Raise your hand if you’re guilty of procrastination (me!!)
But for real, sometimes we find ourselves getting so overwhelmed with all that we have to do that we don’t know where to even start. Or maybe the task at hand is, frankly, so boring that we can’t focus for more than .3 seconds.
So the only solution to combat procrastination is to wait until the very last second and cram to get something done, right? Wrong!
As much as we all use excuses like “I work well under pressure,” or “I do my best work at 3:00 am,” these are just lies we tell ourselves to make procrastination okay.
Procrastination sets us up for some pretty unhealthy habits. It brings unneeded stress into our lives and messes up our schedules so that what we could have done weeks ago becomes first priority last minute.
We’re too young to be setting ourselves up for a lifetime of stress and staying up until 3:00 am to finish something. Those habits are literally taking years off our lives.
Since I started blogging, freelancing, and took on more commitments to my personal and professional life, it has become all too easy for me to procrastinate. I find that I procrastinated on literally the smallest task – like calling the organist for our wedding – and I created so much unnecessary stress about it that I started to panic. It isn’t a healthy way to live, and life isn’t going to get any less complex.
We all have a ton on our plate, and if we don’t start to organize ourselves and prepare ourselves to work now, we will only be setting ourselves up for failure. So here are 7 productivity hacks to combat procrastination.
Stop making enormous lists
If you’re like me and super type-A, you probably live on lists.
I mean, I have made a to-do list with the first item being “make a list.” It’s obsessive.
While lists are excellent to help organize your thoughts and know what you need to do, they often become entirely too overwhelming.
Instead of making one big list, I suggest splitting your life up into different to-do sections. For example, my current one includes things to do for my 9-5 job, household, personal, blog, freelance, and wedding sections. This helps me to focus on one thing at a time and I can clearly see what all I need to do.
I love this method because it has helped me to prioritize which aspect of my life is most important at that time. Am I behind on blogging? Do I need to focus on myself personally? What do I have left to accomplish for the wedding? It has helped my stress enormously.
Schedule out your week
Scheduling your week ahead of time helps you to prioritize and plan without being overwhelmed by so many things to do last minute.
If you are a couple, I have also found that scheduling out our week together and making to-do lists together helps to eliminate any communication issues or stressors. We both know what is coming up and what we need to get done. It has been extremely helpful in balancing everything in our lives!
Take a few minutes every Sunday to schedule out your week. You’ll be entering the week with success and it will help you to stay on task to prevent procrastination.
Remind yourself of your goals
Have visuals of your goals everywhere.
We procrastinate when we forget about our goals. When we remember our goals, that should light a fire within us to get stuff done.
Write down your goals and paste them everywhere that you commonly pass or work. Put them in your office, bedroom, kitchen.
If your goals aren’t enough to motivate you, maybe you should be reevaluating what you want to be doing. I know when I think about what I really want to accomplish, I quickly stop my Netflix binge and get working!
Give yourself a kick in the pants
There’s only so much external motivation you can do. Sometimes you gotta kick your own butt to stop procrastinating.
You are solely responsible for yourself. If you find yourself procrastinating, you are the only one to blame.
I am the first person to advocate adequate rest, but most of the times when we are procrastinating, we aren’t doing anything worthwhile at all. There is a difference between procrastinating and relaxing, so know how to tell the difference and how to stop procrastination when it is at its strongest.
Don’t give yourself too much time
Giving yourself too much time to complete a task only allows for procrastination.
The reason people *think* they accomplish something so much better last minute is because they have no choice but to work with a time limit.
Think of it like this. Say you have a task due in two weeks. If you give yourself two full weeks to do it, you’ll only end up procrastinating. But if you give yourself a new, shorter deadline, you’ll be sure to prioritize it enough to get it done.
Have a “power hour”
This is probably my favorite tactic to combat procrastination. When you find yourself procrastinating majorly, I do a power hour, in which I try to get every dreaded task done within an hour.
You can do anything for an hour. Commit to a focused hour of working on that paper, planning your wedding, or cleaning the house. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you are focused and trying to get things done quickly.
It’s always funny to see how quickly I can actually accomplish something when I want to! When I procrastinate, that task can take a week to finally finish. When I focus, I can accomplish it in an hour!
The key to a successful power hour is to remove all distractions. Turn off the TV, put your cell phone away, and block Facebook. Dedicate just one hour to the task at hand and you’ll surprise yourself at how easy it really was.
Get up and get active
When nothing seems to work, force yourself to get outside and get active.
Take a break to go for a walk, run, or go to the gym. You’ll increase your motivation and the endorphins will put you in a better, and more refreshed mood.
Procrastination doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t, be an acceptable way to accomplish the task at hand. All it does it prolong the amount of time it takes to complete something. The key to fighting procrastination is to identify your triggers and motivate yourself to focus.