How many times do you catch yourself endlessly scrolling through social media when you have an important task to finish? Or, do you remember that time you keep making up a lot of excuses just not to work on something? At some point, we’ve all procrastinated and put off something for another that is more interesting. Unlike laziness, where you do not have the energy to do anything, procrastination on the other hand is when you keep delaying and putting off a certain task but still have the energy or interest to do others. Procrastination can drastically affect your productivity. It is also worth mentioning that procrastination is not a disorder but rather a habit, and like any other bad habit, you can break it.
What are the signs of procrastination?
• Always having a hard time meeting deadlines.
• Getting distracted easily.
• You tend to fill your time with unimportant things and minor tasks.
• You are unable to stop putting things off no matter how aware are you of their importance.
•You put things off in every aspect of your life, not just work.
There are two types of procrastinators:
Passive procrastinators: Those who delay tasks because they can’t make the right decisions.
Active Procrastinator: Those who willingly delay tasks because they feel they perform better under pressure.
How to stop procrastination?
1. Break down your work or project into small steps. Let’s say you are working on a project, draw a map of everything you need to do to get this project done. Now break that down into small steps or actions and focus on one step at a time.
2. Be very specific with your timeline and deadline. Instead of setting a date for when the project needs to be finished, be very specific about your timeline. Put a deadline for each step and remind yourself how one day of delay will have a ripple effect in the coming days. An easy way to do this is to schedule time blocks with yourself.
3. Eliminate distractions. Turn off your social media notifications and stay focused on what you have on hand. Whenever you grab your phone in the middle of the task or when you tell yourself “I’ll watch a bit of TV and then get back to my task” identify the thought pattern and stop it immediately and get back on track.
4. Reward yourself for getting things accomplished. One way to break the cycle of procrastination is to reward yourself for getting things done. Make a promise to yourself that if you finish a part of a task you will do something you like afterward.