If you came here looking for advice on how to stop procrastinating, you’ve already taken the first critical step. When it comes to procrastination, the important part isn’t only the initiative you take to find help to resolve it. Rather, it is your ability, to be honest with yourself. Both steps speak for themselves, demonstrating your aspiration to want something better for yourself.
The key now is to determine what steps you can take to make procrastinated tasks less of a hassle. You will come to find that winning this procrastination battle involves just as much self-exploration as it does following practical advice. And all of it is possible.
Prioritize tasks in order of importance
If you procrastinate often, your procrastination may be telling you some tasks aren’t as urgent as they might seem. Or, it could be that procrastination is telling you that your tasks aren’t considered as important as they should be. Trying to sort all this out in your mind can be overwhelming. A lack of clarity on the importance of your daily tasks is enough to veer anyone off course. For this reason, it’s so important to write everything down.
Write down your high-priority tasks and remind yourself how important it is to get these done. For urgent procrastination tasks, get them done right away and work on the less urgent jobs later.
If you want to get more done, start with easy and quick tasks. Think tasks that take less than a minute – the goal is to spark your productivity!
Much of the advice you might discover on this topic will tell you to always start with the most difficult task. And the idea of getting the hardest part over with first does sound nice. But you wouldn’t hop right out of bed and run a marathon without warming up your body first, would you?
You shouldn’t treat your brain any differently than your muscles – your day isn’t all that different from a marathon. If you start out sprinting, it can make the easier tasks later on harder to get through than they should. Not to mention, that first task might end up taking longer too.
Explore why you are avoiding tasks
Is there a reason why you are putting things off, to begin with? There is typically some underlying reason for everyone that’s worth exploring.
Sometimes you may find that procrastination is simply an issue of motivation. Perhaps you’ve found yourself caught up in a job that doesn’t interest you all that much. Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself a little too hard lately. In that case, your procrastination might be your body or mind’s way of saying, “Hey, I need a break.”
Finally, it could be that you are making excuses. This isn’t easy to hear and even harder to admit to yourself, but you aren’t alone. Almost all humans love a good excuse. Why? Well, we usually do it to protect ourselves. We create these barriers (excuses) that hinder our likelihood of reaching a goal. We unconsciously protect ourselves from shame and anxiety by shifting the focus away from ourselves through self-handicapping (I’m not smart enough) or blame-shifting (I failed the test because it wasn’t fair).
Do you know what your reasons or triggers are? If not, now is the time to find out – not later. Explore where and when procrastination can happen for you to understand how it happens and why it’s so hard to stop. Once you have a clear picture of your unhealthy work habits, take steps to disrupt them or replace them with new ones that will help keep your tasks on track.
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