It’s easy to get caught up in a vicious, time-draining cycle of procrastination.
Every day, you decide that you’re going to finally give up procrastinating forever.
And then you decide to put if off till tomorrow.
Don’t worry. There are tips and tricks out there that will help you kick procrastination to the curb for good.
Here are 11 ideas for getting your productivity back on track immediately:
1. Fix up your workplace
Since you’ll be spending most of your waking hours at your desk, you might as well make it an inspiring space you enjoy working at, writes blogger Sam Cleasby on Metro.
“You are never going to work your best if you are in a hovel,” she explains.
To add some personal and creative touches, Cleasby says she decorates her desk with photos of her friends and family, and other items that make her smile during the workday. “It cheers me up to have those things in my eye line,” she writes.
2. Schedule your time in small increments
If your time frame is too far off in the future, deadlines becomes generalities, writes psychologist Susan K. Perry for Psychology Today.
To fix this, she advises planning your goals in smaller time increments. For example, she says, if you plan on writing four chapters of your soon-to-be-published book in a month, you won’t consider yourself actually procrastinating until the fourth week.
“There is a difference between saying, ‘I’ll write one chapter a week’ and saying, ‘I’ll write four chapters a month,'” she writes.
3. Create hard and fast deadlines
Instead of thinking you will work on your project for three hours every morning, determine when you want certain tasks completed, Perry writes in Psychology Today.
“If the boss hands you an assignment, she doesn’t say, ‘Work on this each day,'” she writes. “No, she says, ‘Have this on my desk by next Friday.”
4. Tell your friends
You don’t have to fight your battle against procrastination solo. As Kathleen Elkins previously reported for Business Insider, “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life” author Thomas C. Corley recommends that procrastinators meet with “accountability partners” — friends, colleagues, or loved ones who’ll hold you to your promises.
5. Do the worst things first
Mark Twain once said to eat a live frog first thing in the morning, as Gina Trapani writes in Fast Company.
You don’t actually have to consume any amphibians to become productive — he was talking about getting your worst task out of the way early on. That will free you up for the rest of the day and discourage putting off dreaded but necessary chores.
6. Embrace fear
Yet, by focusing on what you don”t want, you can harness it in your favour,” Warrell writes. “So write down how you will feel a year from now if you do nothing. Be brave and really honest with yourself about the cost of continued inaction.”
7. Don’t create impossible tasks
Although challenging tasks are needed to keep your interest, make sure they are also reasonable enough so that they don’t discourage you and result in you abandoning the task before its completion, Perry writes in Psychology Today.
8. Restart at 2 p.m.
If your morning wastes away, be sure to hit “restart” at 2 p.m. so you don’t end up wasting your afternoon, too.
It’s better to give yourself a second chance in the middle of the day than to re-asses at 5 p.m. and realise you’re out of time to recharge, time management consultant Eva Wisnik told Real Simple. “At 2 p.m. every day, assess how much you’ve accomplished, remind yourself of what’s critical, and alter your plan so you can tackle the most important thing.”
9. Break a sweat
Science proves exercise isn’t just good for your body; it’s good for your brain.
According to an article from Harvard Medical School, “Aerobic exercise in particular appears to improve several aspects of cognition and brain functioning, both in children and adults.”
So even if you don’t care about how you look or feel, maybe you’ll care about how well your brain functions.
10. Write down your goals
It’s not enough to plan all this out in your mind. In her Forbes article, Warrell argues that writing down your ideas makes it harder for you to brush them off.
It also keeps you organised — procrastination thrives when you don’t have concrete priorities.
11. Treat yourself
Beating procrastination shouldn’t be torture (that will just encourage you to revert to your old ways).
“Set up a reward system to ensure you celebrate progress and small successes as you go along,” Warrell writes. “Whether a fun activity with friends, or a treat for yourself, make it something that acknowledges your progress and effort.”
Natalie Walters and Vivian Giang contributed to previous versions of this article.
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