How do you limit procrastination?
I think this has been an issue tons of people have because procrastination makes us lose some big opportunities. What are some tips that could help out with procrastination and increase my motivation to work?
I hope this will be helpful Erica
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Not only will starting earlier give you the chance to see if the task is really as hard as it seems (which it usually isn't), but it also allows you time to engage with your work relatively stress free and clear minded because of how early you approach it. I think just starting is the hardest step with procrastination, it feels as if it's the last thing you want to think about. However, the sooner you start the less your future self has to suffer-- and that mentality of caring for my future self and starting early led to better results, better mental health, and gave me confidence to start a lot of things earlier. The sacrifice in the present moment builds towards a greater goal and long term gratitude and allows you time to consult your TAs, professors, etc. if you need the help. It is a mental battle but one that can be consciously fought and conquered.
Maeve’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team
Raisa Anan’s Answer
In high school, my habit of procrastinating was at its worst. I still procrastinate now, but it's far less severe than it was back then. I followed these steps to improve:
1) Organize your work into categories and put clear labels on them. Organizing my tasks was a massive factor in limiting my procrastination. I realized I used to procrastinate through this type of thinking pattern: "Oh, I need to start the maths homework that's due in two days. But before that I should complete the literature homework and - oh, I forgot to do research for it!" Yes, it was like that. After I begun to organize, schedule and label my tasks, it became more clear, assured and simple.
2) Start to work from the day you've been assigned with any tasks. Oftentimes, due dates can give the impression of a lot of time in your hands. Instead try to think the whole period - from assigned date to the due date - is meant to be utilized.
3) Positively think about the free time you'll have if you finish before the due date.
4) If you are working in a team and the other members of the team are procrastinating, try your best to not give in to do the same. Instead finish your part on time and remind others to do the same.
5) I have found that whenever I talk to a classmate, who is further ahead in their work than I am, I'll be motivated to work harder!
6) Make your work more enjoyable. For instance, whenever I research any topic, I'll take short breaks during which I'll look up memes, share my progress with my sister, or doodle at the edges of my notebook.
Hope that helps :)
First, you are not unproductive or lazy, you are just not able to create conditions conducive to make you productive
Second, just because everyone else is following a pattern or schedule, does not mean it is the best for you
Third, seeking perfectionism is not wrong, but you should seek it only for the most important tasks
Lastly, it will take weeks if not months to overcome this so there are no quick fixes
So, let me share a few suggestions.It is really difficult to change your productivity hours, so don't fight them but create your work/study schedule around them. If you are working, remote work allows you to be flexible so make full use of it and prefer jobs that are flexible. For eg. I am very productive between 8-11 and 5-10, but most jobs are 9-5, so I feel very unproductive during normal business hours. To solve this I only schedule meetings between 11-5 or do my other personal tasks in this time.
Secondly, start small and with boring tasks. Those small wins really add up and give you a mental boost.
Third and most importantly, create a space where you are only with your task. Remove distractions and be strict with yourself for 20 mins, then 30 mins and then an hour. Over time, all of this will surely help you.
The fact that you asked this question means that you are willing to fight this and I wish you all the best!
Andrea G’s Answer
It may seem counterintuitive to 'carve' time in your calendar but it helps to understand what's on your plate, the scope of work for each project and the time each task will take. I then rate each task based on its priority. As an example, in any given day I am coming up with story ideas and concepts, researching topics, then writing about the topics and editing the work but also communicating with clients, drafting external marketing campaigns and filing invoices. Priorities shift depending on deadlines made by clients, or professors, but once you get a rhythm for how you work the process can be ritualized.
There are lots of great advices in the comments - breaking the task into smaller tasks, setting timer, etc, which are all super helpful.
One additional thing I think is important is to celebrate every step you take, even if they are small successes. Personally, I set up a Notion page to track all the plans and progress I have, the daily tasks I plan to complete, and I even track the daily habits I want to build.
By the end of every month, I do a monthly reflection to see what I did well, and what I should change.
I found that by documenting the mini-steps you took and the progress you made, it really encourages me to stick to my plans and spend each day fruitfully.
Hope this is helpful for you!
First, I eliminate or minimize distractions. In college, that meant stopping my WoW subscription for 4 years and limiting the games I purchased. Since I was living alone I also did not have a tv in my bedroom, where my computer was, to limit the temptation to watch. Since I work from home now, I have turned a spare room into my office, giving me a physical "at work" location that I go to. This helped immensely since it replicated my old drive to the office routine. My office doesn't have a tv and I keep the door closed much of the time to limit interruptions.
The second thing I do is ensure that when I am working on a task I am as efficient with my time as possible. I planned my workflow for the various tasks so that I can quickly work through them without wondering what is next. This keeps me focused since my brain never has the time to drift off. For example, when I was in college, I would store all the references for papers in the same manner in a notepad doc using a simplified shorthand. When the paper was done, I was able to quickly convert them over to proper format quickly.
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I think of it sort of like eating well: if you never allow yourself to indulge, you may tend to binge and then feel bad about it after the fact. If you enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, you feel satisfied and also good about the decision you've made. Enjoy procrastination in moderation to learn how to live alongside those tendencies, rather than resist them and label them as bad or harmful.
When all else fails, "time box" your task. The discovery of this strategy was revolutionary for me because as a perfectionist, it's sometimes hard for me to begin really big scary tasks or projects for fear of inadequacy. Timeboxing is a time management technique where before you begin, you decide how much time you'll spend on the task at hand. For example, let's say you need to create a marketing pamphlet and you aren't sure how long it will take. Set a timer for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes, and see how far you get. Chances are once you start, you won't feel like stopping, but even if you do, that was all part of the plan! This can be especially helpful for tasks that will take as much time as you give them and could go on forever, like market research.
I've tried a lot of things -- breaking goals up into smaller tasks, making to-do lists, finding a quiet environment conducive to work. These did help, but personally, one piece of advice I came across stood out to me in particular. I can't remember where I read it, but it was an article that said that what was difficult about doing work wasn't necessarily doing it, but rather building up the motivation to get started.
If you need to go for a run -- don't force yourself to go for a run. Instead, tell yourself you're just going to go to the door and put on your sneakers. Once you're there, it's a lot less intimidating to walk out the door. If you need to finish a school assignment, just tell yourself you'll take out your pencil and paper and put them on your desk. Once they're there, it's not much of a leap to finish the first problem.
When it comes to working through or trying to eliminate procrastination the solution varies from person to person, so if one method/solution doesn't work for you do not worry. As was mentioned above creating or assigning certain environments towards work/study and to relax/chill is something personally that helped me out quite a bit. Reducing the amount of time you spend on your phone or tablet with either social media, games, online shopping, can also make a difference too. Look into options with your phone to set it into a work mode or study mode where you can only receive messages or notifications that are important and filter out the rest, this has helped me tremendously when trying to maintain my focus during studying. Hope this helps!
Procrastination can be hard but here are a few tips that I think may help!
First, stick to a morning routine. I personally live by this as I think it sets up your day for success if you incorporate an efficient early morning routine. My personal routine is wakeup at 7am, make a coffee, read the daily market news, make my bed, write in my planner and then head out for work by 8am. Having an hour that's standard and I enjoy every morning allows me to be productive the rest of the day.
Secondly, limit tv/phone time to an hour a day and you'll realize how much time is wasted!