You have an important assignment and the deadline is sufficiently a few days away. You badly want to get started on it but keep putting it off for less significant pastimes. You keep doing this until the deadline draws dangerously close. It is then that you rush and end up doing a shoddy job, or worse, failing to beat the deadline altogether.
We have all been here and you may be surprised to find out that procrastination is more common than you may think. Psychologists have attributed it to various factors including fear of failure, lack of focus, distractions and lack of motivation. So what are some strategies one can employ to beat procrastination? Here are proven ones.
Break Down Tasks
The urge to put off tasks is especially strong when they are big. In this case, break down the task into smaller segments that you can complete in periods. For instance, you can divide the task into five or six segments so each day you will be tackling a different task.
Start with Simpler Parts
Once you break the task into segments, you will need to place the easier parts first. Starting with the easier part of the task will give you the momentum you need to breeze through the rest of the project. This is partly due to a condition psychologists refer to as the Zeigarnik effect; which provides that unfinished tasks are more likely to get stuck in memory.
Everyone loves it when their efforts are recognized with an award, so why not do it to yourself? Promise and do give yourself an award for each task you complete satisfactorily in time. Promise to buy yourself a coffee, or anything that pleases you. You will be surprised how much you will trick your mind into being more productive.
Distractions are the main fuel to procrastination. You have settled in your workstation nice and easy, ready to conquer the world. Your phone buzzes with a Facebook notification of an interesting conversation you were having with friends. An hour later you are still chuckling to yourself as the tasks lies on your desk, untouched.
You have to force yourself to clear distractions from your environment if you are to do any meaningful work. It can be your phone, a TV across the room or a chatty friend. Whatever it is, move it away, if you cannot move it away, move to a quiet and less distracting location.
Take Short Breaks
Our brains go through peaks of performance and valleys of fatigue. Taking short breaks allows you to relax and re-energize yourself during the “valleys” in order to ensure optimal performance during the “peaks.” Where possible, take power naps of 10 to 30 minutes to give yourself a quick energy boost.