To procrastinate, or not to procrastinate — the question is how? We’ve all been there, struggling to get things done but to no avail; the deadline is looming but your work still won’t budge. You know you have to work and you feel guilty for not doing so. Yet, you simply don’t feel like doing anything; apart from checking your emails and social media, that is.
If this chronic procrastination sounds all too familiar, it’s time you took some action.
But how? It’s hard getting yourself to do anything when motivation is at an all-time low, right?
The short version: you need to break the cycle and take back control of your life.
The long version: check these five tips down below on how to combat procrastination, get yourself out of this quicksand, and boost your efficiency.
Stop Making Everything So Damn Perfect
Believe it or not — perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. Setting unbelievably high standards for everything you do will not only weigh you down but also cripple you into inaction. In turn, you won’t even have the courage to tie your own shoe-laces out of fear of failing.
Eliminate this unnecessary anxiety from your life and learn to settle for second-best.
Instead of overthinking and second-guessing your every decision just do it. Embrace that things won’t always turn out the way you planned; improvisation is your friend. Once you realize that the world keeps turning even after you’ve made a mistake, you’ll laugh at how persistently stubborn you were before.
Another thing you also need to understand is that your performance and your self-worth are not interlinked; people won’t think any less of you if you fail to achieve perfection. Frankly, nobody will care. Look at perfection more as a bonus that complements your accomplishments, not as a necessity.
Set Strict Deadlines
Not knowing where to start or what to do next can be a huge pain in the neck. This stalemate can often lead us to procrastinate even before we get down to business. Usually, this is manifested in the form of productive procrastination — it’s actually a thing — where we finally go on to clean the attic, check the oil in our cars, write a poem… you get the idea; we do everything but the task at hand.
One way of combating this issue is setting clear deadlines for yourself and organizing your tasks into one tough schedule; some people just work better under pressure. If you’re not that kind of person, consider dissolving your workload into bite-sized chunks. That way you won’t feel as overwhelmed and drown beneath a sea of chores.
Change Your Attitude
Usually, we don’t need anything to slow us down — we are our own worst enemy. We humans are capable of going from one extreme to another, turning a simple task into an enormous challenge all because of a failed mindset; it’s all in the attitude. You need to understand that failure is just part of the process (of learning). Getting triggered over something small can create a ripple effect, preventing you from accomplishing anything productive for the rest of the day. That’s why, sometimes, you just need to learn to let go. Rid yourself of those negative emotions, move on with your life, and focus on doing something productive instead. Still, if you persistently find yourself in these kinds of scenarios, consider hiring an experienced mindset coach to get your life back on track.
Enhance Your Environment
Your surroundings can have a profound impact on your productivity. A cluttered desk or a noisy room can severely hamper your ability to perform — hence why you need to revamp your work environment every now and then.
Start by removing any and all distractions that are getting in the way of accomplishing your goals. If you have any particular bookmarks that you like browsing (while you work), place them in a separate folder; out of sight out of mind. The same goes for your smartphone. If your bed feels too cosy, it probably is; get yourself a chair and sit straight.
Also, by adding a few plants and office decorations, you can effectively change the mood of the entire room, turning a ghastly office cubicle into an inspirational oasis.
Hang out with People That Inspire You
You’re not alone in this world — look for people that inspire you. Hanging out with people often influences our own behaviour. Surround yourself with highly motivated individuals and some of that enthusiasm will eventually ‘infect’ you as well.
Even if you’re not surrounded by family and friends at this very moment, you can still search for people that inspire you online. For instance, take a look at Richard Branson’s latest interview, or simply check out what Stephen King has to say on his Twitter account — follow the people that drive you forward; social media, in particular, is great for these kinds of things. Keep an eye out for blogs of inspirational people as well and read them as much as possible; especially so in times when you think you’ve hit a brick wall and there’s no way around it.
At the end of the day, it’s all in your head. Find the source of your problem. If it is fear and doubt that’s holding you back, look for ways to alleviate these anxieties. Just try not to overdo it.