Have you ever had those long moments of watching videos on YouTube or flipping through tons of funny pics on 9gag, when you feel relaxed but are still aware that a huge and important task is hanging right above you? If you’ve ever spent time doing nothing and finished your task a minute before a deadline, you know what I am talking about. A simple and huge thing – procrastination.
Problem Introduction (a Sort of)
There are plenty of things written about procrastination and the issue was explored a lot. Thus, my little guide might seem like yet another ‘get up and do stuff’ article. But it will not be so (hopefully). Besides, from defining the problem as it is, I will also try to go further and define reasons and prerequisites of procrastination. And as a bonus, you will get a more useful set of steps to take than usual ‘fight with your laziness’ suggestions you often get.
So, what is procrastination? Wikipedia tells us it’s the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. The reasons for doing so are believed to be the following:
- You don’t really know how to start a task due to its complicacy. It often happens when you don’t have strict plan to follow.
- You are afraid to do the job in a wrong way, and you put the task aside to avoid failure.
- You are worried of being successful, and you put tasks aside in fear of new situation task completion would bring.
- You are generally afraid of any changes, and doing nothing helps you saving your current position.
- There are too many tasks you have to complete, and it is hard for you to set priorities.
- You are convinced that you will make an effort and do everything in the best possible way, but usually situations don’t go this way.
- You are generally lazy and lack motivation.
Real Reasons for Procrastination
Most people believe that the above-mentioned stuff to be the reasons why you procrastinate. But, if you look closer and think a bit, it becomes clear. If you would compare it to illness, being afraid of failure or success, or seeing more pleasure in doing nothing than in completing tasks would be like having a sore throat – just symptoms.
So, what are the real reasons for our procrastination? Well, there is no one and only answer, as it is more of a complex of the following:
- Lack of energy and tone
- Bad health
- Lack of self-control and accountability
- Life imbalance
- No desire for victory.
All these are interconnected, which is the worst part. Thus, one health issue you don’t treat in time would provoke passivity. Passivity will affect your energy and tone level. And when you have no energy, you cannot really expect to be proactive and disciplined, right? And sooner or later you will slowly get into depression and every morning you will look for a good reason to leave your bed.
Yes, sure – these are the extremes, and it is not necessary that it would happen to you. But you will be surprised by the number of people who feel their life is not getting well. So the earlier you start making steps towards improving your overall emotional and physical health, the better your life would become.
Overgrowing Procrastination: Brief Strategy for Beginners
As I already mentioned, procrastination includes certain components. And you cannot treat them at once. The only way you get rid of the constant desire to put things aside and have all-nighter watching Netflix is overgrowing it by working on your personality, goals and plans for the future.
So, here are some basic steps on your way to being a more productive and happy person, both at work and in personal life. Keep in mind – it is not really a full guide. But it would help you get started and work out your own rhythm and pace. Start small, go slow and you will reach skies (sort of).
1. Set a daily regime and stick to it.
This one might seem like a standard advice you get for every problem. But the reason for its popularity is in its fundamentality. If you go to sleep and wake up at the right time, your body will have much more energy.
Looking at biorhythms, you will see the best time to wake up is 6-7am. Basically, it is better to wake up at the sunrise. Yes, it may seem like a middle of the night for people who fall asleep at 3am. But if you gradually change your sleeping schedule, waking up with first sunbeams will not feel like an act of bravery at all.
The latest researches show that sleeping for 6 hours a day for couple weeks will affect your brain the same way as two-day sleep deprivation. So, you might not feel asleep, but your brain activity and reaction will worsen. Thus, be sure to sleep 8 hours a day.
2. Morning routine.
Yes, you wake up with more energy. But you still should start your day easy. While your brain is still infused with after-sleep drowsiness, try not to make any decisions. Sticking to standard daily routine would help you get into gear full of ideas and energy.
Routine might include morning cup of tea or coffee, exercising or running, showering or any other activities that would prepare you for a new day.
3. Be objective about your creative forces.
We often try to persuade ourselves that in couple hours/days/weeks (depending on the task deadline) we will have more creative spirits and powers than we have now. Be fair and objective – do you really believe something extraordinary will happen to turn you into a highly motivated worker?
The problem is you will be the same person as today, and you will be as lazy and tired as you already are. Don’t reward yourself for a task you haven’t completed yet – get up and do stuff!
4. Face your fear.
Afraid of failure? Well, everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Too scared to feel yourself a winner when succeeding a job? Deal with it!
The key to better productivity is actually getting up and facing your fears and troubles. If you sit there thinking of what bad can happen, nothing good will come. And once you will start enjoying the task, you will never put it aside. People easily get used to good things, and feeling a winner every time something goes as planned is surely a good thing.
5. Plan in advance.
Spontaneity is nice, but having a plan for a day, week and even quarter will help you prepare for the tasks more thoroughly. If you know you have an exam in three months, you will know you have to start studying for it in advance.
6. Shuffle the tasks right.
No matter how hard it is, try to start with the hardest tasks. And after you complete the most ‘airtight’ tasks, others would be a pleasure to work on. And be sure to set a time limit for each task – this is key to becoming more disciplined. If the task is large and scary – go slow, step-by-step. It would be much easier for you to complete small portions of a big task.
7. Keep your job away from personal life.
Never plan any job-related tasks for your personal time. The trick is the following – if you have troubles with staying focused while you are at work, you will be even more lady and relaxed at home. And tasks that usually require an hour would take half a day to complete.
In order to resist a temptation pretend there is no personal time – whenever you plan your job-related tasks, pretend you only have these 8-hour day, and that is all.
8. Balance your life.
All parts of our lives are interconnected, and people can never be happy when only focused on their job or entertainment. So, it is essential that you decide all the spheres you value and balance your life around them – be sure your family, love life and job are not interfering with each other.
The Bottom Line
As I already mentioned, this is not the terminal ultimate guide for overgrowing procrastination. With all of us sharing the same problem, there are still numerous solutions to it. But you will be surprised by huge progress you will have once you implemented these techniques.