Most of the time, it may feel like procrastinating leads to disappointment, anxiety and stress. But procrastination is not always evil. Sometimes, it’s our inner self’s one way of saying “hey, you need to take a break”, or that something isn’t right.
Among the benefits of procrastination include putting unpleasant tasks aside in favour of pleasurable ones, avoiding the possibility of failure-or success, and lowering your anxiety.
But like all other things, too much procrastination is unhealthy. One major consequence is that it can make you less productive. It may also hinder you from working hard to achieve your priorities and getting what you really want in life.
If you find yourself procrastinating more than actually taking action, then you could be in real danger. Try doing the following tips and tricks to overcome too much procrastination and turn your plans and thoughts into a productive action!
Set up reminders.
It’s really a good idea to buy a daily planner so you will be guided of the things you need to accomplish for the day, or for the entire week. When you know what your priorities are, you will be more motivated to limit procrastinating and work more.
Wake up early.
If you do, you are more likely to finish your tasks early, especially if you work from home. And even if you are a regular office employee who has a fixed 9-to-6 schedule, you can still benefit from being an early riser. How? By getting up earlier than usual, you can actually give yourself time to reflect, make your to-do list, and probably formulate better solutions for your work issues.
Get up and move.
Being inactive can make you feel drowsy, unmotivated and uninspired. On the other hand, being physically active can spark your creativity, make you energetic and happier! So when you find yourself straying from your task to surfing the internet, browsing your FB news feed, or watching video clips, consider doing some stretching first. Just 10 minutes of physical activity can power your body up and activate your creative mind.
Find a healthy outlet.
Doing same things everyday can really be stressful at times, no matter how much you love your craft. And when you are stressed, you are more likely to procrastinate. To avoid this, find a healthy outlet. It can be something that you enjoy doing – cooking, sketching, reading, taking photos, etc. Give yourself at least 30 minutes everyday to do things you are passionate about. Call it “my time”.
This is a very good way prevent procrastination. Set a specific timeframe for each task you need to do – say, 45 minutes, and then you can rest a bit. This helps you avoid burnout, especially when you’re working on complex projects.
Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of what you feel. When working, try hard not to let your mind wander from the present moment. This way, you can exert all your brainpower to your work and you can ensure a good outcome at the shortest possible time.
Give time for quietness.
Most of us spend lots of time plugged in to the digital world. But it can be overwhelming and stressful too. Set aside at least 15 minutes for mindfulness and quietness. Just free your mind. Think of nobody, think of nothing. Just focus on your breath. You will be surprised of how relieving this simple mental practise is!
Give yourself a break.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. As mentioned, procrastination is a warning sign than you need to rest or slow down. It’s okay to give in to procrastination once in a while. No matter how tight your schedule is, give yourself some time to rest. You deserve it anyway.
One common reason why we procrastinate is that we bombard ourselves with so many tasks that even before we start, we are already feeling tired and overwhelmed. Learn how to prioritise your tasks. Identify which are urgent and at the same time important (not just urgent or not just important). When you distribute your workload properly, you won’t feel too stressed. Also, learn to delegate some of your tasks. You are not a superhuman. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lessen your load.
Just do it.
When all else fails, just carry on with your work. Don’t get caught to making excuses. Just do what you’ve got to do. That task, no matter how difficult or overwhelming, will have an end.
Whenever procrastination is affecting your productivity, pick one or two of these strategies that are most suitable to your situation. They may just be what you need to stay focused and on track.
As always, I welcome your comments. And if you find this article useful – do let me know.
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
Part of the Core Health Centre