6 Tips To Beat Procrastination
The procrastination takes place when you choose to do something usually more enjoyable than your immediate duties.
To put it simply, you’re ruining your life for no apparent reason.
Some research has been carried on this matter, and psychologists are struggling to come up with a clear anti-wasting-time recipe to motivate you. So what did they come up with that can be applied both in academic and professioal environments?
Here are some tips that should get you going:
1. Recognize you have a problem
It’s a cliche already that recognizing you have a problem is the first step to its solution. The same principle applies with procrastination. So if you’re doing it, you probably already know by now. Here are some examples that are indicators of a ‘I’ll do it later’ attitude:
- Going through e-mails without actually replying to any of them
- Postponing courseworks or projects until the last day
- Studying for an exam just a few days (or hours!) before
- Doing the low priority tasks first and leaving the most important for later
- Taking long and frequent breaks
- Waiting for the right time or mood to start working
2. Visualise negative outcomes
Imagine what would happen if you are not going to get to work soon. Missing a deadline or dissapointing a colleague can be some issues that your mind will dislike more than actually doing your tasks. While you may subconsciously be weighing the pros and cons of doing something, you probably will never think about what will happen if you DON’T do that thing. Therefore, you may be ignoring the benefits that arise after you complete a task.
For example, you have to finish a project by the end of the week. You’ve already done some work on it, you are obviously familiar with the brief, but today just isn’t your day. So you’re seriously thinking, in-between GoT episodes, to dig into it tomorrow. At this point you should realize that doing it tomorrow (closer to the deadline) will decrease your productivity, elevate your stress levels and you probably will not have time to do anything else, because today you finished the last Flash season.
3. Keep a to-do list
Keeping a list helps you stop conveniently forgetting important tasks. According to the Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks are more likely to stay stuck in your mind. This is also why to-do list items continually pop up in your head until you write them down — a to-do list calms the Zeigarnik effect. Write them down, along with a timeline and stay commited to your goals.
A list also helps you to be more organized and know what daily tasks you should complete. You can also keep track of your progress, which builds up your confidence and satisfaction.
When writing down your to-do list, try to treat yourself for every duty you’ve accomplished. It’s important to keep yourself determined; small treats contribute to your motivation. When you have a reward in sight, you are more likely to stop procrastinating (at least for the moment :D).
Choosing your treats depends on what things you enjoy. You can rewards yourself with a 10 minute coffee break, a walk in the park or an episode from your favourite series. Whatever keeps you motivated!
5. Set intermediate goals
Big tasks can oftenly be terrifying. Try breaking them down into smaller objectives and tackle each one of those separately. Instead of thinking of your coursework as an independent project, come up with intermediate tasks, such as doing the necessary research or formatting the whole document. This method is proved to improve productivity.
6.Kill the distractors
Distractions are your worst enemy when trying to work. And now, when most of the people work on a computer, the distraction level is sky high.
- Stop checking Social Media pages
- Let YouTube autoplay, don’t change the track every two minutes
- Turn your phone on silent — No notifications!
- Get a coffee, water and some snacks, so you won’t come up with another excuse to leave your desk