Everyone knows nowadays what procrastination is. Okay, let’s be honest: we don’t just know it, we all do it from time to time. It’s just some of us have enough discipline to limit this activity and get things done. Others, however, might not be that strong…
Of course, procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. It means that you decide to do what you like and enjoy, which boosts your mood and sometimes even produces endorphins to give you a short period of happiness. Unfortunately, this feeling of joy is quite temporary and soon you remember about all those things from an infinite to-do list which are still there waiting for your attention. You start to blame yourself for procrastination, the mood goes down, and your desire to actually do something useful is now even smaller than it was before.
So, is there any cure? Well, obviously, you are the only one who can do your stuff: I can’t do it for you, but I have some tips below that might help you get a grip and go do something useful.
Start with a task that you like the most
Every huge project on your plate can definitely be divided into smaller parts. And among them, there is usually at least one that is more interesting for you or simply less hard to do. Who said you can’t start with it? Break the rules! You can start with whatever part you want if it makes you actually start on the task. If it’s some school assignment, start with a research. Try to be creative, maybe you’ll find something cool and unexpected in the process! Or you might as well start from the very end: write a conclusion or start making a presentation if it seems easier at the moment. You’ll probably change it a lot later, but it will give you some ideas for the project itself. And hey, now you already started and the task is not that big and frightening anymore!
Or maybe you’re an author trying to start a book. A clean slate is always hard to break: those first paragraphs might even come out boring if you squeeze every word from yourself. And you don’t want your readers’ first impression to be like that, huh? So start with something else! You probably already have some cool action scene on your mind or a picture of a romantic moment which you’re going to put somewhere in the middle of your story. If something came to your mind right now and you feel excited about it, start right here!
Remember that appetite comes with eating, so why not to eat a yummy piece first?
Reward yourself after each small task
Promise yourself some treat for when you’re done. Let yourself watch a 10-minute video on Youtube after you’ve finished, go pamper yourself with a face mask or a delicious cappuccino, whatever suits you best. It won’t be a procrastination if you deserve it. And, of course, it’s important to make it limited so your reward is not bigger than the work you’ve done. Give yourself a small relaxing break and then go start the next item from your list, which, by the way, already got smaller! Make a prize worth it, but make yourself work for it too! Small hint: don’t reward yourself with food too often, it might not end very well!
The reason this technique is helpful is all about dopamine. This is a neurotransmitter that is being released when you seek for a pleasurable experience. It basically forces you to do what it takes to get that desirable thing in the end, which is exactly our case. Technically, getting the same reward every time makes the level of dopamine smaller with time, so try to think of different types of encouragement for yourself to keep it work!
Remove all the distractions
We all know how social networks can totally eat our time. You innocently open a Facebook page to respond to some message, but two hours later you find yourself still scrolling through your feed not even remembering why you opened it in the first place. Grr, this time-devouring monster defeated you again!
The best thing you can do here is: do not let anything interrupt you. In 2018 there are plenty of apps and plugins which can help you with that. They usually block specific sites or applications for you for a given period of time, and you can only undo it with a password, so better ask someone close to you to set a password for you to avoid temptations. Mute your phone and put it away, turn off the Internet if you don’t need it for your work, put your mailbox in Do Not Disturb mode for an hour and you are good to go.
These are my most effective tips for you which have proved to work so many times. Hope you enjoyed reading them and will certainly implement them to be more productive! Share in comments what worked for you or if you have your personal tricks that might be useful too as sometimes everyone needs a procrastination cure. Have a nice productive day!
Save this as a reminder in case you start to procrastinate again!