Everyone procrastinates sometimes. It is so difficult to make yourself start doing something you dislike. That may be writing a coursework, cleaning the house or even buying some stuff. It seems so easy to find dozens of excuses just to postpone unpleasant and boring task as much as possible. We all know what happens next: panic, hectic activities to meet the deadline and exhaustion afterwards. How many times have I promised myself that next time I will be a good girl and will leave plenty of time for what I need to do? “Next time I will not browse Facebook until I am done with my homework” , “Next time I will buy Xmas presents for my friends and family well beforehand, I am not going to shop on 23rd ever again”, or “Next time I will go to bed before midnight to feel rested in the morning”… That list is endless. Somehow, most people fail to keep those promises. If you can relate to this problem, we would like to share with you 5 simple ways to fight procrastination.
1.Make a realistic “to do” list
Keeping a list will help you in prioritizing your tasks and planning your day. Make the list of things you must do and keep track of your activities. Remember that it is very important not to plan more than you are likely to accomplish. Yes, challenging yourself may be a good idea sometimes. However, more often you will just feel like an undisciplined loser who planned to do 10 tasks but managed only 4. So, do not try to write an introduction to your thesis, visit your grandma, go out for a date, clean the house and safe the world during one day. Make your “to do” list realistic and stick to it.
2.Do the most difficult things when you are most productive
Some people find it easier to work in the morning, while others prefer to sleep till afternoon and then stay awake till 3 a.m. working at night. You must know when you are most productive. Try to do the most difficult things then. No use forcing yourself to do the most complicated tasks in the morning if you are a “night owl” type of person, and vice versa. Follow your biorhythms as often as you can.
3.Tell another person about your “to do” list
This is a very powerful tool in keeping yourself accountable. Say, if I promised myself to clean my room today, I may very well postpone it till tomorrow/the day after tomorrow/next week. However, if I told my mom/roommate that my room will be cleaned TODAY, then I am much more likely to stick to my promise. Reluctance to feel embarrassed is even greater then reluctance to clean. Therefore, go ahead and tell someone about your plans.
4.Remember why you should do that
Sometimes the cause of procrastination is not laziness but just subconscious realization that the given task is not that important. Making your “to do” list ask yourself several questions:
1) Why do I need to do that?
2) What will happen if I fail to do that?
3) Can anyone else do that for me?
After that you will either be more motivated to do that task or will eliminate it from your list and optimize your schedule. You will benefit either way.
5.Reward yourself for good time management
You managed to submit that assignment prior to the deadline, spent enough time with your family and did shopping? Congratulations then! How would you like to reward yourself? I often prefer chocolate, sleep, some funny book/movie or evening with friends and wine. I may promise myself that if I do “that” till “then” I can browse internet for the rest of the evening without feeling guilty. Whatever works for you, do not forget to reward yourself for having done a good job!