Are you itching to kick your procrastination habits to the curb? Here are 8 effective ways to prevent the unnecessary stress of last-minute tasks.
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of productivity. Not only can this bad habit prevent you from achieving your goals, but those who are prone to procrastination also tend to have higher levels of stress and lower well-being, according to the Association for Psychological Science. Though it can be a difficult habit to kick, however, have no fear – we’re here to help. Here’s our round-up of the most effective tips for conquering procrastination to help you stay on task and have a productive day.
Write it down
One of the first steps to getting organised is writing a to-do list. Research has shown that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. A good way to set yourself up for success is by writing down your action plan the night before. Having a tangible framework for the next day ensures that you’re starting each day with a purpose, making it more likely that you’ll fill your day with productive work.
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Adopt a ‘do-it-now’ mindset
Procrastination is one of the biggest contributors to stress. When you constantly put off important tasks, your stress levels can skyrocket, which can further distract you from completing the tasks at hand and cause more stress. This makes it easy to fall into the ‘procrastination accumulation effect’, a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling even more overwhelmed. To help get out of this harmful cycle, try adopting a ‘do-it-now’ habit. Rather than putting off tasks and deciding to do it later, respond immediately to your responsibilities and work on your most important tasks first. The momentum of the morning will carry over into the rest of the day!
Set concrete, achievable goals
When confronted with a daunting task, it’s easy to fall victim to procrastination. It is much easier to get started on a project once you have specific, attainable goals, so try breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and focus on one small piece at a time. Set up a reward system with incentives to complete the tasks on your to-do list – having something to look forward to makes it much easier to stay motivated.
Creating a timeboxed schedule and having self-imposed deadlines can help condition your brain to break up intimidating tasks into smaller, doable chunks, making the work process more manageable. It has been found that setting a deadline for each goal helps to keep you on track and will motivate you to complete the tasks more efficiently. Having a specific time and date for when you want to get something done can create a sense of urgency and bring structure into your day, helping you to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.
Find an accountability partner
It isn’t enough to set goals if you lack the willpower to follow through. If you’re finding it difficult to hold yourself accountable and focus on your work, try reaching out to a friend for help. Sharing your goals and checking in with each other occasionally can help prevent procrastination by making sure you both stay focused, productive, and on track. Exchanging support and motivation can also help you maintain a positive mindset and allow both of you to achieve your goals.
Get rid of distractions
According to a study conducted by the University of California Irvine, it takes 23 minutes to regain focus after being distracted, which is why it’s important to have the self-discipline to avoid losing focus on the tasks at hand. To minimise the risk of distraction, consider turning off notifications on your phone or, better yet, disconnect entirely. If you find yourself getting distracted on the Internet, try a distraction blocker like Freedom, which bars you from accessing distracting websites and apps that may hinder you from doing your work effectively.
Need help managing your distractions? Discover our pick of the best 8 productivity apps to keep you organised, save you time and help you stay on top of your goals, here.
Clean up your workplace
The environment you create is a reflection of your mindset. Research has found that physical clutter in our surroundings can negatively affect productivity, making it harder for you to process information and complete assignments effectively. Decluttering your workspace can clear your mind and help you focus on the tasks at hand. If you’re finding it difficult to stay focused on your work, opt for a change of scenery to jumpstart your productivity. Working in new spaces can give you new perspectives on your work and help to re-invigorate your mind. Here are some proven ways you can redesign your workspace.
Take breaks to avoid burnout
Although taking breaks may seem counterproductive, allowing yourself to rest while working can help you avoid burnout by improving your ability to focus and allowing you to be productive for a prolonged period of time. Stepping away for a quick refresher can help relax the mind, readying it to tackle the rest of your day. However, be sure to keep your breaks short and sweet, or you could risk destroying the momentum of your efficiency – studies show that working for 52 consecutive minutes followed by a 17-minute break is the best formula for productivity.
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