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5 TIPS FOR OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION
We have all been faced with a situation where we plan on doing something and later talk ourselves out of doing it. It could have been applying for a new job, sending pitches, bidding on jobs or more. Failing to do certain tasks when they are supposed to be done has led to undesirable consequences.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is derived from the word procrastinate. According to The Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary, to procrastinate is to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring.
Procrastination inhibits success. To be successful you have to work harder. How can you then work harder if you are postponing doing important tasks for no apparent reason?
Procrastinating on a task does not miraculously make it more pleasant or interesting. In fact, it disrupts your schedule. You will finally have to do the task when the deadline approaches. This means that you will have to squeeze it in your schedule even if it means not doing other important tasks. You must come up with a way of dealing with it if you ever want to be stress-free and build your career.
Here is a list of five tips that I have used to help me deal with procrastination and manage my time better.
Start from anywhere and don’t bother about perfection
If your project or task is divided into certain sections, choose any section to work on. You do not have to start at the beginning. Choosing a section that is interesting or easy to handle may boost your mood and make the entire project enjoyable. If the section you chose is a broad one, create subtopics. You can choose any subtopic to work on. You can choose to do the challenging ones first or the easier ones.
Personally, I like to deal with the easy subtopics first then the harder ones later. I find that if I do this, I build an interest in the project and even look forward to working on it.
At this stage, do not care about perfection. You will accomplish more if you are less focused on editing and doing more of writing, drafting or researching depending on what you are doing in your project. Deal with the mistakes during the editing and proofreading stage.
Allocate little bits of time to projects
You can have time allocation for the entire project as an hour or two, but within those hours, have short time allocation for projects like 15, or 25 minutes. Include 5 minutes break with each time allocation you choose. If you choose to do minutes, in most cases you will end up continuing with the project until another fifteen minutes later without having to take a break.
I choose the 25-minute approach because I find that I carry on until 25 minutes later when I might need to take a break. Within the 2hours I have allocated, I include a big break after two sessions of 25 minutes. After the big break, I incorporate another task that will take me less than an hour to complete. I do this to take my mind off the first project so that when I come back to it, I can have a clear mind to edit and proofread the document.
Work on difficult tasks of projects first
Start working on projects that seem the most difficult or are most demanding. Your goal is to get it out of the way so that it won’t bother you anymore. No matter how difficult a project is, there is always that part of it that you feel you can handle. Deal with the part of a project that is easier to work on first. It will give you a general idea of what is required. It will even build your courage of taking on the other parts of the project.
Most demanding projects need to be handled the same way. You need to start with those parts that require less work. Accomplishing the small tasks will build an interest in the entire project. When you develop an interest in something you will be willing to take time to do it. With this approach, the project won’t be as unbearable as it seemed.
Work even when you are not interested
Start working on the project at hand even if your brain tells you otherwise. Force yourself to start on the project. Margaret Spencer in her article, Overcoming procrastinination: How to get things done despite yourself, recommends using the 7minute approach.
In this technique, she recommends getting everything ready for the project and taking about 7 minutes doing nothing but just staring at the materials. You will be aching to start after the 7 minutes are over. Get into work mode without any disruptions. This approach seems to work. I have tried it and it has helped me a lot.
Create time for leisure
Include time in your schedule to do what you love. It is a good practice to reward yourself for completing your tasks. You need the time to allow your brain to recuperate. Use the leisure time to do your leisure activities. Some people use this time to catch up on work which is wrong. Rest is important so as to allow you to rebuild your energy.
Leisure time is meant to get your mind off work and help your entire body recuperate. You can use your leisure time to hang out with friends or family members, watch a television show, spend time on meditation or take a nap. I personally take 15 minutes off my leisure time to have a nap. I find it refreshing. Use this time to work on your hobby.
Finally, we may conclude that procrastination deters productivity. Strive to incorporate the tips listed in this article or use your own. The goal is to stop procrastinating and use your time wisely. It may seem difficult at first, but once you set a system in place and follow it, you will be able to get more done.
Please let us know if this article has helped you in the comments section below. If you have any other tips for overcoming procrastination, please share them as well. We are always glad to hear from you.