Procrastination has become a way of life for busy people and non-busy people. It’s what we do when we don’t want to tackle projects small or large. It’s the bane of our existence and a much-needed escape route for many of us, but does it have to be a constant in our lives? Are we doomed to never getting anything done on time, if at all?
The answer is no, procrastination doesn’t have to control our every move. We allow it to. We invite it into our daily lives and let it sit there in between us and our tasks. Oftentimes, it can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, feelings of inadequacy and even worse, job loss or loss of meaningful friendships and relationships.
We need to take a good hard look at not what procrastination is because we know that already. We’re living it. But we need to look at the reasons why we choose to procrastinate and what we can do to beat it for good.
Are we hesitating to do something because we believe we’re not qualified to do it? Is the task too large to tackle? Are we out of practice or overbooked? Is it fear? Lack of knowledge or lack of sleep? There are many reasons we procrastinate. Once you figure out your reasons, you can craft a plan to combat your tendencies.
- If the job is overwhelming and you know it will take a lot of time and effort, instead of going all in and trying to do everything at once, slow down, break it apart into manageable tasks and focus on one piece of the project at a time. The mere act of doing so will make you feel better and you’ll go home with a sense of accomplishment as you complete each small task.
- Is the task just an annoying part of your day? Do you avoid it because you don’t like it? There’s a solution for that. Set a timer or a stopwatch and tackle what you can, when you can in a short amount of time. You’d be surprised what you could accomplish in two, ten, fifteen or twenty minutes time. You’ll soon find that you’re done quicker than you thought.
- Shut off all distractions. If the internet, text messages, phone calls, games or apps are preventing you from getting your job done, shut them off, keep them out of sight or avoid them altogether until you’ve completed your task.
- Use time blocking. Look at your weekly to-do list. Write down how much time you think each job will take to complete. (Note: It’s much safer to overestimate than to underestimate.) Mark off hour, two-hour, three or four-hour blocks of time to accomplish whatever task you need to accomplish and work until your time is up. If you go into your workday blindly, you’ll find yourself unsure of how to proceed or trying to do too much at once. Focus on one thing at a time.
- Turn off all notifications. If someone truly needs to get ahold of you, they’ll find a way, in the rare event something important comes up. Checking social media is a time suck. Save the messages for later. Don’t check your email. Shut off alerts. Anything that comes in will still be there later. Now, get back to work!
By Vanessa Jackson