It’s just after your lunch break, you’re back at your desk motivated to get back to work. The report your boss asked you about this morning is due in 2 hours but you believe it will take you less time. You decide to kill sometime, return some emails, text a friend or two and watch a couple of those cute cat videos online. 4 hours later, you’re watching a video about the similarities between chickens and dinosaurs. End of work day is soon and you see your boss walking towards you down the hallway. It seems that you have procrastinated yourself into a corner. There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Luckily though, there are a number of methods people have come up with over the year on how to stop procrastinating efficiently. Procrastination is a very common issue in today’s world. It is mostly due to the technological advancements available to us today. Distractions are everywhere and it is very easy to stray away from your goals. Learn how to stop procrastinating with a few simple steps. It’s easy if you put your mind to it.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Procrastination to some degree is a normal everyday occurrence, we all do it. But when it becomes a problem that needs to be addressed, that is when we should start seeking solutions. Procrastinating is when a person puts off a generally unlikable task or postponing it to later dates. Why do we it though? From a psychological point of view, we as human being are designed to seek pleasure and avoid tasks that are deemed as unpleasant or stressful. Temporarily delaying certain tasks might provide some short term comfort. Of course there are numerous reasons as to why people put off important responsibilities.
- Lack of Structure
Going through the day without any plans or structural agendas can lead to a sense of being lost. With no clear plan or mission in view, it is easy to stray away from the main objective. The nature of the current work environment makes the internet easily accessible. The gateway into procrastination; it’s easy to switch tabs for a second just to check up on today’s news feed. We all know though, it’s never a second and it’s never just one tab. 2 hours later, your task remains unfinished and stress builds up due to work piling up.
- Over confidence
Sometimes, we underestimate the effort required for a task to get done. Being overconfident makes a person allot less time for the task at hand. Because of this, we procrastinate since we believe that we don’t need that much time to complete the task. Surprisingly, when the procrastinator finally gets to the assigned task, things aren’t as easy as first thought. This type of procrastination leads to low quality or incomplete tasks. On the job, this could be the difference between a promotion and a dismissal.
- Where do I Begin?
Ever had one of those days where you have so much work and don’t know where to start that you end up doing nothing instead? Sometimes, work just piles up so much; this causes stress, anxiety and confusion. You’re torn; the important tasks are unpleasant, the easy ones are not worth starting early. Instead of getting right down to it, you start browsing your social media profiles, check up on friends’ news and end up falling asleep in front of the TV.
Perfectionism; a blessing and a curse. Perfectionists tend to produce excellent work, however, it comes at a cost. Usually, this trait forces the person to keep editing and updating the project in order to be perfect. The stress that arises from the desire to be perfect, causes the worker to procrastinate. Delaying the task or postponing it to another time where you think your performance might be better is fairly common in perfectionist procrastinators. Fear not, there are always new methods and guides popping up everywhere on how to stop procrastinating.
- Lack of motivation
Let’s face it, even if you’re not lazy by nature, we all get these periods where there is just no motivation to get things done. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a late night yesterday, stress or personal issues; all these aspects can greatly affect your motivation and how willing you are to work. When you’re in a bad mood, motivation levels plummet and you’re as productive as the houseplant sitting in the corner of the office.
How Does Procrastination Affect you?
You might think that the only negative effects that arise from procrastination is unfinished work. Well, you’re wrong, procrastination has many unpleasant effects on your physical and mental health. The work you put off for later will not simply go away; it will stay in the back of your mind constantly nagging and reminding you that you have unfinished work. This causes extreme undue stress. While procrastination does not directly affect your mental and physical health, stress is a direct result of delay and procrastination. We all know how stress can wreak havoc on your body; Poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and heart problems. These are just some of the dangers of procrastination; who knew that simply putting off work could kill you?
How To Stop Procrastinating?
- The art of list making
It might seem old fashioned, but the use of pen and paper to make lists and plot the various obligations is one of the most effective ways to stay on track. Nothing fancy required though, a simple to do list with each task written with its corresponding deadline sorted by importance of the task. This might look simple and you might believe it to be trivial, but it works.
- Eliminate all distractions
One of the reasons we procrastinate is the fact that the environment we study or work in almost always has too many distractions. The texts that keep coming, the people around you and the World Wide Web; which is a portal of distraction. Before commencing work, be sure to eliminate all distractions; use the airplane mode feature on your phone. You can also download browser add-ons or software to help you stay on track. If possible, changing the venue entirely is a great way to eliminate all distractions; try coffee shops, libraries or work spaces.
- Listen to music
A lot of published studies confirmed that instrumental music is a great focus tool. Listening to music without lyrics is a great way to stay in the zone; it ups your productivity and the right type of music will motivate you and keep you going till the end.
- Break it down
Large projects can be daunting; you don’t know where to start or what problem to tackle first. Break down the project into smaller and simpler tasks. This will make the project much clearer and make it easier to tackle the tasks one at a time. By doing that, you remove the anxiety that comes with handling hard, unpleasant or large scale projects.
The Eternal Struggle Between Now and Later
Think of procrastination as a time wasting beast that weighs you down and makes it harder to achieve your goals. Whether you’re at work, studying or tackling a home improvement project, procrastination always seems to find you. Don’t fall prey to the beast though, there are many methods to stay focused and complete your mission on time without delay. There is always a choice; now or later. Later always seems easier, but you pay the price later. Postponing tasks doesn’t always mean bad or unfinished work, but it does put a lot of undue stress on the procrastinator. Learn how to stop procrastinating and be the most effective person you can be. Productivity and focus are key; and now that you know some of the most effective tools to fight the beast, equip yourself and finally finish your tasks on time.