Procrastination comes naturally to many people. When we are faced with boring, tedious and irritating tasks we tend to delay them to avoid the unpleasant emotions they bring. Everybody procrastinates once in a while, but some people have to battle procrastination on a daily basis. For these chronic procrastinators, we have selected a few effective hacks they can use to beat procrastination once and for all.
Work Without Interruptions
In every office space there are many distractions. Emails arrive, notifications pop up and co-workers pass by and chat. Although sometimes these distractions are impossible to avoid, you should always try to schedule periods of time when you are determined to work uninterrupted. One of the best ways to achieve this is by using the Pomodoro technique, named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer.
Set your timer to 25 minutes and try to do as much work as you can during those 25 minutes. Then when the working period is over, take a 5-minute break. During the break, you can get up and walk around, answer emails or talk to your co-workers. When the break is over, set your tamer to another 25 minutes and get back to work. There are many Pomodoro apps out there that can help you perfect this technique and learn how to work 25 minutes straight, without interruption. On the other hand, if you do need to allow yourself to be interrupted by certain notifications, you can always get a custom solution that will work the way you need it to.
Try the “Under 10 Minutes Rule”
People often disregard small tasks. They often see them as boring and trivial, which is why they tend to put them off for later. The under 10 minutes rule was invented to help you deal with precisely these small tasks that can cause a lot of problems if they pile up. If you get a task that takes under 10 minutes to finish, do it right away. By finishing these simple tasks as soon as they come, you’ll prevent them from becoming a bigger problem along the way. Also, once you know you got all your small tasks done, you’ll be able to focus on bigger tasks, without distractions.
Limit Your Email Checking to Three Times a Day
One of the most common forms of procrastination is needless email checking. How many times have you thought to yourself, “let me just check my email, and then I’ll get to work“? Checking your email can take up a lot of your time, that would be better spent on other, more important tasks. Researchers have found that on average, a person checks their email 15 times every day.
That’s why many experts suggest that you should limit your email checking to only three times a day: once in the morning, once after lunch and once about an hour before you leave work. A 2015 study has proven that checking your email only three times a day will not only save you a lot of time, but it will also drastically reduce your stress levels. And lower stress levels will positively impact your overall well-being.
Set Your Priorities
If you have many things on your plate, you can easily make the mistake of shifting from one task to another, never completely finishing either one of them. But choosing one assignment as your top priority will keep you focused and motivated. That way, even if everything else stays unfinished, at least you’ll know you have that one important thing done.
Segment Large Projects into Small Tasks
Big projects can seem overwhelming, which is why many people put them off for another day. But you can finish even the most complicated tasks if you segment them into several actionable steps that are easy to complete. These steps should be simple and straightforward, but complicated enough to still provide a sense of accomplishment when they are done.
Go Out for a Walk
Getting in touch with the natural world can help you beat procrastination and significantly improve your productivity. A study from the University of Michigan found that people who took a walk through nature subsequently improved their attention and focus by 20%. That’s why, every time you feel stuck, instead of making another cup of coffee, take a short walk down a tree-lined avenue or a nearby park. If you can’t get out of the office, try looking at an office plant to get the same result.
Get Enough Sleep
When you are tired your mind finds it difficult to focus, which is why you are more likely to give in to distraction. That’s why you should make sure to go to sleep a little bit earlier and avoid feeling fatigued at work. It will do wonders for your productivity.
We know that battling procrastination can be difficult. After all, we’ve all been there. But these easy tricks will help you get over that nasty habit and turn you in a more productive and happier human being.