5 Practical Ways to Effectively Beat Procrastination & Get Things Done

With summer in full swing and COVID-19 restrictions easing up in many parts of the world, the last thing we’d like to do with our days is work. If you’ve found yourself procrastinating over and over again, know that you’re definitely not alone. Even in the most ideal of circumstances, practically everyone has fallen prey […]

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tips to beat procrastination
With summer in full swing and COVID-19 restrictions easing up in many parts of the world, the last thing we’d like to do with our days is work. If you’ve found yourself procrastinating over and over again, know that you’re definitely not alone. Even in the most ideal of circumstances, practically everyone has fallen prey to procrastination. Nevertheless, though some of us may try to deny it, we’re all well aware of the inevitable negative consequences  that comes with procrastination. For me, it mostly comes in the form of that sucky feeling of being riddled with panic and finding ourselves wishing “If only I had started earlier…” which usually wash over us as deadlines loom. As you may already noticed, the more we give in to procrastination, the more likely we are to fall prey to it in the future. Unfortunately, if we don’t actively take actions to stop procrastination, it can evolve into a severely bad habit that can adversely affect our lives and hinders us from becoming our best selves. Below are five practical things, which when practiced consistently, can help you to overcome procrastination and stay productive, even when distractions are abound!

1. Break down tasks or projects into smaller tasks 

In many cases where I would put off starting a task or project, it’s usually because I find the work to be too difficult or too daunting. In these cases, I have subconsciously associate ‘pain’ to those particular tasks so it’s no surprise that I would do whatever I could to delay myself from experiencing that pain. When you find yourself in a similar situation, the best thing you can do is to break down that seemingly huge undertaking into smaller, manageable tasks. Remind yourself that the hardest part is to begin so it would be helpful to make your initial step as simple and easy as possible. While it’s true that, especially when you’re feeling particularly motivated, it’s best to tackle the most challenging tasks/projects first, whenever you find yourself dragging your feet, tackling smaller tasks can help to establish momentum. Once you’ve get going, it is likely that you would feel a sense accomplishment and be more movited on getting through the rest of your to-do’s. If you still procrastinate on the task even after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Focus your attention and energy on one step at a time and before you know it, you will have completed that big project done with relative ease.

2. Take Charge of Your Surroundings

Whether we realize it or not, our working space has a big impact on our productivity. Personally, I found this to be true. So whenever I REALLY need to get things done, I do what I can to make sure that my surroundings promote productivity and minimize distractions. If you’re working remotely,  position yourself away  from things that are usually of distraction to you i.e: television, gadgets, etc. If you’re trying to get things done office, it can be a challenge to focus on getting things done when there are so much distractions to begin with. In addition to having colleagues, clients, visitors etc. constantly around us during business hours, we are also faced with the distractions of our gadgets. But no matter where we may be working, though we may not be able to shut out the people around us, we can always distance ourselves from our gadgets while working. While you’re on the clock, keep your social media use at a minimum – it can wait. We can also make a schedule for checking emails both for work and personal emails. Prioritize on only attending to emails that requires our immediate attention when you are pressed for time, this will greatly reduce the amount time wasted so you can focus on getting things done.

3. Create Timelines with Specific Deadlines

I’m fortunate to be able to make my own schedule but this may also be a disadvantage as I’m fully responsible on how my work days play out. I found that one of the most effective tools to make sure that I am on track with my deliverables is to set a timeline for each task or project that creates the urgency to act. At the end of the previous or at the very start of each day, make a list of the main things that you need to get done that day – this includes everything from tasks to meetings. If possible, make it as detailed as possible and be sure to give yourself a realistic amount to get each tasks and for each meetings (base it on your previous experiences). While it’s true that we often can’t quite pin our days to stick to the schedule we’ve set for ourselves because things changes unexpectedly. That said,  if you make a point to set deadlines and divide your time accordingly, you will much less likely to waste time as you have a clear plan as to how your day will and should play out on a daily basis.

4. Get an Accountability Partner

We humans have the amazing ability to talk ourselves into or out of nearly anything. By letting others know of the goals and projects we’ve set out to do, we help to reduce the chance of us backing out of them. I enjoy sharing and letting my loved ones as well as my coach know of my goals because as I let them know of what I am intending to accomplish, they instantly become my accountability partners. While accountability partners can certainly be those in your personal network (significant other, siblings, friends etc.), if you do not feel comfortable to share the details of a goal or project to your loved ones, a professional such as a business coach would make a great accountability partner. Public accountability can be powerful  as a trigger to remind us to  take consistent action and making progress. However, it particularly comes in handy when you inevitably hit roadblocks that may derail you from whatever you’re working on.

5. Just Do It!

NIKE had it right all along… Sometimes we spend too much time over thinking and over analyzing things that can easily be solved by taking action. Though planning and scheduling are essential in keeping track of progress, the task itself will never get done if we don’t take action(s) to get it started. If you find that you are constantly making excuses, trying to justify as to why you have yet to take action and/or waiting around until it’s the perfect time to start, remind yourself that the perfect time is always now. Mel Robbins, an author & motivational speaker, shared that we only have 5 seconds to follow though on our instinct or desire to act on a goal before our brain will ‘kill it’. Knowing this, all we need to do is count down from 5 and before that 5 seconds is up, be sure get moving on your task before all the excuses kick in. Remind yourself that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and  that the only way to get ahead is to get started. After all, the sooner you begin your journey, the faster you’ll experience the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment of getting to your destination. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and let’s get things done! 🙂

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