Procrastination: 5 Ways For Handling It

Are you looking for a way to stop procrastinating? To begin with, you can put this article down right now and get back to work.

But, since that’s unlikely to happen, let’s take a deeper look at some procrastination-busting tactics.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to overcoming procrastination.
To some extent, I’ve learned to accept my delaying tendencies. I simply create a new to-do list when my current one becomes too long. What’s more, you know what? Most of the time, the chores I believed I needed to complete turned out to be unimportant.

Procrastination might sometimes be a clue that we’re working on the incorrect project. It could also indicate that we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and recharge before returning to the task tomorrow.

Of course, procrastination might be a result of laziness.

If you have an exam to study for, a paper to write, a presentation to give, or a boss/client to placate, the task will have to be completed, whether you start today or tomorrow.

Only do work you’re truly passionate about It’s possible that you don’t have a procrastination issue as much as a working one.

If you find yourself postponing week after week, month after month, year after year, it’s possible that you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Perhaps it’s time to look for a new job, change careers, or drop out of school to pursue your dreams.

Of course, it’s also possible that you’re dealing with a painful, unpleasant duty that you must complete in order to get to where you want to be in life.

If this is the case, continue reading (or better yet, stop reading now and go do what you need to do).

Related: 10 Creative Brainstorming Techniques & Tips

If you need to get some work done, use the following strategies to overcome procrastination:

1) Increase Your Self-Awareness

There are two types of procrastination. There’s:

Starting a task is difficult.
When you’re working on a project, it’s easy to get sidetracked.
They both have the same pattern of self-justification.

“I really need to get started on this,” you tell yourself.
You’re feeling tense.

You have a strong want to do something else, so you tell yourself, “I’ll start shortly, but I can spend another 5 minutes doing this other thing.”Giving yourself this brief relief momentarily lowers tension and reinforces the neurological circuits associated with procrastination, making it slightly easier to succumb to procrastination again 5 minutes later.

Try this the next time you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle. When you’re about to start a task and a voice in your head says things like “check your email, it might be essential!” or “I wonder if anyone commented on my Facebook status,” resist. Tell yourself that this is the last time you’ll give in.

Once you recognize the urge for what it is – a quick impulse generated by your reptilian brain – it will vanish.

Related: How to Get Things Done (Even When You Don’t Want to)

2) Work is Often Done in the First 30 Minutes of Each Day.

Does this sound familiar: you begin your workday/study session by assuring yourself that you’ll “just check email/Facebook/Twitter/Reddit for 5 minutes, then I’ll go to work.” Before you know it, 5 minutes has turned into 2 hours, and 2 hours has turned into 4 hours, and you’ve wasted half your day checking email, social media, YouTube, and your favorite viral news sites?

Work should take up the first 30 minutes of your day/workday/study session. If you need to check your email or social media sites, do so after you’ve settled into a decent work routine, and you’ll find it much simpler to turn it off. Better yet, shut out all distractions until you’re finished.

Are you having problems getting started in the first 30 minutes? Tell yourself that you’re only going to complete 10 minutes of work and that if it becomes too difficult, you’ll take a break. Usually, the first ten minutes are all you need to start focusing.

Related: 13 Entrepreneurs Share Their Efficiency Secrets

3) Schedule a Date With Yourself

Humans are strange creatures; if we’re meeting a friend, we’ll establish a time and then show up. The majority of us would never schedule an appointment with a friend and would simply refuse to show up for no reason. We’ll make broad goals and feel completely fine pushing back our self-imposed deadlines when it comes to vital duties like going to the gym or writing another chapter for your novel.

Begin scheduling key tasks and doing them on time, no matter what. You wouldn’t skip out on a meeting with a friend just because you’re sleepy, right? So, what’s the point of going to the gym? If you want to go to the gym three times a week, instead of promising yourself that you’ll go three times this week, pick three days and three times that you’ll go, and stick to those appointments no matter what.

4) Decrease Anxiety

Did you know that willpower, like any other form of energy, is a finite resource that can be depleted?

The more energy you spend avoiding temptation, the less energy you’ll have later on, just like going for a morning jog tires you out for your evening workout. Real studies have backed up this claim.

What does this imply for someone who is attempting to overcome procrastination? It means that simply knowing that Facebook or Reddit are only a click away can cause you to become distracted and procrastinate.

While you may be able to avoid temptation for the first half of your workday, as you invest more energy focused, you’ll be more prone to succumb to temptation and begin delaying. To avoid this, block distracting websites with software like Rescuetime, StayFocusd, or Freedom, or turn off the internet entirely. Not having to deal with continual distractions will not only reduce your chances of succumbing to temporary temptations but will also offer you more energy to focus on your work and avoid procrastinating when you’re fatigued.

5) Accept and Embrace Deficiencies

We postpone in order to avoid having to make unpleasant decisions or cope with a difficult assignment. Coming up with the perfect thesis might be so scary if you’re attempting to create the perfect paper that you don’t even want to start. Rather than continually striving for perfection, begin intimidating endeavors by simply starting. You can’t think of a good starting line for your essay? Simply begin writing everything that comes to mind about the subject.

Have you run out of ideas for a topic? Begin by jotting down anything that seems remotely related to the topic.

The same is true when it comes to studying. Is the prospect of reading that large textbook too daunting? Simply begin by reading the table of contents or the first page of the book. You’re too exhausted to take notes or actually think about what you’re learning? Simply skim over what you need to get through, then return tomorrow to re-examine the content once you’ve had a chance to rest. It’s better to do something than nothing, and once you get started, you’ll often discover you have more energy than you expected.

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