I often define procrastination as the action of delaying or postponing to-do tasks. No matter who you are, during some stages of your life, you will constantly have to deal with Procrastination. Defeating it is difficult, even the toughest and most hardworking people constantly have to deal with it.
Procrastination is normal to occur, but the breaking point is how you deal with it. If procrastination was an Olympic sport, many people would have won a series of gold medals.
My favourite quote about procrastination is from Abraham Lincoln:
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
One thing is that everyone knows procrastination is harmful, but who likes to skip tasks and responsibilities that become burdens to them later? Nobody, right?
Well, some people enjoy being pressurized when they are close to deadlines. The pressure itself causes mental fatigue, health issues, emotional imbalance, stress, affects the quality of your work and ultimately causes memory loss. When you procrastinate, there is a high probability that you will forget most of the things or everything you have to do to complete a task.
I’ve heard people say they aren’t procrastinators, but they are very productive at doing unimportant things. They are literally lying to themselves.
Procrastination is not an untainted behaviour, it causes bad self-regulation. Researchers compare procrastination to alcohol and drug abuse. It is like an addiction or habit that jeopardizes and damages your work, idea and goals.
When one starts a task, the aim is not just to start but to continue and finish the task. Yeah, you might get excited when doing a task, but when you are too excited, you begin to feel like it is a challenge because life itself is a competition with yourself. So when you start forming a habit (writing, meditating, working out, reading, eating healthy) or learning a new skill, remember that it should not feel like a challenge.
No one is competing with you, and if you want to win, you must make things easy for yourself.
So the big question is, “How I you defeat it?”
Like I said earlier in this article, “defeating it is not easy, even the toughest and most hardworking people always have to deal with it”. Beating it is a steady process that needs great determination.
Some easy steps to defeat it are:
Create a To-do list
You have a million things in mind, forgetting it all won’t be one. A to-do list helps you stay organized alongside with a prioritized focus. Nobody is capable of remembering everything at all times. A to-do list helps you set priorities, and it is a much easier way to track your progress.
Directly or indirectly, deadlines have a massive impact on your time. It helps you arrange your tasks in working order of priorities. Deadlines don’t necessarily make you overwork yourself, it pushes you to finish work on time. Therefore, it disciplines you to be more productive.
Take the least step— Just Start
No matter hard the task you are assigned to is, stop thinking, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just take a step and start. Start where you are, start without fear, start without doubt, and start without pain. Even if you have just little resources, JUST START.
Set goals for each day
Goals takes us further in life. They are the oxygen in our dreams. When you set a goal for yourself, you make yourself more accountable to finish any task. Make it a habit to set goals daily to keep you in focus. It is better to have a simple, or not so important goal than having no goals at all. Set goals, Not wishes.
The first step to avoid distractions is going offline. Most often, self-phones, text messages, emails, and social media are where we get most distractions from. Also, do away with people that don’t help you to be productive, they’re distractions too. At the same time, control internal distractions too by keeping your mind ready for work and straying away from non-essential thoughts.
Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past
I know how you feel about not being able to reach that goal you set for yourself, don’t worry, everyone procrastinates. You are not the first to procrastinate, and you obviously won’t be the last. Forgive yourself. All you need to do is to accept the responsibility of your actions, amend your mistakes, focus on how to do better, and learn from your experience.
Set a reward for yourself
A reward tends to drive people to achieve their goals, it’s also drives them to focus better. When you set a reward for yourself, you get gingered to finish up the task in quick time. Rewarding your progress is an important part of achieving your goals. When rewarding yourself, your brain produces pleasant emotions that’ll stimulate you to do more.
Get Someone to motivate you
Getting someone to motivate you is just like taking that energy drink to keep you fired up. You see, motivation gives you vision, helps you overcome indecisiveness, overcomes negative influences, gives you the strength to overcome challenges, and it brings out the best in you. While being at your best, you tend to focus better and finish pending tasks at a fast pace.
Time is your most precious resource. It is the most important thing you have. It is perishable; it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. You can’t afford to let the little time you have slip away from you, oh no! It is very important you time yourself whenever you’re on a task, so you’d be quickened to finish it up. Learn to manage time effectively and start yielding better results.
Give yourself a break
Taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean you are procrastinating, it means you’re giving your mind a little time to relax and to get back in shape. Giving yourself a break gets your mind ready to continue and finish a task.
Discover the inner workings of your mind and how it decides which decisions you make. Use this knowledge to train your mind, and none of your future choices would be “settling”.
“While we waste our time hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away.”
A year from now you may wish you had started today. Start now!
Beat procrastination today and start being productive!