Being productive. Staying disciplined. Not procrastinating. All of these things go hand in hand. Procrastination is such a killer.
Procrastination itself doesn’t make sense. Even the most boring thing in the world becomes appealing when there are important and time-sensitive jobs to be done.
How do you stop delaying your important tasks in order to get things done? It’s easier said than done, but if you follow the tips I’ll outline in this post it will help you defeat procrastination once and for all.
Here are five simple ways to help you combat procrastination and defeat your to-do list.
1. Start The Task
Get over the hump of procrastination by starting your task. That’s the hardest part. Once you’ve started, your brain will continue to pester you to finish the task.
Ever heard that the hardest part of any journey is the first step? After your first step, the next one is much easier. So just get out there and start your task. You don’t even have to do it right, just start it and then use the power of momentum to complete it.
So, if the procrastination bug has hit you, start on several tasks and, if you have to, leave them undone. These unfinished tasks will be stuck in your memory and you’ll be more likely to complete them later.
2. Move, Tidy and Create Space
Procrastination breeds in the midst of messiness. If your environment is chaotic, your approach to work will also be chaotic. Productivity needs clean lines, set objectives and manageable apparatus. If you don’t have these things, then procrastination lurks, waiting to pounce.
Sometimes this problem is solved by simply moving to a different space. Taking your laptop to Starbucks can help clear your mind and focus on your task. Sure, Starbucks is loud, but you weren’t doing too good in your home office working in silence though. So a change of scenery might be just what the procrastination doctor ordered.
The best option is to create a new space. If you are chronic procrastinator then there’s probably a ‘chronic space’ cause. De-clutter your desk, clean up the entire room and leave it as empty as possible. All you need is a chair, desk and a computer (and maybe a plant). Everything else is just a distraction.
3. Break It Down Into Smaller Tasks
I use the Trello app every single day to help me manage my tasks. We all know about to-do list apps but they are too simple for me. Seeing a list of tasks is just too much and frankly I can’t decide what to do first.
Instead, I create “projects” and then “sub-tasks” within each project. By breaking a larger project down into sizable portions, I am able to simplify the larger job. You don’t scarf a meal down in one big bite, you take it slow and one bite at a time.
So for example, the task for today was to create a post about defeating procrastination. So I broke that task down into sections, such as:
- Pick a title (top 5 ways to beat procrastination)
- Write your headings
- Write a few paragraphs under each heading
- Choose images
- Proofread and publish post
- Promote on social media
I could never just do the whole project at once, I’d get stuck at the beginning. But if my one task was to pick a title, I can do that easily and then move on to the next sub-task. Before you know it you’re done with the entire project.
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Sometimes procrastination is just caused by simple body chemistry. If you are dehydrated at just 1% you’ll begin to get thirsty. If you lose 5% of your water your mind begins to suffer and you feel tired. It also stops you processing information clearly and it dulls your sense of creativity. Dehydration is a big deal.
So keep a supply of water with you at all time. Get a large re-usable water bottle and keep it full to help you power through your daily tasks.
5. Make like Nike and “Just Do It”
Perhaps a slightly cliche ending, but Nike really was onto something with their famous marketing slogan. There comes a time when you do just need to man-up, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, make an active choice and just get on with it. No self-pity, no excuses – just get it done.