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If you’re like me, your to do list is long and you know you have deadlines, but you still push off things you need to get done. Sound familiar? This has been a struggle for me in the past and sometimes still is. There are days when it’s just so much easier to binge watch TV than knock things off my to do list. And sometimes those days are ok! But other times we know we are only going to hurt ourselves if we keep procrastinating.
So I hope you are with me on working really hard to not procrastinate anymore! I have put together a list that I hope will help us all to get rid of this habit that so many of us are so good at.
#1 Determine why you are pushing something off
When you are procrastinating on something specific, think about why you might be pushing it off. Is it difficult? Is it too overwhelming you don’t even know where to begin? Are you feeling lazy? Does it just not seem fun and therefore is something you have no interest in doing?
Once you determine your motivation behind why you are procrastinating, you can begin to find ways to overcome the reasons that are holding you back. If the task is difficult, seek help. If it’s overwhelming, try to break it down step-by-step to simplify it. If you’re just feeling lazy, remind yourself that lazy people hardly make things happen. If you have no interest in doing whatever it is, motivate yourself by writing down what it would mean to complete it. For example, you don’t have any interest in doing your taxes, but you know when you do, a refund will not be far behind.
#2 Write down your goals
What are some goals you want to accomplish?
A clean and organized house?
Dinner planned a week in advance?
To not have that project at work looming over your head any longer?
This is another way to understand the why behind what you need to do. Write down your goals and keep them in a place you can access often. Whenever you’re not feeling like doing something, go back to your list and read over your goals. Use them to motivate you to keep going. And then once you have accomplished a goal, reward yourself in some way. Maybe with an extra scoop of ice cream for dessert or allowing yourself to take a longer than usual bath that evening.
#3 Keep away distractions
Having your email open, your phone near you, the TV on in the background, etc., is a surefire way to slow down your progress on whatever it is you may doing. If it is very difficult for you to not have constant access to your email or phone, try giving yourself time limits. Keep those distractions away for 30 minutes and then give yourself 5 min to check them. Work with yourself on whatever it is you need to so you are not slowed down as much.
#4 Stay energized
It is a lot easier to push off tasks when we’re tired and out of energy. Look for ways to keep yourself energized: Exercise. Eat healthy and lightly. Get a good night sleep. Get up and walk around once in awhile when you are working. Keep a snack around you can grab that will give you energy. Staying energized goes a long way to getting things done!
#5 Figure out when you work best
Do you have a time of day when you do your best work (outside of your actual job)? I am most focused and work best in the morning. The more I get done early, the more I know I will get done. Once the day is drawing to a close, I have a very difficult time staying motivated. That is why I wake up hours before I have to go into work – so I can get most of what I need to done before my day job.
Maybe you are more of a night person. That doesn’t mean if you didn’t get too much done during the day that you procrastinated all day. It just means that you must make it a priority to get things done later in the day.
If you are unsure of when you work your best, then experiment. Spend a week trying to cross things off your to do list at a certain time of day and then switch to a different time the following week. Once you have a good idea then keep it going!
#6 Give yourself reasons why not to avoid something
Other than the results you will get for getting something done (i.e. tax return as previously mentioned) there are other benefits as well.
Frees up your mind – once it is done you no longer have to worry or think about it.
Shortens your to do list – I love being able to cross items off my list!
Can help you get ahead – you won’t have to worry about falling behind or missing a deadline.
Determine some other benefits that motivate you and refer back to them often.
#7 Reward Yourself
As previously mentioned, when you complete something that you struggled to even start – reward yourself! Have that extra cup of coffee out with a friend. Allow yourself one more TV show. Give yourself some quiet time to sit with a book. Find a reward that makes you happy and keeps you motivated!
I don’t think there is anyone that hasn’t struggled with procrastination at some point. I am very guilty of this myself. There are many times I want to push off tasks, and to be honest, I sometimes still do push them off. But I know I am better off when I get things done as soon as possible. It makes me so much happier and frees up more of my time for coffee breaks with friends and family.
What helps you to not procrastinate?
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