Ah – sweet procrastination! The devil which takes away all productivity from you. Procrastination is part and parcel of human nature. While some of us may have the ‘focus’ or ‘planning’ capacity to just make a routine of our work, most of us would just lie around and wait till the deadline comes near. And once the sword of the Deadline hangs upon us, we start hustling to get our job done. But you gotta give credit where it is due – we do get our job done on time!
But then, we can't always rely on it like it’s some superpower. What happens if an emergency comes up all of a sudden? You don’t have a plan for that, do you? Procrastinators do not want to procrastinate. It’s just an accidental mode they enter. That’s why many of them become anxious and frightened as the deadline closes in.
So, how can you deal with this? Firstly, you have to realize why you procrastinate. There might be several reasons for procrastination. Here are some of the few ‘causes’:
1. Perfection Error
High-achievers want to be perfect in what they do. However, it’s not always possible to get to that level of perfection that they seek. And they know it. This results in a deep dissatisfaction to start the work. They are afraid that their work will be less-than-perfect. So, they procrastinate and get consumed by this negativity.
A few procrastinators can get a bit too cocky. They are so confident that they believe that they don’t have to worry about deadlines. When it comes near, they can get the job done.
3. Feeling Lost
Sometimes, you may not know where to start. You are wasting a lot of time planning and trying to figure out the best way to start the work. But none of the solutions seem to satisfy you. You are just wasting time.
4. Not Important
We work by assigning priority levels to a group of tasks. If you have pending work and you keep it pending for a long time, that means, for you, it's not important. It’s insignificant and you can afford to wait till the deadline knocks at the door.
5. Finally, The ‘Month’ Count
We think of deadlines in terms of months and years. If you have a project which you need to submit two months later, you will have a deadline ‘two months later’. ‘Month’ seems distant and seems like a lot. When you think of a month, psychologically, you prepare for a long time. Hence, you think you can afford to procrastinate, forgetting that it is just 30 days!
So, now you know why you procrastinate. Now, here are a few tips to tackle procrastination.
1. Priority List
As human beings, we need to follow a priority list. It comes with our ‘human nature’. So, whenever you wake up in the morning, make a ‘to-do list’. Separate your work according to your priority list and try to finish off the difficult tasks first. That way, you can keep a perfect balance between light work and time-consuming work.
2. Segmenting Your Work
If you take a huge project or several jobs at one go, then it can be really overwhelming. The best way to deal with such a situation is by segregating the work. Create segments of the entire work and a separate plan on how to tackle each of them. Upload them on your to-do list, priority-wise. And then, start working on each of them.
3. Count Days, Not Months
Do not think of the deadline in monthly terms – start thinking in terms of days. If your deadline is three months from now, think of it as 90 days. You won’t be working on the weekends, so that means 12 days are subtracted. Let’s say you will visit your family for 18 days. Now, you just have 60 days in hand!
One of the time-wasting aspects of procrastinators is fiddling with different things long enough to make the day go by. So, the best way to change this is by putting reminders on your phone. Start by putting a mid-day alarm. So, if you do waste time, by mid-day, you will have a wake-up alarm and start working.
5. Reward Yourself
Rewarding brings with it a sense of accomplishment. So, when you complete one work, start by rewarding yourself for it. Once you reward yourself, you will feel more inclined to work and not procrastinate. Rewarding also rewires your brain and makes you want to work more with the expectation of the reward. A perfect productive ‘conditioning’!
So, stop procrastinating and be productive. Kill the procrastination demon in you!
Do you often feel anxious about your procrastinating habit? My friends Garrett, Marc, and Jara will help you become more productive. If you lack motivation, watch this video and start using your time better. Best of luck.