What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is derived from the Latin word “procrastinare”, which means: “to put off until tomorrow”. In other words, it means putting things on tomorrow by delaying them. Things that require our immediate attention are delayed.
Let us not confuse laziness with procrastination.
Both laziness and procrastination lack motivation. By being lazy we do not have any intention to complete tasks or do something. In procrastination, we voluntarily delay the tasks we intend to complete. Laziness is another whole topic and sometimes people confuse it with procrastination.
For example, You have to complete your thesis before the deadline and in your mind, you are aware of it but instead, you are watching Netflix, you are delaying working on the thesis but you intend to do it some later time. In laziness, you are completely not willing to do your thesis.
Here are some tips to stop procrastinating.
Take small bites.
Can you eat a whole turkey in one sitting? The answer is No. It does not matter how tasty it’s cooked and how good the gravy is, you cannot eat a whole turkey in one go. You divide it into smaller portions and refrigerate the remainder for later consumption.
The same goes for your work or studying routine. It is your college exam or a work-related task, you have to divide it into smaller pieces and start. Dividing your work project or exam preparations into smaller portions will help you stay motivated and achieve your goal without procrastinating.
Start with things you like more.
There is a thesis that has to be submitted before the deadline and you’ve got months to submit. If you are a procrastinator, it is likely that you start it in the last week and pull some all-nighters to finish it. There is a greater chance of failing that way with all the panic and anxiety in the last few days.
To stay motivated you need to start with things you are more likely willing to do and then ultimately build up the flow. Start with easy things so you can avoid procrastination because starting your work with difficult tasks first will get you demotivated and you will start procrastinating again.
Always plan things.
Nothing in this world happens without a plan so you must plan things to complete your tasks. You can make a timetable by hand and stick it somewhere you are most likely to see frequently. Add a sticky note on your desktop with your schedule on it so it keeps on reminding you about your plan. Add reminders or alarms to your phone and start working accordingly.
Enjoy your life by taking breaks after working hard.
The latest season of your favorite TV show has been released, your friends are waiting for you to join them in video games or you have dinner plans with someone but you also have a deadline to finish your work. If you are a lazy person then the deadline won’t matter to you but for a procrastinator, it is a hanging sword that will fall eventually. You won’t feel satisfied while watching your favorite TV show or playing video games or having dinner in some fancy restaurant because deep down you are thinking about your unfinished tasks.
Once you have divided your work and planned everything, you start executing it. This does not mean you have to work round the clock, take breaks, and enjoy a little. The above-mentioned leisure things will be more valuable if your daily tasks are complete. Trust me you will feel satisfied watching TV, playing games, or hanging out with friends once you’ve done your work for that particular day. There won’t be any sword hanging above your head because you are following the plan.
Stay away from Instant Gratification.
Instant gratification causes self-harm when you indulge in short term feel-good things instead of future long term goals. For example, you are trying to lose weight and when you get hungry you eat pizza instead of the salad bowl you just made. Eating pizza makes you happy because your brain just released dopamine and you feel good for the short term but instead, you have compromised on your weight reducing plan which is a long term goal. The temptation to go out with your friends instead of finishing your thesis or studying for the exam will make you happy for the short term but will affect your long term goals.
You need a clear picture of your future to avoid instant gratification. To stop procrastination, you have to make strong commitments relating to your work or study.
Put an OFF button on the distractions.
You’ve planned your routine and are working accordingly but still, some things can distract you and take you away from your goal. I’m talking about that smartphone on your table which keeps on giving notifications and instead of working you are scrolling through Instagram and end up watching youtube videos of funny fails. If you are easily distracted by your phone, in order to stop procrastinating you need to turn it off during your work or study time.
Nobody is perfect, stop complicating things.
If you tend to be a perfectionist you will complicate things a lot and be more likely to procrastinate. A perfectionist will waste time on part of a task so much that it would result in failing to meet the deadline. Sometimes the task you’ve to work upon is simple and you are waiting for the right time, there is no right time because the time is now. You are just going to complicate simple stuff by being a perfectionist.
Declutter and organize yourself.
Create a workspace in your home or a study table where you can perform your tasks without getting distracted. Tidy up and start working immediately. You are likely to get motivated when things are organized. If you are studying for an exam then all the books and notes should be available within arm’s length. If there is clutter, you will waste time finding your notes and eventually tell yourself about doing it later. That is where procrastination begins and you start delaying your important stuff. Once all the things you need for work or study are available, then the only thing you need to do is sit and finish the tasks.
Don’t lie to yourself, be honest.
Lastly but most importantly you should be honest with yourself. Treat yourself like you will treat your best friend or the person you love the most. It is time to love yourself and love only comes with honesty. If you are delaying work or exam study, you are just lying to yourself that you will do it in the last weeks. Don’t lie and be honest and start doing it now. Deep down you know the truth and if you are a serial procrastinator then you know the consequences of procrastination. Don’t harm your way of achieving goals by delaying them. Life is too short already so make it as productive as you can.
I hope this article helps you to stop procrastination and changes the way you see life. Feel free to give your feedback in the comments and tell me something if I missed it. I always look forward to your valuable feedback.