6 Effective Ways to Stop Procrastination
From young, it has been ingrained in us that as productive humans, we need to be constantly busy and actively participating in work that could help move us forward and upward. When constantly faced with many different projects and commitments vying for our attention, we might be tempted to shut down and just crawl into bed for a nap — before waking and realising you have yet to finish what you set out to accomplish and ending up spiralling into feelings of hopelessness. Don’t fret, before you get to that stage, take the following steps to overcome temptations to procrastinate.
1. Manage and prioritise your work with to-do lists
To-do lists are the simplest and most efficient way of prioritising and getting your work in order. If you have many items to complete weighing on your mind, writing them down helps free up mental space so you can get down to work efficiently without worrying about forgetting other things that need your attention. Writing them out can also help you picture which are the more important ones, or simpler, easier tasks that you can get out of the way almost immediately. It is highly satisfying when you cross out or check the box after finishing each task, and finally when the whole list is crossed out and you can call it a day.
2. Work in a controlled environment
Plan and create an environment that will allow you to be the most productive. This means removing distractions such as social media apps or games on your phone and keep online surfing out of reach by switching your laptop to airplane mode if you can. Try not to study in your bedroom where you could be tempted to take a nap every once in awhile – head out to the living room or even public library instead where you will be less likely to laze around. If friends keep you from getting work done, stop arranging study dates with them knowing you are just looking forward to hanging out and not being productive.
3. Fuel your brain with good snacks
Certain foods can help you increase focus and concentration whilst you are doing work. Try having nuts, dried fruits or wholegrain crackers beside you while you study to keep you satiated and stop your mind from wandering. Snacks are good to keep you motivated and break the monotony of work and study, especially if you easily succumb to the afternoon post-lunch food coma and need to stay away from having heavy meals. If you find yourself getting sleepy, make sure you have access to caffeine to ensure maximum productivity during your work sessions.
4. Reward yourself with period breaks
If you find yourself unable to work long periods without getting distracted, try splitting your work-load into smaller bite-sized pieces and finishing them in short-bursts instead. For example, you can aim to complete your task within 30 minutes and give yourself 5 minutes to have a short break as a reward once you have accomplished that task. You can also prepare little treats for yourself such as a piece of chocolate or candy that you can have after checking off a box on your to-do list.
5. Be accountable by updating your friends
This might be a slightly tricky tip as telling your friends could keep you accountable to your tasks ahead of you, but the conversation with your friends could roll onto other topics that make you stray from your work train. Also, psychologically some might already feel like they have accomplished their tasks or goals after they tell someone their plans. So, use this with caution if you know your habits well-enough!
6. Start big, finish small
Sometimes when faced with a big task, we can’t seem to accomplish it as quickly as we would like because we keep focusing on the little details and trying to perfect them. In such scenarios, try tackling the bigger ideas, points and paragraphs to create a broader structure before going down into the sub-points and phrases. This way, you can feel yourself making progress and moving forward on the project, easing the feelings and temptations of procrastination along the way.
So act on it! Just like Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on!