It’s no secret that procrastination kills productivity. So why are we in a constant battle with it?

Procrastination makes us leave the important tasks and waste valuable time, for what? Well that all depends on the person, I’m a foodie, so my thoughts go straight to food unfortunately.

 

We all procrastinate for a number of different reasons; here are a few of the main ones:

  • Perfection: Stop telling yourself that you don’t have all the tools or resources you need to start now – you do. Make use of what you have and just get it done!
  • Delaying makes perfection: Despite what you think, you won’t do better later, you will more likely do worse, because you will have left the task until the last minute and have to rush it, even if it means delivering it substandard.
  • Procrastination pile-up: All the other tasks you were procrastinating with are not more important than the task you’re avoiding now. Do the task at hand first, then complete the other tasks you were avoiding.

 

Here are some ways to beat procrastination and increase your productivity:

 

  1. Break it up

If you give yourself a mammoth task to achieve in a day, let’s face it, it’s never going to happen. You need to break up this big task into small, digestible tasks. Make it less daunting and more obtainable for yourself! Give yourself a little tasks to complete in order to achieve the ultimate task. Completing one or two small tasks will give you the motivation to keep going and finish the task.

 

  1. Make a to-do list

Write it down! It’s all well and good having a mental list of things to do in your head, but unless you physically write it down, you can’t refer back to it during the day and measure your progress against the list.

More importantly – don’t just put a whole bunch of tasks on this list that you know you’ll complete anyway, only put the ones that you’re avoiding. By doing this, you can’t lull yourself into a false sense of achievement, when really all you’ve done is all you would have done without a list anyway. Be strict with yourself.

 

  1. Bargain with yourself

We often bargain with ourselves to justify our procrastination or just plain laziness. For example, putting off your workout today and telling yourself you’ll train extra hard tomorrow. No. Bargain in a different way. Offer yourself a reward instead for actually completing the task you’re trying to put off. For example, if you workout today then you can have a burger on the weekend. Offer an incentive and make yourself want to do the task you’re so desperately trying to avoid.

 

 

  1. Tie off temptation

If your main distraction is your phone, you guessed it – turn it off or throw it into the other room. If you’re still going to go on Facebook and other time-wasting sites on your laptop, log off of them so it’s not as easy to be distracted. Minimise your temptations and make your life easier. If you know you can’t work in the same room as your sibling, find another room. If your cat won’t let you work from home without sprawling itself all over your keyboard, close your room door. Little steps really do help in the long run.

 

  1. Celebrate successes

Some people like to make physical to-do lists for the sole satisfaction of how they feel when they can cross an item off the list. It gives them a sense of achievement and motivates them to keep going. Remind yourself how happy you will feel if you get done everything you set out to at the beginning of the day. Bargaining with yourself also comes in here – if you complete x% of your to-do list (let’s say 100%!) then you can watch that film you’ve been wanting to watch.

  1. (Lack of) actions have consequences

Set out consequences for yourself if you don’t complete your to-do list. For example, if you don’t finish everything on your list, you’re not allowed to have that lie-in tomorrow, because you have to wake up extra early to finish this to-do list and the one you’re going to set yourself for tomorrow. You have to be disciplined though! No cheating and treating yourself anyway!

 

  1. Productivity pals

Tell you intentions to someone else. People always perform better when they are being held accountable for their actions. No one ever likes to admit that they’ve been lazy and not achieved something. Having someone to hold you accountable is an extremely good motivator.

 

Here are some books that you can read (not as a way to procrastinate and avoid what you really should be doing) on how to beat procrastination:

 

  1. Eat That Frog! – by Brian Tracy
  2. Procrastination – by Jane B. Burka
  3. The Now Habit – by Neil A. Fiore (my personal favourite)

 

 

 

Remember, time is money! Time spent procrastinating is time you’ll never get back. Start now! GSY