Instead of working on your chores and meeting your deadlines, do you waste time on other activities and avoid your assigned tasks? If so, you’re not alone! Scientists have found that procrastination is a common issue for many people, both at work and at home.
However, you can prevent procrastination and the inevitable stress that comes from not getting your tasks completed on time.
Use these techniques to get your procrastination under control:
1. Understand procrastination. Why do you leave important things for the last minute and waste time on other activities?
• Scientists have been studying the brain and feelings to understand procrastination. A study, titled “Overcoming procrastination,” looked at why people put things aside despite knowing their importance.
• Researchers believe self-esteem and world views can affect procrastination. People who have low self-esteem and negative views of the world around them are more likely to avoid doing important things on time. They’re more likely to see no point in completing the tasks.
• However, procrastination can also be a simple bad habit.
2. Break up the work into smaller bits. Can your assignments or chores be cut up into smaller pieces?
• One reason for procrastination is that large assignments or chores can seem overwhelming and too difficult to finish. If you break up things into smaller chunks, then each piece can be accomplished easier.
• Making timelines and schedules for each part of the project can also help you stay on track.
3. Recognize your procrastination activities. Do you play games instead of working on your project? Are you checking social media instead of finishing a report? Track and analyze your activities.
• What do you do while you procrastinate? If you examine these activities and thoughts, you can catch them before they happen.
• Social media, games, and Smartphone messages are distractions. Emails and phone calls can also be an issue. Do you see how much time you waste on these activities instead of completing the actual task?
• You can eliminate the distractions and activities that keep you from finishing your work. Stop checking your phone and social media while you’re working on a task. Avoid playing the games until you’re done with your chore.
4. Get others involved. You may need to involve friends, coworkers, of family to help you. They can help you set goals, watch you, and stop you from procrastinating.
• If you have a friend or coworker who is also trying to accomplish an important goal, then working together can make the process easier. You can inspire each other to stay focused and finish.
5. Stop the excuses. Do you find yourself making multiple excuses for not finishing a project? Do you blame your health or the health of others? Do you complain about the amount of work or lack of instructions? Excuses can derail your efforts and lead to procrastination.
• Common excuses also include thinking that you can finish it faster if you are on a tight deadline or blaming your mood for not doing it. Another common excuse is waiting for the time to be right or just perfect. These excuses are unhealthy and waste your energy.
• Instead of coming up with reasons not to complete an assignment, focus on finishing it.
Procrastination doesn’t have to be a permanent habit in your life. You can avoid it and prevent it by following simple tips from scientists.