5 Practical Ways To Not Be A Serial Procrastinator

5 Practical Ways To Not Be A Serial Procrastinator

As ambitious as we are, sometimes it requires some extra effort to get on top of that deadline and not be a serial procrastinator.
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Another day has begun and you still haven’t started – let alone completed – the tasks that loom over your to-do list. Day-by-day, you stare at the list aimlessly, promising to ‘do it tomorrow’. You sit at your desk with your notes, laptop and folders all around you but working is the last thing on your mind. You know that wasting time not being productive isn’t going to get you anywhere and yet, you indulge in those few minutes on Facebook that turn into hours, you listen to music instead of preparing that presentation and you’d rather do meaningless chores and be a procrastinator than the most logical thing at that moment; complete the important task at hand. But why?  

Well, we often a procrastinator on jobs that don’t have a set outline. When we’re unsure of what’s involved, we end up putting it off instead of coming up with a strategy. There is definitely a split between people who act, who are logical, and those who talk, who are more person-focused. The latter know what they want to do and have an amazing vision but they lack the motivation to take action. This can result in unfulfilled goals and feelings of guilt. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the latter cannot become the former.  

The key is to rid yourself of the fear of failure, decision paralysis, unclear priorities, and negative thoughts. Below, we talk about 5 ways you can stop procrastinating and get on top of your deadline.  

1. Assess your work environment  

Removing obstacles to your focus will require an evaluation of your needs. Interrupting conversations, distracting sounds, or proximity to busy office areas like bathrooms or kitchens can be extremely distracting. Someone that’s distracted will naturally lean towards small, less demanding tasks and procrastinate the ones that require complete concentration. If you have the liberty, take your work outdoors or to a coffee shop perhaps. A different environment could be the remedy you need to get into the right headspace, be less of a procrastinator and work it out.  

work space
work environment
Image | Unsplash

2. Have two task lists  

We’ve all had page-long task lists that can seem extremely pressurizing to our productivity. It is only natural to want to complete the nice and easy tasks first and put off the challenging ones. Having two separate to-do lists can help you focus on the important tasks first, the ones that need to be tackled as a priority. Once these have been checked off, you can easily move on to the list of simple tasks that’ll almost feel like a reward for your productivity.  

3. Set goals that are about more than output 

If we dislike a task or see it as too overwhelming, procrastination will come to us as we’d rather be doing something else. It’s natural to not like all the tasks that we need to achieve for the day. However, remembering to focus on the ‘why’ or the long-term purpose and goal of this particular task can help you understand why it’s important right now. Center your goals beyond just physical output to align them with your personal goals.  

task list
Image | Unsplash

4. Let go of the guilt  

The next time you procrastinate, focus on your self-talk, what are you saying to yourself? Most of the time we say things like, “This is JUST like me. I never get things done on time.” or “What’s the matter with me? Why am I always procrastinating.” Such negative self-talk makes things worse than they actually are. The more you criticize yourself, the more you’ll procrastinate. Instead, let yourself off the hook and be kind to yourself by saying things like, “You’re trying your best and you’ll get there.” or “You’ve done so many hard things in the past, you can do this too.” Feeling inspired to work will banish the need for procrastination as you won’t feel obligated to do the task.  

5. Stop trying to be perfect  

Procrastination goes hand in hand with perfection. Sure, it’s important to do things right and be proud of the work you’ve accomplished but you should also remind yourself that what you’re producing is more than good enough. Indulging in self-criticism and striving for perfection can put you in an infinite loop of disappointment. Ask yourself whether spending excessive time on the same task is getting you towards your end goal, if not then leave it be and move on.  

Procrastination won’t stop overnight but with the right steps, you can hop on the productivity train and bid procrastination goodbye. Don’t let the fear of failure push you to cave in, work through your setbacks and achieve the things that you’re meant to.  

This guided meditation can help you get into the right mindset.

Read more: 4 Reasons You’re Struggling To Find Balance In Life

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