If you’re the master procrastinator, you know the woes of trying to finish a project at the last minute.
There’s that instant panic when you realize the due date is around the corner. But you haven’t started even the easiest of tasks, and that larger task just seems like an even more challenging task.
We’ve all been there. And sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t get in the mindset to start a big task. So, you keep putting it off and are overcome with negative emotions, like stress and discomfort.
It’s like you physically don’t have the motivation to start what you need to start.
The worst part is that when you put off what you should be doing until the last minute, you don’t do your best work.
Procrastination is tricky. If you want to overcome your procrastinating tendencies, you need to understand why you’re procrastinating. The reason isn’t always as clear as you’d like.
We’re going to discuss the intricate details of procrastination and share some tips to get you out of the rut. It’s time to overcome procrastination.
Understanding Your Procrastination & Why You Delay Work
You can’t overcome anything if you don’t understand why you’re doing it. This includes when you’re trying to overcome procrastination.
And it’s not as simple as to say that there’s only one cause. There will be times when there are multiple reasons you’re putting your projects off.
For now, we’re going to discuss the main causes of procrastination. You have to decide for yourself why procrastination has taken over your life.
No Upfront Reward Rewards Fuels Procrastination
There are a lot of things we do because we’re rewarded in one way or another.
There are even tasks we take on for a dopamine hit. And we have no idea we’re doing it for that reason.
Sometimes your brain needs that euphoric feeling, so it puts you to work. It motivates you.
Maybe you’re up for a promotion and a big pay raise. You only have to tackle your project just right.
That promotion is your reward for all that hard work.
However, what if you’re not up for a promotion and your job isn’t on the line? Maybe you’re not a big fan of your job, so there’s no dopamine reward when you finish a work project.
What’s your reward? You’ll have to find your reward on your own.
Perfectionism Holds You Back From Starting
Perfectionism seems to be one of the most common reasons you find yourself procrastinating.
Some of us are perfectionists. We expect the best and only the best from ourselves. So, we often produce fantastic work.
But perfectionism is a double-edged sword. You don’t always produce strong work.
Sometimes you’re not motivated to even start because you know how frustrating and tear-jerking it’s going to be. That’s how it is for you when putting in 100%.
And as we stated earlier, you don’t always do your best when you wait until the last minute.
That’s not the only reason perfectionism holds you back from starting. You often find yourself thinking about what you need to do. You analyze the details in your head.
You want everything perfect. But you’re so busy planning that you never actually start your project.
Distractions Everywhere Make Procrastination Easy
Distraction is another big cause of procrastination. You can’t finish your project if you can’t focus on what needs to be done.
Our attention is tempted every minute of every day to be taken over by something else. It can be by social media or by your family.
Or because your mind is on something hectic in your life.
This is a problem if you struggle with ADHD too. You become overly focused on something you enjoy.
Time passes by without you noticing. Next thing you know, your project is due in an hour.
This is only one way (out of many) that ADHD can steal your attention and distract you.
Your focus isn’t always where it needs to be, no matter what your distraction may be.
You’re going to be distracted so you don’t start your project. Or you’re going to be distracted after you’ve already started.
You Don’t Want to Do it
This cause of procrastination ties in with when you’re not receiving a reward for the project.
But not receiving a reward isn’t the only reason you might not want to start your important tasks.
Sometimes you just don’t like what you’re supposed to be working on. Nobody wants to start something they don’t enjoy doing.
It’s the weekend and you promised yourself that you’d clean out your hallway closet. But you absolutely hate organizing.
Or you don’t enjoy your job and you hate filling out data reports. So, you avoid it at all costs.
Sometimes you won’t even know you’re procrastinating because you don’t want to do it.
How to Overcome Your Procrastination
Now that you’re aware of why you’re procrastinating, it’s time to fix the nasty habit that’s holding you back.
There are several ways to fight your urge to procrastinate. These are concepts you’ll have to develop into habits if you want to succeed.
Break Down Tasks into Bite-Sized Pieces
Break down your tasks into bite-sized pieces. If you have the time to stretch out a task or project, this will save you a headache.
On a piece of paper, break down everything it takes to do the project. Make it as easy as possible on you.
Make the list from the most important task to the least important task. You want to work on the hardest tasks first.
The faster you finish your tasks, the better.
This is where you can use the Pomodoro technique. In the Pomodoro technique, you set a timer for 25 minutes.
During those 25 minutes, work on the hardest task on your list. Once your 25 minutes is over, take a five-minute break.
Every time you take a break, take five extra minutes from your last break.
Repeat the process. If you’re still working on the first task, keep going. If you’re ready to move on to the next task, do it.
If it’s a work project, don’t be afraid to delegate those into bite-sized tasks.
Get Rid of All Distractions
When it’s time to get down to the work, get rid of all distractions around you. You don’t need to be tempted to procrastinate.
If you have your own office at work or home, shut the door. Make sure others know not to enter.
Hang up a “Do Not Disturb” sign if you have to.
Separate yourself from your cell phone. Place it in another room and turn it off. You won’t be tempted to grab your phone and check your e-mail while working on your project.
If your project needs to be worked on from your computer, consider turning off the internet for a short time.
Even if you’re tempted to plug your modem back in, it’ll take a few minutes to boot up.
Anything that normally distracts you, you need to get rid of or hide from sight.
Organize But Keep It Simple
Get yourself organized. That way everything is ready to go when you sit down to work on your project.
It makes procrastinating even harder. You don’t have any excuses after that point.
While organizing your desk can be a method of procrastination, having a clean desk free of distractions can put you in a better state of mind.
Organize your project. Not only should you make a list of bite-sized goals, but you should get everything ready.
Any materials needed should be grouped so they’re easier to get through. Have all the documents you need in a folder together so it takes two clicks to get what you need.
Organization will make that dreaded project so much easier.
Consider an Accountability Partner
Do you have a partner at work? Or a friend that likes to help you out? Ask them to be your accountability partner.
It doesn’t matter if it’ a work project, a creative project, or a home project. There should be someone out there that can work with you.
Make sure your accountability partner is tough but flexible.
You don’t want a partner that won’t hold you to your plans or someone that will listen to your excuses.
You also don’t want someone who’s going to be rigid. Life happens, and you don’t need them riding you because you didn’t finish your project after an accident happened.
You need someone that’s a happy medium.
Don’t Multitask. Serial Task Instead
Multitasking is one of the worst things you can do if you want to end your procrastination.
At first, it seems like you’re being productive when you multitask. You’re getting things done.
But you’re not getting as much as you think you are, or how much you could get done if you focused on one project at a time.
This is another area that a list with the hardest tasks at the top comes in handy. You know which task is the most important.
Start with that most important task first. Don’t worry about the other tasks until you get to them on your list.
You’ll be doing your best on each task since you’re focused on one thing at a time.
Reward Yourself Often. Find Small Wins.
Earlier, we talked about how sometimes we procrastinate because there’s no reward for the work.
Make a reward for yourself. Your reward doesn’t have to come from outside sources or your brain.
Have you been wanting to try out your new video game? Make a goal to finish ‘X’number of tasks. Once you meet that goal, you get an hour to try out your new game.
After rewarding yourself so many times, your brain will get used to that feedback. You’ll start getting a dopamine rush.
That dopamine rush will trick your brain into wanting to do the work as well as enjoying the work.
Write in a Journal
Before you start your project, write in a journal. Write down all the thoughts in your head.
Get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper so they’re not swarming around your head.
When battling procrastination, you don’t want to sit down with your mind on the next day.These thoughts can halt your progress.
Instead, you want your mind clear and focused. Your mind needs to be ready to get stuff done.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, sleep is important for concentration and focus. You need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep for optimal brain health.
Without proper sleep, you find yourself being less productive. And without productivity, you can’t overcome procrastination.
Your body needs time to repair and rest your mind. Your body can’t do that while you’re awake. You’re still using your mind, after all.
Final Thoughts on Procrastination
Procrastination can wreak havoc on your productivity. It doesn’t matter what your project might be.
But we’ve all been guilty of procrastination, and it happens to the best of us.
On the bright side, you can turn that procrastination back around into productivity. Turn these simple tips into strong habits that you can utilize for life.
Source of Featured Image: canva.com