When it comes to getting things done, most of us are no strangers to procrastination. Even though we know the task eventually has to get done, it's tempting to wait until last minute, which is why it's important to know the best ways to stop procrastinating. Getting into these productive habits can help keep us on track even when we are the most tempted to browse Facebook and Twitter instead of sending that important email.
"The two main reasons that people procrastinate usually come down to insecurity or the need to control, both of which are rooted in fear," says life coach Stephanie Holland over email. "We avoid doing something that is usually pretty simple because we are afraid. Maybe it's at work where you are not happy, so you avoid completing something to express your unhappiness that you are unable to articulate."
We all know that procrastinating is just a vicious cycle of getting more stressed, so we need to learn the right tools to avoid it to make sure we not only get our work done, but prevent the same procrastination from happening again. If you want to get better at getting your tasks done ahead of time, try these eight expert tips to stop procrastinating.
1. Make A To-Do List
It's easy to get scared off when you have a million tasks floating around in your head, but getting them out on paper can help you visualize what needs to get done. "At the top of the list, put what your ultimate goal is," says life coach Tom Casano over email. "Then make your list in order of the highest priorities to lowest. When you're feeling lazy, bored, or you realize you're just procrastinating, go to your to-do list!." Start doing the highest priority task, and work down from there.
2. Create Smaller Tasks
"One of the most de-motivating things is to look at a huge mountain of work, feel overwhelmed, and then not do anything," says Casano. "Break down your big project into smaller, achievable tasks. If you take an 8-hour project and break it down into four 2-hour sections, it will feel a lot more achievable."
3. Change Your Environment
When it comes to getting work done, where you do it matter. Rooms with higher ceilings, cool colored walls, and natural landscapes help facilitate productivity and creative thinking, according to multiple studies, but you want your space to keep you in a relaxed and inspired mood. "Create a space with uninterrupted silence to get into your flow," says life coach Silvia Christmann to Bustle over email. "Set the mood: light a candle, turn on your favorite tunes...whatever it is."
4. Ditch Distractions
Between emails, texting, phone calls, and let's not forget social media, it's no surprise so many of us get easily distracted. A study from Apex Performance found that the average worker gets distracted from a task every 20 minutes, so put your phone on do not disturb, click out of your Facebook window, and refrain from checking your email until you do what you need to get done.
5. Visualize The Goal
"Ask yourself, why do I want to accomplish this?" says Casano. "If the feeling of having a clean home is motivating enough, then you will start cleaning. But if the unpleasantness of vacuuming and dusting are greater than the feeling of having a clean home, you won't get started any time soon. Focus on how good it will feel to have a clean house, kindle that desire for a clean home, and use it to drive you to action."
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
Simply telling someone about what you need to get done is a good way to get your butt moving. "If someone else knows what your plan is, they can help and keep you accountable, even when they're not there," says Holland. "Just knowing that you shared with someone that you intend to do laundry today will help you motivate your way."
7. Ask For Help
Sometimes we procrastinate because tasks are too much to handle on our own. "There are times where we just need help," says Holland. "This isn't about delegating the task to someone else, but bringing in someone to assist you. Just feeling that there is another person to help carry the load can be freeing."
8. Set Your Own Deadline
If you don't have a deadline for something, there's no sense of urgency to get it done. "Set yourself an artificial dead line," says Christmann. "Commit to what you need to do 'no matter what,' and give yourself very little time. You'll see work will get done faster."
Beating procrastination requires self-motivation, so do whatever it takes to inspire yourself to get your work done.
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