Procrastination is a habit of postponing your obligations without an apparent reason. This type of behavior includes everything from getting up from the bed to meeting a job deadline. Once a person sinks deep into procrastinating they may experience difficulties with getting back on the track. Although procrastination has some upsides like not rushing into decisions and actions, it’s important to learn how to avoid getting into trouble.
There is a common misconception that procrastination leads directly to lower productivity. This sort of claim, however, is not entirely true. Although it’s not advisable to postpone your work and leave for tomorrow what you can finish today, people don’t just stare at the wall, doing nothing. While work is on hold, one might do some online shopping, pay the bills, clean up the house a bit, etc. When you put everything on paper, this could count like fairly productive time. Additionally, writers often take time before they start working on a project. While the deadline keeps closing in, a writer’s mind keeps working on ways to finish the project. When that “last minute” hits, the writer would sit down and become more efficient.
Case study service editor Miranda Black states: “I always prepare for work by cleaning up around my desk because it keeps my mind free and more creative. When the time comes, my mind is already prepared to execute the task.” This actually means that procrastination is not the opposite of productivity, to say the least, it helps a person become more productive if you follow some simple rules.
1. Don’t snooze
We already mentioned waking up as one of the issues that procrastinators really have trouble dealing with. In most cases, they would hit the snooze button endlessly until the last minute, and not too seldom until they’re already late. There is an easy trick that might help you cope with this kind of problem.
- Set the most annoying alarm sound you can think of. This could be a song you don’t like or a high-pitch sound that’s difficult to listen for longer than ten seconds.
- Don’t put your phone or alarm clock near to you. This way you will have to get out of the bed in order to stop the alarm ringing. Once you get up from your bed it’s unlikely that you’ll go back.
In addition, you can set more alarms so if you manage to ignore the first one, the others will make you jump out and seize the day.
2. Create a schedule
Break your day into actionable segments. Make every moment of your time count by setting up deadlines for each part of the day. However, don’t forget to add some free time, it will help you to juice up and continue with your work. Pauses are excellent productivity boosters.
3. Move your deadline ahead
This practice allows you to start earlier with your work, even if you wait for that last minute bell. The fact that you know you still have the time to finish the project will simply keep you relaxed, therefore you won’t rush or do something wrong because you were too hasty.
4. Keep your phone as far as possible
Although there are hundreds of productivity apps and time trackers, phones are the easiest way to lose track of time. What starts with answering a simple message could result in hours lost on social networks, funny videos, etc. Leave the phone aside and answer only to important phone calls.
5. Carrot and a stick
We all like gifts, no matter who is presenting us with the prize. Therefore, rewarding yourself for a job well done is a great way to motivate yourself to work. For example, you can set up different awards for various milestones.
6. Get out of the house
It’s easy to stagnate when you’re inside. Getting comfy on your sofa while watching your favorite show is the easiest way to forget you have work to do. If you feel bad about delaying your work but you just can’t get enough focus to start working, it’s best to get out and take a walk. The fresh air will do you good, oxygen will pump up your brain and give you the energy to start working.
7. Use notes
Write down your obligations and put them in places where you spend the most of your time. If you go to the fridge and you see a large note saying “Clean up the pool” it should make you go out and finish this daunting task momentarily.
8. Wake up earlier
If you feel that you need more time to finish all your work, consider waking up earlier. It will give you a few extra hours that you might need in order to finish your tasks and have enough time to procrastinate as well.
9. Cut corners where you can
Most procrastinators are perfectionists. They don’t start working until they’re absolutely sure they will put out the best results and finish everything perfect up to a fault. Try and become just a bit looser when it comes to working. Work until it’s done, not until it’s perfect.
As we can see, procrastination is not the end of the world. However, it makes you waste a whole lot of time. We human beings can get back most of the things that we lose, time is not one of them. Once lost time is forever lost. Use your time wisely.
Mary Whitman is a freelance writer and blogger based in Adelaide, South Australia. In her spare time, she enjoys talking about Sustainable Development and writing essays.
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