Having deadlines looming over our heads is tough. It not only impacts us emotionally, but it creates challenges in our lives because it makes us less productive and makes it harder to enjoy the moment. Here are 10 tips to help you overcome procrastination and get more done.
1. Divide and Conquer
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you look at things you need to get done? Instead of viewing your tasks as one massive behemoth that needs to be slain in one sitting, break it up into smaller actionable items. Add one or two of the subtasks into your daily action plan until the overall task is complete.
2. Set Deadlines
Have you ever pulled an all-nighter to write a paper or get a project done even though you knew it was due weeks in advance? The amount of time you give yourself is the amount of time it’ll take to finish something, regardless of how many hours it actually takes for the task to get done. Set yourself deadlines for when you will get things done. Schedule and commit to a specific time limit for each piece of work that needs to get done and work on at least one segment every day to keep the momentum up.
3. Track Your Time
Are there any activities that make it easier to procrastinate? Maybe you think, “I’ll just scroll through IG for 5 minutes” and then 20 minutes just flies, or you decide to use a Netflix show as an incentive, but that one episode turns into a show marathon. Time is the one resource you can never buy back, so you need to measure what matters. Track how you spend your time so you’ll be able to figure out these procrastinating triggers and either eliminate them or push them back to the end of your day.
4. Manage your Time Effectively
Keep track of all the 10-15 minute tasks in your day and group similar items together, so you don’t find yourself going to the post office or mall 5 times in one day.
Prioritize your tasks by efficiency and order importance. Figure out what your MVP is. If there’s a task that requires more thought or energy, manage your schedule accordingly. Book an appointment with yourself for when you would be better able to devote your attention to the task at hand.
5. Prime your environment
Gather everything you need before you start working on a project. You’ll feel more prepared and better able to overcome procrastination when you have everything you could need – or want on hand. (coffee, anyone?) That way, it’s harder to make excuses to not keep your appointment with yourself because you need to run off and get something. If you happen to be a productive procrastinator and decide now is the perfect time to Marie Kondo your home or start some kind of renovation project, then get out of your house and set up shop at your closest coffee shop.
6. Create some incentive
Think about the things you’ll be able to enjoy more if you get your task done now, or some kind of reward to motivate you. Maybe you’ll be able to watch the football game in the pub rather than trying to multitask or get to spend some guilt-free time reading a book or hanging out with friends and family. Whatever it is, find your why and use that to help beat procrastination.
7. Just give it 10 minutes
‘A task begun is half done.’ Sometimes, the hardest thing is just getting started. Put your phone on silent and just tell yourself to give 10 minutes of undivided attention to the task – no matter how small.
8. Eat the frog
Get the unpleasant task done first as early as you can in the day. Once you do this, the rest of the actions will look easier to get through.
9. Handle each file or paper only once
When you pick up a paper or open a file on your computer, take action on it immediately and then set it aside when you’re finished. This way, you won’t need to worry about it later or have to dig through loads of material at a later date to find it again.
10. Get buy in – and make your intentions public
Tell someone else you are going to get the task or project done by a certain point to help hold yourself accountable. Knowing that someone will be checking in on you will make you feel more compelled to complete it. (If you really want to level up on this, tell your mom – moms tend to be highly skilled at Nettling and Applying Guilt (n.a.g.) – but they do it with love!)
Remember, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.” The way to complete a bigger project or achieve the desired outcome is to start small and start now. Action begets action. Once you being to make progress, the momentum will keep growing so you can achieve more and procrastinate less.