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
John recommends the following next steps:
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!
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 :)
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.
The most important thing I can tell you right off the back is to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I find that many of us cling to comfort too much and we tend to only want to do what makes us feel safe or what is more fun/entertaining. This is where I believe procrastination comes into play because rather than going out and doing something that is truly impactful to our lives we can sometimes feel intimidated or bored with it so instead we put what makes us feel safe first and we put it off the things that are really good for us and our futures.
I challenge you to start going outside of your normal day to day activities and let hard work and productivity take the wheel. This means using your phone to answer emails or apply for jobs/college/licenses/scholarships instead of being on social media so much and turning down invitations to hang out with friends and studying instead. I know this is easier said than done but the journey of a million miles begins with one step. You can do it I promise you can and you will be so happy that you did once you begin to receive all of the rewards from your hard work and your excellent time management skills!
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.
Ethiopia Grant B.S.Ed., MEd., M.S.Ed., ITMH
This is a great question that people of all skill levels, ages, backgrounds and experiences effects, including myself. I'd like to acknowledge the plethora of great answers in the thread, as well.
I find that setting goals and being able to track them, whether it's on a computer, calendar, whiteboard, or daily planner, is an effective way to mitigate procrastination. Procrastination, in my view, is a habit, and habits can be changed. By writing down what you need to accomplish, and checking it frequently, it keeps your goals and tasks at the front of your mind, and you are subsequently more apt to complete them. For myself, it feels good when I know I've completed a task, whether it be during work, or my home life. Procrastination also adds unnecessary stress to your life, and if you can overcome procrastination, then you will lead a more balanced and happy life, in my view.
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!
If you find you get distracted easily, consider blocking off time in your calendar to get a specific task done and turn off everything else - close email, chats and put your phone away. Give yourself that uninterrupted time to work on a specific activity. Maybe start with one 30 minute block in your calendar each day, try to do that regularly and then expand to multiple blocks per day for a maximum productive time.
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!
Maintaining focus is also a big deal during these periods of work. This may mean turning off your phone and moving away from distractions. I isolate myself from technology if I have a test coming up so that I may study and not be distracted.
I would say this really depends case to case. But is all about how you approach the situation. I think the big thing to do to start is put yourself in a good environment for working and getting items done. When you get an assignment try to do a read through right when it comes out. I know that is easier said than done but I think one big thing is really getting an idea of the scope of work needed for each assignment. When doing that read through take down notes and just do general brainstorming about what you may want to do. This is always a great start because if It ends up being an interesting idea you come up with you might want to start right away. Although not prefect I hope these few ideas can help you out
From personal experience, I can tell you that the biggest way to fight off procrastination is to eliminate distractions. If you feel you have to get something done, eliminate everything else that does not include you accomplishing that goal. You will be amazed in what you can accomplish without attempting to multitask.
Additionally, setting goals and objectives is also important so that you have a clear idea on what to focus your attention on. Sometimes a lack of definite goals promotes procrastination as a whole.
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.
Jacob recommends the following next steps:
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.
Your best bet is to think hard about what districts you at work. Do you get distracted easily when working from home? Then maybe you should think about going into the office more. Do you get distracted easily by your colleagues in the office? Perhaps it's time to take more advantage of a work from home opportunity or find a quiet seat in your office where you can focus a bit more.
I personally tend to struggle with productivity on slow days. During a holiday week when our volume drops off a cliff it's easy for me allow the quiet environment in the office to drive a more lax approach to my day to day work. On those days I find it very helpful to write down a list of things I want to make sure I do before leaving the office that day. That list could include daily tasks, items I'm otherwise behind on, or even pet projects that I just haven't had a chance to focus on during busier days. By giving myself a defined list of goals I can more easily structure my day and motivate myself to complete the items on my list. That solution clearly won't work for everyone, but I've found through trial and error that it works for me.
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.