Procrastination is defined as, “Putting things off intentionally or habitually.” Many of us may be guilty of being procrastinators, but there is a way out of this — learning how to manage our time and tasks better.
Before learning how to overcome procrastination, let’s first understand what it is. Do not relate procrastination to laziness, because it is not that; people who postpone tasks to a later date and time are simply unable to get themselves to complete the tasks that need to be done.
This could be because the task is painful, too difficult or simply boring, and the individual’s mind finds excuses to try and delay it as much as possible. Though they do it to avoid distress, procrastinators may not understand that delaying the task only increases the misery.
Procrastination can cause:
So, if you would like to come out of this habitual procrastination, here are a few pointers to consider:
- Focus on the benefits: Even though a task can be scary, difficult or long, focus on the benefits of completing it. For instance, if you’ve been putting off cleaning your closet, just imagine how much easier it would be to find your favorite outfits every morning. This could motivate you to get the cleaning done as quickly as possible.
- Break down bigger tasks: Some tasks can seem overwhelming and postponing them might seem like the best option. For instance, if you’ve been planning to clean your home but have been dreading it, break it down and plan to do one room a day. When the task on hand is smaller, there’s always more motivation to complete it.
- Better late than never: Don’t regret having not done something, if it is still relevant, just complete the task and be done with it instead of accumulating the guilt and regret. For example, if there’s a phone call you’ve been putting off to catch up with a long-lost friend, do it now.
- Set goals: Be it at work or at home, have small, achievable goals like prepping for the next day’s meetings, setting out your work outfits in advance, doing the laundry on assigned days, etc. The simpler the goal, the easier it is to complete and there will still be a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
- Prioritize your goals: Our typical to-do lists are always long and never-ending, so learn to prioritize the tasks based on urgency and importance and go down the list accordingly. Make sure you don’t pile up the urgent and important tasks as they can be stressful. Get to them before they become either.
- Complete the tough jobs first: It is always beneficial to get the toughest jobs out of the way first so that you’ll be less stressed as you go about the remaining tasks. Take a school test, for instance. It is better to complete the toughest or longest questions first so that you don’t stress about not being able to complete them toward the end.
- Stay on track: Try to start your tasks on time, based on your schedule, and you may notice that even the most difficult tasks may start looking easy once you are over the initial hurdle of getting started.
- Technology can be your friend: Use your phone or computer to track time and set reminders and alerts to help you stay on track with your tasks on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis.
- Don’t skip lunch: If you think that skipping your lunch or eating at the desk can help you work better, it actually does not. It is recommended to take at least a 30-minute lunch break to step away from whatever you are doing so that you can come back refreshed.
- Reward yourself: Make sure you fit small rewards into your to-do lists. From a quick mani-pedi to a day at the beach with the family, these rewards can be a welcomed change from your mundane work-related schedule. You’ll also be more motivated to go back to the tasks without feeling the urge to postpone them anymore.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a procrastinator until today, now may be the right time to change that around and learn how to get things done on time and efficiently.
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