Is your motto, “why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?”
Procrastination is an easy habit to slip into, as it is incredibly tempting to avoid doing something that is not urgent. When a project is due, the house needs cleaning, or a form needs filling out, we often decide that we will get away with doing it another day.
However, procrastination can really come back to bite us when the deadline looms near and we realize that we have left way too much work for ourselves. Every college student who has gotten in trouble for snoring in class after pulling an all-nighter finishing a term paper will tell you that procrastination seems like a good idea at the time but isn’t a healthy or productive way to manage your life.
So how can we combat our natural tendency to put things off until tomorrow? Here are a few effective ways that you can cure your procrastination and get things done!
- If you are procrastinating because the task seems huge and overwhelming, break it into small steps and accomplish one step per day. For example, if you are writing an essay you can decide on the topic one day, create an outline the second day, write a first draft the third day, edit your draft the fourth day, etc. When you break the task into small parts, it seems much less scary and you will be more likely to accomplish each small piece in one day.
- Promise yourself a reward, only after you complete your portion of the task for the day. For example, tell yourself that you will take a walk on the beach after you clean the kitchen. You will be surprised how much quicker you wash those dishes when the sun is shining outside and you are eager to get out and enjoy it.
- Start in the middle. Sometimes we procrastinate on a large task because we are just not sure how to begin. Don’t worry about the beginning, just start in the middle instead and get the ball rolling. For example, get started tackling a large job like cleaning out the garage by grabbing any random box of junk and figuring out how to deal with it. Doing things out of order is better than never doing them at all.
- Eliminate your distractions. If you know that television, Facebook, or computer games distract you from getting things done, get rid of them until you are finished your task. Unplug your modem, or ask someone to hide the Xbox until you finish what you need to do.
- Stop over-complicating the task and waiting for the perfect opportunity to do it. There is no “perfect” time to do anything, so make the most of the time you have right now!
These are just a few ways that you can cure your tendencies for procrastination, and enjoy a more productive life!