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10 Tips To Beat Procrastination

Procrastination can sometimes seem like a waste of time but it could also be your mind’s way of saying you need to take a break.  We can procrastinate to avoid the possibility of failure, to do favourable tasks before less pleasant tasks, and sometimes to lower anxiety.  But as with most things, too much procrastination can be unhealthy.  It can make you less productive and it may also hinder you from achieving your goals.

If you find yourself procrastinating more than taking action, maybe the following tips might help?

1. Keep a planner. Buy a daily planner so you can be guided by the things you need to accomplish for the day.  When you know what your priorities are, you will be more motivated to limit procrastination and tick things off your to-do list.

2. Get up earlier. By getting up earlier, you are more likely to finish your day earlier, especially if you work from home.  And even if you have a fixed 9-to-5 schedule, you can still benefit from being an early riser.  By getting up earlier than usual, you have time to reflect, make your to-do list and formulate better solutions to your life/work issues.

3. Exercise. Inactivity can make you feel drowsy, lack motivation and uninspired.  Physical activity can spark your creativity, making you feel energised and happier!  So when you find yourself straying from your task to surfing the internet, browsing your Facebook news feed or watching video clips, consider doing something active first.  Just 10 minutes of physical activity a day can power your body up and activate your creative mind.

4. Take some ‘me’ time. Following the same routine everyday can be stressful at times.  And when you are stressed, you are more likely to procrastinate.  To avoid this find a healthy outlet, something that you enjoy doing – baking, drawing, reading, taking photos, listening to music etc. Give yourself at least 30 minutes every day to do something you love.

5. Time yourself. Set a specific timeframe for each task, say 45 minutes and then you can rest for 10 mins in between.  This helps you avoid burnout, especially when you’re working on complex projects.

6. Be mindful. Be aware of your surroundings.  Be aware of how you feel.  When working, try hard not to let your mind wander from the present moment.  This way, you can exert all your brainpower to your work and you can ensure a good outcome in the shortest possible time.

7. Give time for quietness. Many of us are spending more and more time plugged into the digital world.  But it can be overwhelming and stressful too.  Set aside at least 15 minutes for mindfulness and quietness.  Still the mind.  Think of nobody, think of nothing.  Just focus on your breath.  You will be surprised how relieving this simple mental practise is.

8. Give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself.  As mentioned, procrastination is a warning sign that you may need to rest or slow down.  It’s okay to give into procrastination once in a while.  No matter how busy your schedule is, give yourself some time to relax.  You deserve it.

9. Work less. A common reason why we procrastinate, is that we overwhelm ourselves with so many tasks.    Learn how to prioritise. Identify which tasks are urgent and at the same time important (not just urgent or not just important).  Learn to delegate.  Distributing your workload properly will help you feel less stressed.

10. Just do it. When all else fails, just carry on.  Don’t get caught up in making excuses.  Just do what you’ve got to do.  That task no matter how difficult or overwhelming, will have an end.

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Image credit: Morning on Loch Rusky by John McSporran via Flickr