If you want to be more productive, you are likely looking for ways to beat chronic procrastination.
In essence, procrastination is the practice of putting off or avoiding responsibilities or tasks repeatedly, even if doing so can have negative repercussions or outcomes.
While procrastinating on a couple or more tasks can seem harmless, chronic procrastination can significantly impact your well-being and life in general.
Chronic procrastination is not a disorder, but it is associated with some mental health conditions.
For instance, most adults diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) struggle with procrastination.
Combating Chronic Procrastination: Here’s How
The good news is there are many ways to address chronic procrastination. Below are some of them:
One important thing first: Before working on fighting procrastination, find out why you are procrastinating in the first place.
In other words, you need to check why you are not managing your time properly.
If you find yourself procrastinating on a specific task, take a step back and ask yourself why you are procrastinating.
If you know the underlying reason, you can find the right solution.
Below are some of the possible reasons why people procrastinate:
- The task seems too complex, large, or overwhelming
- Getting motivated is difficult until things are urgent and a deadline is near
- Negative feelings and thoughts get in the way of doing a particular task
- The task at hand looks tedious
Now that you are aware of the likely reasons use the following tips to combat procrastination:
Break things down into small steps
If a task is too complex or large that you feel stuck, break it down into small and doable parts.
Have you tried using the Pomodoro technique?
It’s a time management technique many people swear by.
While an enormous task or project can feel overwhelming when you chunk them down into small tasks, so they are easier to tackle.
Often, those with ADHD will find it challenging to visualize specific projects.
They would need help understanding and visualizing how to fit all the pieces together.
In similar cases, it would be best to have someone think through and create organized steps to tackle the project accordingly.
Set a deadline
Once the tasks have been broken down into small steps, it is recommended that you create a deadline for completing each small task.
Large projects and tasks are easier to take on when you divide them into small short-term goals.
It is also easier to stay motivated and less overwhelming.
Each time you complete a short-term goal, make sure you reward yourself.
Creating small goals also helps you avoid last-minute panics when the deadline approaches.
Make use of positive social pressure
Getting an accountability partner can motivate you to start a project and see it through until completion.
Depending on your preference, you can ask a friend, co-worker, or loved one to become your accountability partner and keep you on track.
You must also inform them about your timeline and goals for completing a specific task.
Having an accountability partner can also propel you to move forward accordingly.
Another benefit of having an accountability partner is it can make the project more engaging and stimulating.
Make tedious tasks more appealing
A tedious or boring task will often not stimulate you enough to take action.
If this is the reason for procrastination, you need to ask yourself how to turn a tedious task into an interesting one.
If you want to make tasks more appealing, below are some things you can take to heart:
Create a competition with yourself
For instance, how many tasks can you complete in an hour? You can also use a timer to keep you on track.
You can make the task more fun by playing music while you are working.
Prepare a reward for yourself once you complete specific tasks.
Rotate between two tasks
Another effective way to take on specific tasks effectively is to rotate them between two tasks.
This can help you stay interested in the task and keep you focused and motivated.
You can also use a timer to stay on track and complete each task within a specific time.
To ensure you can complete tasks on time, avoid any distractions.
This means you must refrain from checking your emails, cell phone, and social media accounts while working on finishing something.
You must also be mindful of internal distractions that keep you from completing your tasks.
These internal distractions contribute significantly to the procrastination cycle.
For instance, if you tackle the “small things” first, you are most likely procrastinating.
You might feel like you are doing and accomplishing many things.
However, if you are avoiding the primary tasks that need to get done, you might need more time to accomplish your tasks.
Get training when required
If you have been avoiding a task because you don’t know how to do it, consider getting training to figure out how to approach it best.
Many people put off complex tasks out of anxiety or because they think they don’t know how to do them.
The solution is simple: you need to get the necessary training to get the job done.
Fortunately, this does not mean you must enroll in a formal training course.
You can always do your research online, ask a friend, or watch a video on how to get it done.
Once you know how something is done, there is less anxiety and you will know what actions to take.
Delegate some tasks to others
While it can feel empowering to take on all the tasks yourself, it is sometimes best to delegate them to others with the skills.
For instance, if the task involves creating an illustration and you don’t have the skills to do it, you can always ask others to do it for you.
It is important to remember that you don’t have to take on everything on your own.
Chronic procrastination is something many people deal with. However, if you don’t do anything about it, you cannot complete any task you need to do, especially the huge ones. Fortunately, there are many proven ways to beat procrastination, and you can find some of the most effective ones in the tips above. Use them when working on massive tasks or when you find it challenging to complete projects on time and it will only be a matter of time until you conquer this detrimental habit.