep at it! It’s about breaking specific habits…maybe habits that have become the norm for you over years and years. You can only change things when you overcome your lack of willpower and don’t reject new ideas or opportunities at the first sign of (apparent) failure. To do this, be sure to alway s keep the larger, long-term goal in mind, even if it might seem impossible to achieve at the moment.
The important thing here is figuring out why you put things off. Maybe it’s a fear of criticism. Maybe you need the pressure of a looming deadline to push you forward. What tasks do you seem to prefer to procrastinate on? How do you protect yourself from procrastination? Leave a comment or write at email@example.com
Keep at it!