Most of us suffer from mild procrastination, which means that we put some things off, but we do what needs to be done most of the time. Mild procrastination is something that can be easily fixed. Here are five simple tricks for overcoming mild procrastination:
1. IDENTIFY WHICH TASKS YOU TEND TO PUT OFF
For example, maybe you always turn in the reports that you have to complete for work, on time, but you procrastinate when it comes to housework and going grocery shopping. Ask yourself why this is. Perhaps you get validation from your boss for doing good work, but you don’t get any rewards for doing housework. If so, ask your family members to recognise the work you do at home, and to show their gratitude, or start giving yourself little treats and rewards for doing the house tasks that you need to get done.
2. SMALLER PIECES
One of the main reasons why we procrastinate is because we’re overwhelmed. If you’ve been putting off a task because it looks too big, ask yourself how you can break it down into smaller pieces. If the pieces still look too big, break them down even further. At the same time, if lack of knowledge is what’s making you put something off, ask for help. It’s much easier to get started with something if you know what you have to do, and it looks manageable.
3. JUST ONE HOUR
Try the following: tell yourself that you’re going to work on a task that you’ve been avoiding for just one hour. At the same time, you’re not going to work for the entire hour straight through. Instead you’re going to do the following: work for ten minutes, and then take a two minute break. During the two minute break you can do anything you like: go on Twitter, bounce a ball against the wall, lie back and close your eyes, and so on. You’ll follow this same cycle–work for ten minutes and then take a two minute break–five times.
4. TIDY UP
Take the time to organise your work area. A lot of the time, we don’t want to get started on a task simply because it’s so difficult to work in a messy area in which you can’t find anything. Put everything away in its proper place, file your papers, throw away or recycle anything that you don’t need, wipe off your desk surface, and make sure that you only place on your desk those things which you’ll need to perform your work.
5. EAT THE FROG FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
If there’s something that you don’t want to do because it’s either boring or it makes you anxious or afraid, do it first thing in the morning. Stop telling yourself that you’ll get to it when this or that other task gets done: do it first, before you do anything else.
Conquering procrastination is not as difficult as most people seem to think. Sometimes all it takes is getting the lay of the land. Apply the five tips above and notice how you stop procrastinating and how you become incredibly efficient, effective, and productive.
Written by Marelisa Fábrega. Read more about overcoming procrastination at How to Stop Procrastinating.