If there's one thing I can say about myself, it's that I'm a world-class procrastinator. I've spent years trying to figure out ways to procrastinate less. I don't think this is something to be proud of (actually, I know it's not something to be proud of), but it's who I am. I can save anything until the last minute, and somehow hours of frantically rushing around trying to finish something important has never helped me become more of a planner. For too long now, I have been trying to work on my procrastination, but it just never seems to happen. Probably because I keep putting it off.
But March seems as good a time as any to finally kick my procrastination habit to the curb. March 1 through March 7 was National Procrastination Week, and I appropriately waited until the very end of the week to do something about it (seriously, I need help). I've spent a long time looking up tips and tricks on how to beat procrastination for good, and I knew I needed to share them with others because I know I'm not the only one dealing with this nasty little habit.
Here's what I learned: It is possible to learn how to stop procrastinating, it just takes a little dedication. But if you want to become one of those people who always seems to have it all together (God, I am so jealous of those people), it's worth it. You owe it to yourself to stop the 2 a.m. freak-outs where you're wondering how the hell you're going to get anything done, and OMG why did you do this yet again?! Trust me. These tips and tricks just might help.
1. Write down all of the bad things procrastination has done to your life.
To start, make a list of all the ways procrastination has negatively affected your life in an attempt to really motivate yourself to change. Every time you feel like procrastinating, look at it for inspiration of sorts.
2. Think positively about what you have to do.
A lot of times we procrastinate because whatever we have to do seems boring compared to hours of binge-watching Netflx. Try to change your perspective a little.
3. Know yourself and what works and doesn't work for you.
When are you most productive during the day? For some people, it's in the morning, for others it's at night. Plan to get stuff done during the time when you're most likely to work.
4. Make a list of what needs to get done, and check them off as you go.
There's something very satisfying about checking off a task. It's more of a motivation than you would think.
5. Make a schedule and set a timer.
Don't vaguely tell yourself "I'll get all this work done tonight." You won't get anything done that way. Make a schedule with specific blocks of time dedicated to each task. Then set a timer so that you really make sure you're getting everything done.
6. Be reasonable about what you need to get done.
You're not going to do everything in one night. Don't dedicate four hours to one project — you're probably not going to do it.
7. Be prepared before you start working.
One easy way to procrastinate is to realize that you forgot something and need to run to the store to get it, which turns into you shopping and forgetting what you were supposed to do. Don't let that happen. Before you start working, make sure you have everything by your side.
8. Prioritize your tasks.
Make sure you work on the most important things first, or the things that are due sooner rather than later.
9. Break a big project into smaller tasks.
Instead of dedicating an entire day to one thing, break it up into work for a week.
10. Give yourself breaks.
When you make your schedule, make sure you schedule in timed breaks. That will give you the space you need to clear your head and make you feel sane.
11. Take away as many distractions as possible.
Use an app to block your favorite websites, hide your cell phone in another room with a friend or family member, and stay away from the TV. If the distractions are there, you'll probably take advantage of them.
12. Establish a routine.
Set aside a specific time each day to work on things. Once you become used to doing something at a certain time, it will just become standard routine.
13. Play white noise in the background.
A lot of people swear that white noise keeps them focused rather than music or silence. Try it!
14. Enlist someone to hold you accountable.
Let a friend, family member, or significant other know what you're doing so they can keep track of you. If you have someone else asking about your progress, you might be more likely to get things done.
15. Give yourself rewards every time you finish something.
Plan a little reward for each task you complete, whether it's a bowl of ice cream, an hour of House of Cards, or a new shirt. Work just got exciting!
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