Are you a procrastinator? You’re not alone; we’ve all been there at one point or another, and it can be extremely detrimental to your progress as a student and in your career, in general. The problem with procrastination is that it’s sneaky – it masquerades as fun activities, when it’s really just you putting off the things you don’t want to do.
1. Get organized
There are several ways that an organized workspace can make you less prone to procrastinate. The most common reason people give for procrastinating is that they don’t feel like they have enough time; an unorganized, cluttered workspace can cause a lot of stress and work-avoidance, while a tidy space with clear boundaries can encourage productivity.
2. Set simple, achievable goals
I’m going to eat healthier today, is a far better goal than I will lose 20 pounds. Write your goals down, and put them somewhere you can see them every day—right next to your computer or on your phone. Keep track of your progress toward those goals by using an app like Microsoft Excel (or even just a paper planner). Every time you check off a task, give yourself a pat on the back for doing something good for yourself.
3. Create a timeline/schedule
One of my favorite ways to overcome procrastination is by creating a detailed schedule. I find that having a clear view of what’s on my plate, and when it needs to be done, makes it much easier for me to stay focused and get things done. Remember that most successful people create their own schedules (and deadlines) rather than waiting for them from someone else. They treat life like an urgent matter, so if you want success in your life, start treating it like one as well!
4. Use incentives
The simple way to get rid of procrastination is reward yourself when you work, and punish yourself when you don’t. For example, say that you want to write a 1,000-word essay on global warming. To get it done in a timely manner, decide that every time you finish five pages or reach 50 words over your daily quota (whichever comes first), you’ll treat yourself to a coffee break or go for a walk.
5. Prioritize the least-favorite task
When we’re procrastinating, most of us are putting off tasks that we’d rather not deal with. So start by tackling one of those—the less enjoyable it is, the better. Once you knock that task out, you might find yourself getting in gear for other unpleasant things as well.
6. Make it fun
It’s easy to be a good worker when you enjoy what you do. And if you don’t, try incorporating things into your job that will make it more enjoyable. Find ways to keep yourself motivated and happy at work—and you’ll be much less likely to procrastinate in getting your work done! If all else fails, try making some games out of things: give yourself points for doing certain tasks, and play fun challenges with coworkers or friends.
7. Take a break
There’s a time and place for all hands on deck, but if you find yourself getting nowhere near your goals or working on tasks that aren’t helping you progress toward those goals, it may be time to put work down and take a break. Getting up and doing something different is often enough to jolt our brains into considering problems in new ways, or giving us time to process what we’ve learned so far.
8. Get rid of distractions
According to researchers, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 15 separate acts of self-control for someone with a short attention span to focus on a task. If you find yourself facing obstacles every time you try to start working, then it might be a good idea to get rid of distractions and make your workspace more conducive for productivity.
9. Set a deadline
A deadline for yourself is a vital component of overcoming procrastination, because once you tell other people what you’re working on and when it needs to be finished by, there are consequences if you don’t follow through. Deadlines will help get your butt in gear—if you care about your reputation or need to impress clients or coworkers.
10. Be kind to yourself
When it comes down to beating procrastination, you’ve got only one main adversary: yourself. It’s much easier said than done, but you must learn not to beat yourself up for procrastinating. If we have trouble falling asleep at night and toss and turn in bed thinking about all of our tasks that were not accomplished that day, then it is safe to say that we are simply beating ourselves up for not being productive when we had countless opportunities to be so.