Procrastination is the tendency of putting tasks off to the last possible minute. This can be either professional or personal, but the habit is common amid people of all age. If you are a procrastinator, you perhaps miss opportunities too often, fail to meet deadlines and stress a lot. In order to eliminate it, you must first explore the key reasons behind procrastination.
It must be understood that procrastination is triggered in various ways and, therefore, reasons vary depending on the person and occasion. Common reasons behind it are laziness and fatigue. Some people put work away because they are overwhelmed by the workload.
Below are 5 effective ways to overcome the tendency irrespective of the reasons why you procrastinate.
1. Set Definite Goals
While this step might seem unnecessary, setting goals and small milestones is a crucial step towards becoming from efficient. First, take time to understand what you want and why exactly you want it. After deciding the target, you can divide the plan into smaller timeframes, i.e. weekly, monthly, and yearly. Breaking it down into smaller and simpler divisions give confidence that it is more attainable.
A common mistake many people make is that they do not write their goals down. You must jot your ultimate goal on paper and then decide the milestones. This reiterates to your mind that the work is important and so is the deadline.
2. Emphasize on Time Management
Poor time management is a common contributing factor to procrastination. Even if you have expertise to carry out the task, failure to manage time properly makes the process difficult. The more you delay, the more difficult the job at hand becomes. Habitual procrastinators must break this viscous pattern and embrace effective time management techniques.
The urgent-important matrix introduced by Dwight D. Eisenhower is a very effective tool that helps prioritize work. Stephen D. Covey write about this matrix in 1994 in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
According to this matrix, goals can be classified into the following based on level of urgency and importance:
- Long-term goals (Important but not urgent)
- Emergencies and crises (Important and urgent)
- Interruptions (Urgent but not important)
- Distractions (Not urgent and not important)
3. Set a Timer!
This is one of the most effective ways of getting work done. The best way is to use the 15-minute rule where you set a 15-minute timer on your device and start the work. Then, start doing the activity that you’ve been putting off and commit to doing it for 15 minutes. A burning question associated with this theory is “why just 15 minutes?”
This is because, 15 minutes is not a very big commitment. This short period of work often helps individuals overcome the procrastinator in them. Most often, they continue to work even after they have served their assigned 15-minute block.
4. Make Changes to the Work Environment
The tendency to procrastinate is often formed due to environmental cues. For example, you may not want to work at a comfortable and friendly environment of your apartment. Many people also find that working at a familiar workplace setting leads to inefficiency. In order to actively break your pattern, you have to change the work environment.
This change does not necessarily have to be huge. You can simply grab your phone and laptop and walk to the nearest park or coffee shop to work. The slightest changes like moving the computer to another room might help as well.
5. Find a Partner
The final method to eradicate procrastination is to find a partner. What do I mean by this? This does not need to be a work colleague. Your partner can be a sibling, a parent or even a friend who knows you well. This person’s assigned job will be to push you when the procrastinator in you takes over.
Inform your partner about deadlines and milestones so they know when to motivate you. You can do the same for them in return.
These are very simple ways to avoid procrastination. Do not allow the tendency to silently impact your life. Get up now and engage in something productive!