We all have been in a situation where the clock is ticking on a lengthy task that we had plenty of time for but pushed until the end of the deadline. Procrastination is the act of delaying an important task by focusing on something else. It manifests itself in several ways like answering emails instead of completing a crucial task. It often ends in one having a ton of pending workload to deal with and self-disappointment.
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Everyone deals with procrastination in some capacity. It happens due to a scientific phenomenon called present bias where our brain prefers a smaller reward now rather than a larger reward in the future. Here are a few tips to help you overcome procrastination and enhance productivity.
Procrastination vs Laziness
People often confuse procrastination and laziness when the two are quite different. Procrastination is an active process of avoiding a more difficult task by doing something less complex. However, laziness is the lack of will to act in any capacity. To beat procrastination, it is important to make the distinction between the two.
Procrastination in the end can be harmful. The immediate effects of procrastination are feeling guilty and ashamed of not performing well but these could grow over time and develop into demotivation.
Figuring Out the Reason
To deal with procrastination, it is important to understand the reasons causing it. Maybe you are procrastinating because you find the task incredibly boring and daunting. You can tackle this situation by reminding yourself of the fun tasks and aspects of your job that you can get to after getting a difficult task out of the way. Another reason why people procrastinate is due to poor organization skills. To help with organization use to-do skills, planners, and schedules.
Procrastination at times can be a symptom of an underlying issue like ADHD or OCD. If you suspect you have either of the two disorders, get yourself tested so you can get the help you needed.
Relevant Anti-procrastination Strategies
If procrastination is a habit for you, it won’t go away overnight. There need to be small consistent efforts to break a deeply ingrained pattern. Here are some anti-procrastination strategies that might help
- Get the most difficult task of the day out of the way. Once you have completed the task you have been dreading the most you can move on to easier and more tasks that will not take up much time.
- Reward yourself after completing a particularly difficult task. This type of positive reinforcement provides the incentive to work harder.
- If you get distracted easily, minimize the number of distractions around you. Turn off the notifications on your social media accounts and choose a working space where you can focus on work better.
- Commit to tasks and allot them at a specific time. Be practical while scheduling your tasks and have realistic expectations so you can get them done on time.
Find out what motivates you to work harder. For some, it might be giving yourself an incentive this could be a nice meal or a shopping trip. Others get motivated when they are trusted with additional responsibility so ask your supervisor for additional projects that you can partake in.
Being too guilt-ridden and stressed to make changes is counterproductive. It is okay to feel bad about not being able to meet targets, but those feelings should be harvested to take the actions needed. Forgive yourself for the mistakes that have been made but remember what you have learned because of them. Use these teaching to do a better job next time.
Procrastination in the long run can have serious effects such as job termination. It is important to identify the pattern of procrastination early on and break it before it becomes a habit. We hope these tips can help you beat procrastination and become more productive.