Do you ever find yourself not being bothered to do something even though you know you have to? Do you ever worry about how much work you have looming over you in the background when you’ve just spent the whole day on Netflix? Are you feeling unmotivated, lazy or in a state of worry about the workload on your plate? If you’ve answered yes to any of these (we said yes to all of them!), welcome to being a pro in procrastination!
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is simply having no valid reason to do so, but delaying a task / goal you’ve committed too, to either do nothing or complete a task of lesser importance. Despite being aware of the negative consequences of procrastination, majority of people still find themselves procrastinating whether it be within their work, study or other commitments.
How does procrastination come about?
The first step to limiting procrastination is to understand where it comes from. You’ll find procrastination normally occurs with tasks you dislike, tasks that take extended periods of time to finish or simply tasks that you have no motivation to begin or complete. We all have unhelpful rules and assumptions about what we expect of ourselves and the world. When we detect any type of discomfort in relation to a task and find ourselves detesting the feeling, procrastination is our way to remove this discomfort. The only issue with this, is that the discomfort can only be avoided in the short-term therefore creating long-term stress.
So how can we stop procrastinating?
Some of the ways to limit procrastination is to:
– Adjust your unhelpful rules and assumptions.
– Tolerate your discomfort.
– Dismiss your procrastination excuses.
– Be motivational towards yourself rather than critical.
– Put into action practical strategies to stop procrastination.
Procrastination is a habit many of us have formed over the years and it is important to treat it as such. Changing habits is no minimal task and will take time, practice, persistence and patience. If you want to tackle every commitment you have effectively, without the need for procrastination, follow our tips listed below:
Write a To-Do list. Start with writing a To-Do list of tasks and goals you have committed yourself to. We recommend starting with a list that is achievable to you, for example try it day-by-day, or if you are confident, complete your list for an entire week. Once your first list has been achieved on the time frame you’ve chosen, challenge yourself by creating a longer or more detailed list.
Prioritise your To-Do list. Once you have wrote your To-Do list, prioritise it. What task / goal is most / least important. Place it on a numbered scale so you know which task / goal needs to be completed first.
Grade each task. With larger tasks that may take extended periods of time, split the task into smaller sections, for example this could be doing half of the task on one day of the week and finishing the second half on another day of the week. This enables you to complete the task with your full attention.
Accurately estimate timing. Set times for your task. For example spend 30 minutes on big tasks and 15 minutes on smaller tasks. For a day of study, you may decide to study for 30 minutes and take a 15 minute breaks and continue on this pattern for a duration of 3 hours. For smaller tasks that don’t require splitting, you may estimate the task to take you 20 minutes. Try your best to be accurate with your timings and stick to them.
If you find the above tips are hard to incorporate into your life, Self Reflections Psychology can help you transition to a healthier, happier mindset.
If there is anything you think was important to add into this weeks’ blog post that was not included, or if you’d like to share your thoughts on successfully managing / limiting procrastination to encourage others, we’d love to hear from you.
Wishing you all a lovely week, from the team at Self Reflections.
This blog was based on the information found in Centre for Clinical Interventions.