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How to Stop Procrastinating

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Over 40 million people have viewed Tim Urban’s TED Talk, Inside the mind a master procrastinator. Despite the talk’s incredible presentation being immensely popular, it is not surprising that over 40 million people around the world feel like master procrastinators. Why do we procrastinate so much? According to Joseph Ferrari, professor at DePaul University of Psychology, procrastinators can be divided into three main categories:

  • The Avoider: This person avoids the task out of fear of being judged and failing.
  • The thrill seeker: One who is willing to wait until the last moment in order to feel the rush of meeting deadlines. This, despite its drawbacks, can get their adrenaline pumping.
  • The Indecisive: A person who procrastinates and obsesses over perfection, but ends up doing nothing.

These lines can blur and lead to us becoming tired, overworked and seeking instant gratification. This also leads to delaying our priority chores and tasks.

We prepared some tips to help you avoid procrastination and the last-minute rush.

MAKE A LIST

The difference between doers and procrastinators lies in their ability to hold themselves accountable for the task at hand. A list of tasks or a calendar with timelines keeps your vision in the forefront and reminds of the work ahead. Although some prefer to use digital templates, it is easier to write down your tasks and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing them off your list. You are likely to lose time if you don’t write down the essential functions.

ROLEPLAY A LAST-MINUTE PANICĀ 

We are wired to be efficient when we see fire, and crave the excitement of working against the clock. You can create an identical situation to trick your brain into thinking faster. We create a deadline situation that forces our brain to act immediately. Because our brains know that we can’t make a decision, this helps us achieve peak efficiency. You can set your deadline 2 days before the deadline and then work according to the plan. A time tracker can be used to help you keep on task and put you under constant pressure to complete it.

BREAK DOWN ALL YOUR TASKS

F.R Scott once stated, “Do nothing by halves which are possible to be done by quarters.” While this quote is funny, it cannot be denied that there is truth. The best way to overcome procrastination is to break down tasks. You are making it less daunting by breaking down its size. This is scientifically known as micro-productivity. It’s a way to achieve a longer state of productivity by breaking down smaller pieces. Here are some ways you can achieve it:

  • Define your task
  • You can set smaller milestones
  • Anything irrelevant should be excluded
  • Reward yourself

Another option is the Pomodoro Technique. This involves breaking down your work schedule into 25-minute work mode and 5-minute rest mode. You can take a 15-minute rest after working for 2 hours. These brief breaks are proven to increase your focus and retention.

TECHNOLOGY IS GREAT, BUT NOT ALWAYS

Procrastination is a delicate balance between what your doing and what you should do. You can procrastinate by watching Netflix when you should be working. This is just one example of how technology can ‘help’ you. According to research, gadgets have a 27% impact on procrastination, while social media has a 54%. It all depends on how much leverage you have.

Is technology being used to help you complete your project? It is reinforcement. Technology can be a source of instant gratification. Perhaps that’s why you find checking out your social media accounts more satisfying than writing your paper. Blocking the channels and sites during work hours is the best way to minimize their impact. Also, keep your notifications muted. You don’t have to pay attention to every ping.

THE WILLPOWER

To avoid procrastination, you need to have the willpower. You might stray for a second while working for an hour. This moment will determine if you meet your deadlines and if you end up slacking. Although they can be difficult to follow, self-imposed deadlines and regulations are very effective in helping you stay on track. When you combine your foresight in planning your day with your determination to stick to it, there is little room for procrastination.

Understanding the reasons you procrastinate may seem like a backhanded step, but it is often the half of the battle. Do you find the task daunting? Is it just plain boring? Recognizing the challenges is an important step in making the task easier and more enjoyable. This helps you to organize your task better and motivates you to complete it, rather than pushing you away. It makes you more determined and clear-headed when approaching the task. Procrastination can be more than a bad habit in some cases. Procrastination can indicate serious health problems like ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

CONCLUSION

Procrastination can be detrimental to your socio-economic status, as well as your immune system. It often causes stress and disrupts your sleep patterns. It is possible to avoid procrastination by making small changes and acknowledging it. This will help you find the right balance between being productive and busy.

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