Do you have a quote that excites you to work on your weaknesses while making you feel guilty for not working on them at the same time? When it comes to procrastination, my go-to quote is Charles Richards’;
”Do not be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in a year as you make use of.”
This literally means that as much as a year has 365 days, your year only has the number of days you use. If you spending more time procrastinating as opposed to working on your goals, you are literally subtracting days from your life.
How to overcome procrastination
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task – William James
You feel frustrated and end up judging yourself when you postpone or procrastinate tasks. However, the good news is that there is a solution to your struggle!
Statistics on procrastination shows that over the years, procrastination has quadrupled in the last 30 years.
- 20% of the world population is affected by procrastination.
- Surveys conducted on student populations around the world indicate that 85-95% of students suffer from procrastination.
- What’s worse, 40% of the world procrastinators say that they have suffered financially due to procrastination. Crazy! Right?
- 1 out of every 5 people in the world is so deep into this problem that it jeopardizes their job, relationships, credit score, and worse still, their health.
Some negative effects of procrastination include;
- Poor eating habits which lead to poor immune systems.
- Less sleep.
- Drinking more than those who don’t procrastinate.
- It destroys teamwork. Procrastination derails your productivity which ends up frustration other team members.
- It affects relationships. Yes, people lose friends when they don’t do what they are meant to do to keep the relationships healthy.
10 proven methods to avoid procrastination
Tell yourself ‘Do it now!’
Investing in your subconscious mind is one proven way of overcoming procrastination. Constantly use this phrase to remind yourself to get more things done. You will always be the best-suited person to give a pep talk to yourself. You know best what you want to achieve and how much it matters to you. Talk and remind yourself constantly to do what you are meant to do.
Do the bigger and most scary tasks first.
Your minds tend to convince you to avoid doing the tasks that scare you first. This leads to longer procrastination periods. You have the power to beat this struggle by deliberately pushing yourself to work on the scariest tasks first. With time, your fear will reduce and you will be more productive.
Put first things first.
Putting first things first as discussed in the 7 habits of highly effective people book is an effective cure for procrastination. Every day before you sleep, write a list of goals that you need to achieve. The next morning, decide which of these in the list are the most urgent and important. Start with that. This will lead to a feeling of happiness and accomplishment which will automatically give you the motivation to work on the rest of the tasks.
Manage your temptations.
In recent times, social media has been proven to be one of the biggest causes of procrastination. When you decide to work on a task, manage your temptations by keeping distractions away from you. Log out of social media. Keep your phone away from you. You can also ask your friend or workmate to keep the phone for you until you finish your tasks.
For me to cultivate a habit of publishing an article every week on this blog, I deactivated my social media accounts for 6 months. When bored, I didn’t have Instagram or Facebook to check which led me to just sit and research on blog topics. By the time I activated my accounts after the 6 months, social media was no longer exciting for me. I had also already acquired other more fun habits such as learning a new language on Duolingo. Try this trick!
Break the big tasks down into smaller goals
One of the reasons that result in procrastination is that the further away a deadline is, the less impact it has on your sense of urgency. This means that when you think that a task is too huge to complete, you are more likely to avoid it. Break down the work into small manageable bits and make sure you celebrate yourself as you accomplish them!
A practical example is what I do when creating a blog post. Before I start, I always feel lazy and I’m always tempted to put it off till the end of the week. Using this tip, I divided the tasks involved in creating a blog post into the following:
- Pick a topic
- Keyword research
- Writing 1st draft
- Images search
As soon as I get the first task done, I usually feel psyched to keep going. The psyche keeps getting bigger as I tick off more tasks. You should do the same with your big tasks!
Work on your self-confidence.
Yes! When you believe in yourself and you believe that you can accomplish something, you are more likely to not procrastinate. Self-doubt leads to procrastination.
It is mentally exhausting to try and multitask. Yes, I used the word ‘try’ because multitasking has been proven to be a myth, especially in a work environment. Push yourself to one thing continuously until it’s done then move to the next one. In the order of their importance and urgency!
Get an accountability partner.
This is one of my favourite ways of avoiding procrastination as I have tested it and it works! For example, if you have a blog like me, ask a friend of yours to be your accountability buddy by ensuring that you consistently publish something every week! Ensure that your buddy is also a goal-oriented person who is willing to push you beyond your excuses! Have weekly accountability meet-ups, phone calls or emails.
Think (seriously!) about how much time you have lost.
Your life goal should be to have a gorgeous respect for your time. When you realize that life is not a rehearsal and that you only have this one life, the guilt will push you towards kicking things off your to-do list!
Make work fun!
In my next article, I will write to you about a beautiful technique known as Pomodoro. This technique is all about managing your distractions and doing fun things along the way which makes work more bearable. Better still, it brings balance to your life as it ensures you have time to do almost everything you ever desired!
Scientists have also proven that some people thrive on procrastination. Interesting right? So how do you know if you are among the few? Ask yourself if you have previously come up with innovative ideas during your ‘procrastination time.’ If you have constantly done this, then lucky you! Keep thriving!
PRO TIP! Include something you have already accomplished on your To-do list!
Yes, every day before you start working on your scheduled tasks, add something that you have already accomplished and mark it as done. Having one accomplished thing on your list will give you the motivation to work on the rest. It makes you feel proud and encourages you to keep going!
The first step towards succeeding in this journey is by writing down your biggest priorities in life. This is for both personal and professional aspects of your life. Every day, ask yourself ‘Are the tasks that I have scheduled today bringing me closer to meeting my life priorities?’ If yes, bravo! If no, change them. Always, see you on the success ladder! 🙂