10 Scientifically Proven Tips For Overcoming Procrastination
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines procrastination as "delaying something until a later time because of not wanting to or simply out of laziness". We all do it once in a while, whether it be while studying for a test or while trying to write an article due tomorrow, we all procrastinate unfortunately at the expense of productivity.
With that said here's 10 Scientifically Proven Tips For Overcoming Procrastination.
Procrastination preys on the weak of mind, it strikes when you least expect and its effect can leave you surprised, as the ten hours you had to finish something suddenly became eight.
Practicing focus exercises can help you deal with procrastination,these exercises can help focus your attention and allow you to stick with the task at hand much more easily.
If you are able to focus on your task and complete it without giving in to procrastination in the first place is usually the most effective ways of dealing with this plague to productivity. As the saying goes "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure".
While doing work, a lot of us end up just playing Candy Crush (or Pokemon Go nowadays), munching on snacks uncontrollably, or end up doing kung-fu in front of a camera in hopes of becoming the next viral sensation. The world is full of distractions and a lot of them can be detrimental to your work experience.
A lot of people have their own personal office at home, a room blocked off from any and all distractions. If you have one... great. If you don't have your own personal office, though, locking yourself in one of the rooms in your house may be your next best solution. Hiding away all snacks, the tv remote, and maybe disabling wifi during your work period may also help.
You can also try working when no one else is awake, early in the a.m. or late in the p.m., though the prior may be better for you, there would be fewer chances of someone disturbing you and it's a good segway into my next tip.
Work on your task immediately, don't give your brain time to rationalize the daunting task which you are about to undertake. Research has shown that one possible root of procrastination is fear of the task, fear of failure, or fear of losing out on something else.
Like any fear, it is caused by having enough time to rationalize it, so starting the task early can prove to your brain that there is nothing to fear and that you can do the task at hand and don't have to procrastinate.
Plan Things Out
A large task can seem terrifying, to begin with, and sometimes you can be given another large task to do at the same time as the first large task. As frightening as that prospect can be, procrastinating is not the answer, creating a schedule is one way of dealing with procrastination. A reminder that you should be doing something is often enough to just start doing it.
You can time when you do one task, and when you start the next. Organize your day, and plan out your activities and make sure you stick to your plan. But remember the first tip, as a plan is always useless unless you have discipline and focus.
Start With Goals In Mind
Although I appreciate a "Leeroy Jenkins" play, starting a task haphazardly without a goal in mind is simply asking to procrastinate halfway through. Motivation is key to overcoming procrastination, if the goal you are trying to reach outweighs what your brain believes you are losing from doing the task, then you will be able to complete the task with less resistance from the call of laziness.
Keep the rewards of your task in mind, whether that be a paycheck or a good grade, a goal you are aiming at is usually a good start to becoming more productive. If that is not enough, however, add extra incentives like, "If I finish this project early, I'm going to go buy myself some Chinese Food."
Do Not Fear
Procrastination can lead to lower productivity, it can lead to less time in doing a task, and overall it will lead to more stress on your part. As stated previously, positive reinforcement can get you motivated and in ready to work shape in no time. But does the opposite hold true? Does negative reinforcement help as well? Does the fear of your boss firing you help stop procrastination?
Long story short, no it does not. A lot of you already know that as the negative impact of procrastination is already a given, yet a lot of people still opt into it and end up stressed over having too little time left. This is less of a tip of how to overcome procrastination and more of a what you shouldn't rely on to overcome procrastination. Instead focus on your goals, like the last tip.
Boredom is usually a cause of procrastination, spicing up your task can help you stick to it longer and keep away any temptation to go watch tv instead. The mindset you have when doing your work is a big factor that determines whether you can stick through it or you procrastinate way too often. Maybe it's the "this is not fun" mindset, which makes work so much harder because you don't enjoy it.
Litening to music (as long as it helps instead of hurts), and doing other activities (while working) can be helpful as long as you keep working while doing them. I for one make drums out of whatever is around me (p.s. I'm still working while doing this). Not taking your work too seriously, and making light-hearted, fun gestures can go a long way in keeping you entertained enough to kick boredom out the window.
Identify What You Can And Can't Do
There are times when a deadline is set and you are faced with a pretty much impossible task. You are given a task that is so unreasonably difficult to accomplish. Your brain is automatically turned off by the thought of doing something that outrageous, some may try, but then end up procrastinating, making an already impossible task even more difficult. And when asked by your boss as the deadline arrives "Did you finish?" You feel that you procrastinated and it was your fault even if it was impossible, to begin with. You can request an extension even before you begin, if it is approved, you have no reason to procrastinate now knowing you have ample time and only ample time. And if you can't then...
Procrastinating is something you have to acknowledge, it is something a lot of us aren't even aware of until it is too late. But that should not stop you from learning from it and trying to change once you have identified it. Put pressure on yourself, challenge yourself (But not to the extent that you are over stressing yourself, that causes more problems).
Own up and take responsibility for your procrastination, try to see what you did while procrastinating and try to fix those. In the end, you are the captain of your life, procrastination is a jagged rock, you may have gotten scratched once, learn from that and move forward.
You Don't Have To Be Perfect
You start working, you see your own work and puke at the disgrace to your honor which you made yourself. Ok, maybe it's not that bad. But procrastination can stem from a mentality of "my work is not good enough". Well, it probably isn't but keep this in mind and you'll be golden. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your paper cannot be perfect on the first try.
The fear that your work has to be perfect can often be enough to get you to stop working, but if you keep this in mind that you can make small steps, you can make revisions and changes, then that's enough to fend off the feelings that are the cause of procrastination.
Lack of motivation? Lack of enthusiasm? Lack of energy? Those are common excuses given by people who procrastinate. Well if all else fails, pump yourself up with energetic music, get your blood pumping and chug down a pitcher of energy drink (ok sorry, don't do that, a glass will do.). Steeling your will and just doing your work is something most people already do, so why should that be a problem?
Start your work, finish your work, then enjoy the rest of your day away from the stress of work. That sounds much better than lazing around with a heavy heart knowing you have to do something, only to do it later with less quality, less time and more stress.
Procrastination is something that affects all of us. We do it to avoid the pain of losing out on something else, we do it because we are afraid to fail, or we do it because it is not fun. Rooting out the causes are great to combat laziness, a strong will, focus, and a creative mind capable of making the boring job more fun, are all very much appreciated as well. I hope this article helped, and I hope you are not reading it while you should be doing something else. Wait... Are you? Then get back to work!