Procrastinate Procrastinating And Get More Done In Less Time!
“I’ll do it in a bit” is probably the tiniest and most unnoticeable form of procrastination that plagues the best of us on many days. While pushing doing something small by a few minutes may seem harmless, one needs to be careful not to let that thought grow bigger and seep deeper into the core operations of their life, like their work, for example. For those who have mastered various forms of, “I’ll do it later” where later comes much later or not at all, worry not, you can still pull yourself together by making some small and effective changes in your routine and approach to lose the title of the biggest procrastinator you know. However, before we move on to solutions, it’s imperative to understand the problem and the causes behind it.
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE ?
WE ARE AFRAID
Fear is much more of a termite to proactivity than we give it credit for. Most of the times when people postpone doing things, it’s because they are afraid. They are so scared to fail, or they are scared to succeed (yes, that’s very much true), or they are merely afraid of the unknown factor of the outcome after they do what is required of them.
The fear of failure can actually end up immobilizing people from taking required action in the stipulated time. The other side of this coin is the fear of success which renders people stressed and makes them overthink everything before getting on with the said task, wasting precious time in the process. Tasks of high importance can bear a heavy weight on the head and heart, thus slowing it down. The strip dividing these two fears is home for those who are afraid of what they don’t know of. One often looks for time-consuming distractions (like social media and entertainment) to keep the worry and anxiety surrounding the outcome of the task at bay.
WE ARE FLAW-FINDING, BY NATURE
As humans, it feels like it is entirely natural for us to find flaws in everything that comes our way and work happens to be a significant chunk of that everything. There are infinite endings to this sentence “I don’t like this task because…”, but they all end up in parking you in the “delayed” bay. If we are not finding flaws with the tasks, we are finding flaws in the ways we can achieve it. Once we find an “issue” with something, it becomes super easy to delay it. It’s always easier to postpone something you don’t want to do in the first place, right?
What we end up forgetting is that success begins with completion and that perfection follows later. You can’t possibly perfect something you started late or are still thinking about starting because timeliness is essential to perfection too.
TRAMPLE PROCRASTINATION WITH SMALL STEPS
FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION BY FORCE
Wanting to check your Instagram or finishing the next episode of that web series are thoughts your attention can wander to multiple times a day – imagine how much time wastage that accounts for, especially every time you actually end up acting on these thoughts! Force yourself to focus, because that’s the only way you will. One way to do this is to give yourself a time out – you will not access any form of entertainment until you get all or a significant part of the task done.
SINGLE HANDLE EVERY TASK
Multi-tasking leaves multiple spaces for multiple distractions. If you want to get something done, then all your time and efforts should be focussed on that particular task until it’s done. So, if you need to finish that presentation or that sheet or that article, get started and don’t start doing something else in the middle of it. If you start doing one thing at a time, you’ll be lesser prone to distractions leading to procrastination and will get more done in lesser time!
GET CLARITY ON YOUR KEY CONSTRAINTS
If you don’t know what causes most of your time waste, how will you fix those leaks? It is crucial to identify which specific thoughts and activities stop you from completing your tasks. The best way to do it – observe yourself for a week and make a note of all your activities (just for yourself to see). You’ll be surprised to see how much time you waste, and on what. Chances are this self-realization will hit you so hard when you realize how much time you have on your hands to get things done if you wanted to.
STOP OVER COMPLICATING THINGS
Stop finding more and more ways to approach the task in ways that make you put it way down on your priority list. “I’ll do it after I’m done with *some series of other lesser important activities*” makes no sense because once these lesser important activities get your attention, there’s no way you’ll feel any urgency to finish the actual task at hand. Prioritize and remember what is more important. Making a to-do list can be extremely helpful, plus there’s a lot of satisfaction that you get when you tick things off that list! Try it.
PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF (SERIOUSLY!)
“Don’t be too hard on yourself” is an advice for those who are continually overstressing on getting things done – the kind of people you should be aiming to become after reaching this level of procrastination in your life. Taking some stress functions as a great motivator to do what is required and actually pushes you to get things done well and in time. Try attaching the completion of your task with something desirable you had planned at the end of the day, for example, tell yourself that you’ll only go out for that movie or to that new restaurant or that get-together tonight if you get the said task done during the day.
Sit with yourself, understand your problem areas and devise a written plan using all these tips to overcome your procrastination. Go on, start right now!