Procrastination looks like this- you have an assignment related to your work or personal project. Still, you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on social media or being amused by cute puppy videos on the internet. Now, don’t get me wrong. We both know the importance of this work you avoid. Or, are you avoiding a task because you’re afraid it won’t be good enough once it is done? But the funny thing is- you didn’t even start yet, but here you are, thinking how messy the end product will be.
I’ve been on that road a lot of times. I have to do this because I know it is important and I need to do that. Yet, over and over again, here I’m choosing Netflix or social media instead of doing what I should be doing.
I always have feelings of regret and sometimes self-hatred whenever my head hits the pillow at night, knowing that the days passed with me not working for my dream future. It sucks to be a procrastinator.
It got out of hand when I noticed how behind my plans for this blog, and it became my wake-up call.
I cannot continue like this. We cannot continue like this because procrastination is a big sabotage for our future. We know that time doesn’t stop for anyone, and no one can convince us to take the first step other than ourselves.
Is this your problem too? Well, here’s what I keep on doing to help me stop procrastinating and get things done, for real.
Keep things organized as much as possible.
Calendars and planners are a real deal, especially if we want to keep the tasks or events in our lives at hand. I make it a habit to see my calendar and planner first thing in the morning through my computer or on my phone.
I do this to glance at everything I need to do and the urgency of the tasks on my calendar. This helps me avoid procrastination by reminding me what tasks should be tackled first and how long it will take me.
Break down a big task
I’m not a fan of last-minute work, but I do applaud people who can do it gracefully. I find doing a big task fighting in the last hours before the deadline, tiring. This task will be done poorly, or I’ll end with my anxiety. If you’re like me and you also refuse the last-minute work, then I suggest you break down your big task into smaller manageable tasks.
That’s the reason why I suggest using planners or calendars to keep things as organized as possible. What do I mean by breaking down your task?
For example, you need to write a 20-page report. If you tell yourself that you need to sit down and write a 20-page report, you’ll most likely end up not doing it. Thinking about a 20-page report is overwhelming, and I bet you’ll not do it until the deadline is near.
We can avoid procrastinating on our 20-page report by breaking it down into small writing tasks. Instead, say that “tonight I’ll write one page of my report- just one page!”
But once you sit down and do your first page, you’ll end up doing more. That’s because sometimes, the cure for procrastination is just to take the first step.
Build a system or habits around what you need to do
Think of the things you do daily that are automatic and don’t need much motivation- like taking a bath or brushing your teeth. What better advice can I give than to do the same?
To beat procrastination, we should try to build a system or habits around our goals or plans. For example, if a goal is to publish one article a week- then a habit should be to sit down and write, even if it means a few words or paragraphs a day. If writing is the goal, it is important to focus on building the habit of sitting in front of a computer and doing the related tasks little by little. Do this until you get to the flow of things.
This advice aims to make the actions automatic and natural as you would when you’re taking a bath or brushing your teeth.
Identify what tasks you are procrastinating on and ask yourself how you can build a system around this goal. It is essential to create a specific action that will prompt you that it’s time to make the habit. Take my example:
a. Turning on the computer, opening my idea notebook, and launching a calming music playlist on my Spotify is my signal that I’m about to do something for my blog.
b. I commit to write and publish one article a week
c. I decided to write not less than 30 minutes a night.
Beat procrastination by being clear with your intentions and priorities
I met the word opportunity cost while I’m studying Accounting. Opportunity cost means what benefits are lost when you go for your first option rather than your other choices.
Ask yourself this: what is it I’ll lose if I continue to procrastinate on these particular tasks?
Every day, we are faced with different choices. That’s why we should always aim to make the best choice for ourselves and our future because foregoing the best option has an equivalent opportunity cost. We may not feel the impact of our bad decisions for now, but these bad choices will surely be felt sooner or later.
Self-reflection is about seeing yourself and examining your feelings. It is where you define the things that are happening in your life. Self-reflection allows you to pause and give your emotions a name, and it can also give you an excellent chance to improve your life. Read the blog post here
The practice of self-reflecting will help set your mind on the present and see things clearly. With self-reflection, you’ll see what should be your intentions and priorities versus what you’re doing at the moment. Having the right intention and priorities will help us beat procrastination because we know exactly how important the task is and why we should not avoid and resist doing it in the first place.
Start this by organizing your day for success. Read the whole blog post here.
Be good to yourself and accept your imperfections.
We sometimes procrastinate because we have little to no confidence in our abilities. It could be because of our past experiences. Still, the important thing is to start taking the steps of unlearning those bad experiences.
We should be at ease in accepting ourselves, even our shortcomings and our imperfections. If that’s the reason why you are procrastinating, maybe it’s about time to learn more and cultivate a growth mindset.
With a growth mindset, you’ll view things or challenges as an opportunity, instead of believing that things or event in your life is fixed.
Identify your distraction and understand how it’s stopping you from working towards your goals. You can do this by tracking your habit. With this, you can see how and where you’re spending most of your time. Eliminating distractions is especially helpful if your reason you’re procrastinating is that you believe you have limited time.
Final Notes on How to Beat Procrastination
The most important thing to do to beat procrastination is to understand and accept that you are procrastinating, why you are procrastinating, and how you can beat it. It takes a final decision and action to defeat the resistance of doing what you should be doing to improve your life.
If our minds and attention is clear and focused on what we want to achieve, it’ll help us be inspired to take the next step towards our desired life. No matter why you are procrastinating now, the best way to beat it is to decide. Decide what you want your future life to be, and take intelligent steps toward it now.
Do you procrastinate? let me know how you deal with it.
Love and light,