Many of us develop the bad habit of procrastinating. In fact, right now there is probably something you should be doing, but you’ve found yourself browsing the web instead.
Fortunately, this time searching the Internet was likely productive, as this may be the article you need. Whether you’re procrastinating because of anxiety, a fear of being imperfect, a lack of motivation, poor-decision making skills, or something else, these five easy steps can help you to overcome it.
Create a list
Lists, whether written down the old-fashioned way, or on your laptop, smartphone or iPad, are key. Write down every task you have to do that day and as you finish each one, cross it off your list. It’s best to rank your tasks by priority, completing the highest priority items first. About halfway through your day, you may want to reevaluate – saving the easiest for last.
Setting a time frame for each item can also help – for example, write “go for a run from 7 am to 8 am,” rather than writing just “go for a run.”
Get rid of distractions
Distractions make it easy to lose focus and encourage procrastination. Identify what distracts you, such as Facebook, Twitter or email. Set a timeframe for which you’ll avoid those distractions, or if you need to, get an app to block them such as Anti-Social, Concentrate or Focus Me. You may also need to shut off your smartphone or computer and hide any other temptations.
Give it just 5 minutes
If there is something you really want to put off but know it must be done, follow the five minute rule. Starting is often the hardest part, especially when the task is something we fear, whether it’s extremely challenging, lengthy, or for some other reason. Tell yourself you’ll work on it for just five minutes and you might find that your energy and momentum start to flow.
Break it into mini-tasks
For larger tasks, break them down into mini-tasks and just focus on one at a time. If you still find yourself procrastinating, you may need to break them down even further. At some point, each one may become so simple you’ll find yourself thinking that you might as well just get it all done now.
For example, writing a 10,000 word article may seem overwhelming, but if you break it down into phases, it will feel much easier to accomplish. The first phase might be deciding the topic, research second, creating an outline third, and so on.
Give yourself extra motivation
We all need something to motivate us to complete whatever it is that needs to get done, whether it’s money, a sense of accomplishment, or even fear of punishment. You may need to try both positive and negative reinforcement to see which works best for you. For example, tell yourself that when you finish a challenging task you’ll get a special reward such as going to a movie, buying a new outfit, or something as simple as walking outside for some fresh air.
Or, tell yourself if you don’t finish the project at hand you’ll have to do some unpleasant chore or something else you just don’t want to do. Don’t let yourself do something you want to do until you’ve finished the task – whether it’s watching your favorite TV show, posting a Facebook status or taking a nap.
As everyone is different, some tips will work for certain people while others won’t. You may need to try a number of things until you discover what helps you curb the urge to procrastinate.
-The Alternative Daily