Procrastination is a curse, I tell you. It’s the devil whispering sweet things to you. It’s like smoking. You know you’re going to regret it. But you do it anyway because you’re so addicted to how good it feels. Here is a guide to beating procastination
What is procrastination?
Google says it is the action of delaying or postponing something. I say, it is the ability to make the most ridiculous excuses at the most critical times for the most basic, and possibly the most important tasks and instead, doing something equally unimportant.
If you are a procrastinating genie, like me, you probably have an assignment, a pile of paperwork, a rack of books to sort and an entire section of your room awaiting your attention, for the past 2 months.
Living with procrastination means everything you do, and I mean everything and will go through a series of questions like:
- Do I want to do it?
- Is it absolutely necessary?
- How much time do I have before I REALLY HAVE to do it?
- What happens if I don’t?
Only the tasks that make it through this filter of approval often get done. All the others will have to wait until 20 minutes before their deadline. And procrastination does not discriminate. It does not matter if it’s homework, cleaning, cooking, shopping or even showering! It is going to get delayed. For sure. At least once.
Procrastination is a problem when it becomes a habit.
It can lead to a lot of damage. Money, energy, important relationship events and sometimes even your job. There is a reason why the quotes like “Now or never” and “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” circulate around us – because putting tasks off can be detrimental.
So how can you prevent these major damages from happening because of procrastination? I’ll share some ways that helped me crawl out of it.
A Guide to Beating Procrastination
- To-do list
Make a list of the most important things you need to do every day. 3 new and difficult things that you need to do. And 3 small things that you’ve been putting off. If you have a long list of 20 things you need to do, it’s probably why you keep putting them off in the first place and keep adding new things to them. A pile of dishes will keep piling up if you don’t wash them right away. The mess will be scary to look at and return to. So, try breaking the list into parts. Complete it little by little.
Note: Once you’re done, Don’t let it pile up again. Be consistent and remind yourself about the huge mess that you had to deal with, the last time you let things pile up.
- Formulate a routine
Try breaking your day into 3 parts- morning, noon and night. Fit different parts of the list that you made earlier, in these 3 parts of the day. I prefer putting the more difficult or demanding tasks in the time of the day when I’m the most productive. It may be the morning for some people or night time for others. Don’t pack everything up by making a schedule of every hour and every meal. Just make time intervals.For example 12pm to 2pm- washing dishes
You can wash the dishes at any time between 12 and 2pm and the rest of the time is a bonus for everything not on the list. Like going for a walk or seeing a friend. This will prevent you from getting exhausted and fatigued and will make sure your day isn’t mechanical and that you have time for other things, like socializing, but at the same time, it will make you value your time and know what things or plans will disrupt your routine and cause you to damage later.
- Giving yourself a deadline
We, procrastinators, work best under pressure. Not having a deadline, or a deadline that is far away is the primary reason why we put things off for the last minute. Know yourself. If you know you have a presentation on Monday. Set your deadline for Saturday or Sunday. Trick your own mind. It’s a challenge but it’s worth it.
- Bribe yourself
If staying motivated to do something is giving me a hard time because I’m distracted by my phone and the TV, I use these distractions to bribe myself.
“If I do this chapter by 7, I’ll watch a YouTube video.” This gives me an incentive to work faster but still effective.
- Evaluate and Re-evaluate
At the end of the day, evaluate what you did.
Did you complete your list? If not, how much of it was still remaining? Did you put something off? Why did you put it off? What can you do, to not let that happen again? What plans or things disturbed your schedule? How can you manage such plans in the future? If it helps, write everything down. Know your flaws and errors and work on fixing them. Self-evaluation is vital for self-help.
Talk to yourself. Only you know what goes on in your mind during the day. Only you know your personal accomplishments. When you take a small step towards making yourself better, congratulate yourself. Treat yourself. Similarly, when you make a blunder, talk to yourself. Think about why you did it. And talk about how to fix it. Work with yourself and overcome your flaws.
If you struggle with being productive as much as I did and want to be productive as much as I do, take little steps to fix yourself. It will take patience and it will take dedication, but trust me, the satisfaction of a good, productive day is worth it! Make a decision to change what bothers you about yourself and take small decisions every day. You’ll be able to make a lot of changes. I hope these tips will help you through your way.