We all do it. Whether you’re someone who wastes time watching YouTube videos or simply finds other, more desirable chores to do other than your most important task you keep finding ways to avoid. Procrastination is an ailment that plagues all of us from time to time. Some of us are occasional victims to a bout of laziness, while others are habitual procrastination professionals.
Instead of letting procrastination take over your life, it’s necessary to grab your ability to pay attention by the horns and steer it in the right direction. It can be difficult to control your procrastination impulses, though, so it’s important to find exercises and habits that can help you get things done in a timely manner.
Productivity is a great attribute to have as a person. When you’re productive, you’re happier – while it might feel better to push off your responsibility in favor of more free time, you’re just prolonging a hidden sense of anxiety.
This is especially true of projects with deadlines that you put off. While you might be able to get all your work done on time despite procrastinating, no one likes that sense of stress they get when they’re burning the midnight oil the night something is due just because they put off their work until the bitter end.
Stop living like this. Use these three effective strategies to start being productive when you should be instead of slacking when you shouldn’t be.
Use a “break it down” method.
One of the biggest reasons we put off tasks is because they’re too arduous to us at the moment. Think about two different to-do list tasks: sending 10 emails for a charity you’re running a function for or cleaning out your two-car garage, packed with junk.
It’s much easier to just sit at your desk and shoot off some emails instead of spending the whole day trying not to be crushed by stray hockey sticks and boxes of old clothes. This is because you’re looking at the large picture, not the big one.
Instead of thinking about cleaning the whole garage, focus on the idea that you only take care of a small section or portion of the work every day. Spend one day stacking all the stray boxes lying around, then another sweeping the floor. The smaller the tasks are that you’re working with; the more likely you are to get them done. Eventually, the bigger project will be accomplished.
Don’t get down on yourself when you don’t succeed.
Everyone procrastinates – even when they’re trying not to. Even the most steadfast and productive person will slack off from time to time. Does this make them a failure? Does this mean they’re doomed to fall into a lazy groove and never accomplish anything? Ever?
This is another reason many people don’t accomplish tasks – they’re too hard on themselves and the idea of failure. Think about it: if you have a task you need to accomplish but you feel like you won’t succeed, how driven are you to complete said task?
When you procrastinate or fail a task, don’t think of it like it’s the end of the world. Think about it in a positive light. You might have fallen, but you can get up and start again.
Find your perfect planning method.
We know and understand that it’s a little insulting to tell you to write out a to-do list or start using a planner to map out your day in order to beat productivity – you can hear that advice anywhere. Of course you’ve tried a planning method!
The advice not often given is that every person has a planning style that fits them. Some don’t do well with to-do lists, while others swear by them. Don’t throw in the towel just because one system fails you. Try different methods out – post-it notes, apps, to-do lists, etc. You’ll find something that works for you eventually.