There is hardly any person, who wouldn’t agree that used to laze around in his life. It is a perfect way to relax and intentionally sabotage your responsibilities. Each of us needs such kind of experience to be able to evaluate its consequences and see how it can influence us, our family, friends, assignments, dreams etc. There are also people, who will never admit having ever procrastinated, as it may influence the relation of other people to them or show them not from the beneficial point of view.
At the same time, sometimes procrastination becomes a real problem. Not all school children are able to outgrow this period and do not want to do anything even having grown to the adult age. This bad habit transforms into the way of life and later it is almost impossible to get rid of this trouble. That is why it is always necessary to start correcting any misconceptions from the very beginning and if you wish to reach a good result, you will definitely do that.
Here are 15 possible ways to transform procrastination into the effectiveness and productivity and consequently, stop it.
1Write down all the planned tasks
Putting everything in writing is a good opportunity to deprive yourself of the habit to put the fault on your forgettable memory. If you list all the tasks you plan to do and set deadlines for each of them, there are fewer chances that you will ignore them. It would be also useful to stick this list in front of your eyes for it to remind you of everything that requires your attention and efforts.
2Determine what feeling makes you laze around
According to the scientists, many procrastinators are people, who are overwhelmed with definite negative feelings. There are usually three of them:
Try to identify what feeling and life situation made you do nothing. Even some it may seem non-significant experience could result in dragging your heels, so self-analysis might help you determine it.
3This emotion should be released
It happens that we bear some feelings during the whole our life and they ruin us from the inside. Such destructive behavior can also result in an inability to make yourself work, so it is advisable to get rid of them. Even some simple actions like knocking something down exaggerated shivering or moving film can be useful and working.
4Divide the assigned to you task into several parts and set specific deadlines
It often happens that a person can not make himself work because a received by him task seems a real challenge and is incredibly sizable. One of the ways to ease this task is to break this assignment into several constituents that can be finished gradually. First, you will not get frustrated because of the amount of work to be performed within a stated period of time. Another benefit is a good chance to persuade yourself that a big amount of work is impossible to complete. Of course, you will spend more time to finish the task but you also will have more time for rest and recharging.
You should also be focused on the completing only the next piece of the task and experts advise to plot out any part of the whole project to be able to evaluate if you have completed everything and can take the next step. At the same time you should have several deadlines: one for each project part, as a single deadline allows procrastinating for a long time and then be frustrated how to finish everything in tied time frames.
5Praise yourself for the tiniest achievements and set penalties for laziness
We usually find time to praise ourselves after a big amount of work that was completed. But sometimes it is not enough for our mind. You shouldn’t wait until tomorrow to congratulate yourself even with the finishing of a small part of the task. The reward is the best incentive to continue self-development and five minutes of rest or a tiny chocolate bar can give you more strength and stamina to go to the next stage and perform every task more efficiently.
As well as you reward yourself for performing one or another task, you can set penalties for laziness too. This can be money donated to nonprofit organizations or just given to your relatives or some tasty delicacies you always consume.
6Make changes in your customary environment
Each of us gets accustomed to everything that surrounds us and once you realize that it is time to change something. The environment you work or live in can be stressful, unpleasant or disappointing and as a result, all the work has no result and you start procrastinating. If you feel that you need to change something in order to complete the task, do it immediately. Sometimes it is enough to hang an inspiring picture or change some accessories to give the room a completely new look that encourages to start working.
7Find another more inspiring place for work
If you feel that minor changes give no result, scientists recommend trying to work in a completely different atmosphere. You might go out and find a comfortable bench in the park, switch on the music, find out a partner and team up with this person or work at the table in the small café with a coffee in your hands – everyone should decide what environment will be productive exactly for him and not be afraid to change it.
8Destructive ideas and thoughts are to be neutralized
Usually, it happens that “the devil is not so black as he is painted”. All people are used to exaggerating their viewpoints or the severity of assigned tasks. Having no desire to do anything we automatically refer these assignments to the column of “almost impossible to perform” and as a result can’t make themselves even start doing it. If you see that any negative feelings pop in your head, always try to find an antidote that will show you some benefit. By doing so, you will encourage yourself and realize that everything is possible and is not that difficult.
9Never allow obstacles to stop you
What is an obstacle? Different people will give various answers, as some of them refer this term to the physical objects but there is a big number of people, who will agree that obstacles can be emotional or sensational. Some people build these obstacles themselves: ones can not start doing anything because of the dull weather, the others convict magnetic field, the third transform different occasional situations into the hints of Gods. Stop wasting your time and look for reasons to laze. You should not only find benefits in work but also overcome real obstacles that might happen on your way to success. Broken PC shouldn’t prevent you from writing as it can be performed using a pen etc. Be ready to face obstacles and prepare yourself to overcome them!
10Decrease the number of the procrastination pit-stops
There are many different things surrounding us that allow and even make us procrastinate. In most cases, these are attention distractors we use on a daily basis. First and the most widely used thing which is both a necessity for work and a great distractor is a PC. There are several options you can use to make it and other things less intrusive:
- Make your most often used bookmarks of the browser less accessible putting them into a separate folder;
- Switch off the automatic notifications both in the PC and mobile phone as they provoke making breaks;
- Put your snack next to you instead of going every time to the fridge;
- Hide all the distractions that might interfere with your tasks (books, magazines, photos etc.);
- Tell your dearest relatives and friends time frames when you are busy for them to avoid calls or visits etc.
Don’t use too severe self-binding methods if you feel that you are able to put them aside for some time. But if these methods do not work, you should opt for more discouraging actions: switching off your mobile or blocking your social network account for some time.
11Try to be in the circle of people who encourage you to take actions
There are several types of people, who surround us. The first ones make use of us, the others encourage us to do anything together, the third look for inspiration or help communicating with us etc. Each person has its purpose when he or she turns to you on any issue. Your task is to differentiate people, who distract you or vice versa trigger you to act. The latter ones are usually go-getters and hard-workers, who can be an example to follow. Spending time with these people you will not have time even to think about procrastination and also can inculcate their spirit, drive and speed of work. Undoubtedly, dealing with inspiring people makes you also feel inspired.
12Exchange your “have to” for “choose to”
Some people can’t stand being forced to do anything. Such behavior of other people only promotes procrastination and absence of any desire to do anything. There are two ways to cope with this problem:
- Change the attitude of other people and ask them not to force but inspire to do anything;
- Try to persuade yourself that actions you make are meant for the better.
If you feel that someone living or working next to you always gives you commands that are difficult to perform, talk to this person and explain that such formulation will not lead to any good result. Avoid telling yourself about your obligations changing the form of order for a request and the purpose of the task for more inspiring one. For example, you are asked to water flowers, try to accept this as a request of your beloved woman, who will be incredibly grateful to you and will be cooking a tasty dish for you at the time when you will be watering those plants.
13Ask yourself 3 important questions
If you can’t decide what time and activity is the best to start working, you can try to answer three simple questions that will help you to determine if now is the best time to start work:
- Am I using my time now in the most profitable way?
- Am I suitable for performing this task?
- Am I trying to avoid doing something more important being busy with this task?
If you give negative answers to the first and the third questions and nod answering the second one, it is the best time to put any task aside and start doing something important.
14Make the assignment more enjoyable
Boredom is one of the most widely spread reasons of procrastination. Boring tasks are incredibly difficult to perform, so if you can’t change your attitude to the task, change the way to perform it. Almost each task can be transformed into the game or competition. You can ask someone to assist you and compete with this person rewarding the best executer or organize a game for a single player challenging yourself.
One of such games is beating your previously set records. If you don’t like to go shopping, you can encourage yourself to do that by beating records of saving money.
Many people are not courageous enough to take responsibility for themselves. They do thorough planning, build strategies and make hypotheses, but never attempt to take actions. Any task can be completed if it undergoes the stage of starting doing it. Until you doubt and find reasons to postpone doing any job, you will never receive results. Make yourself take the action right now and soon you will see that the try was worth the effort. Having started the task right now in most cases it will be sooner finished, so never be afraid to take actions immediately.
‘Lastly, no external motivation, like this post or inspirational quotes, will make you more motivated than seeing progress. Human beings are usually capable of much more than they can imagine. So instead of finding excuses to avoid studying or leaving work till the last minute, visualize a bigger picture. List 3 positive consequences of achieving your goal and always keep them in mind. Note that these outcomes should be serious enough to give you an extra kick. The hardest part is to start, as you’ll be waiting for the perfect moment and aligned stars.”
These are only some of the tips that can be helpful for overcoming procrastination, but many of them have already helped thousands of lazy fellows. Find ones suitable exactly for you and soon the effectiveness of your work will grow and time of your procrastination will be minimized.
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Also published on Medium.