6 Tips To Help You Stop Procrastinating

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Don’t Put It Off Any Longer – How to Overcome Procrastination and Get Things Done

BY DR EMMA BOLES

Do you waste time procrastinating?

Do you waste time procrastinating?

If you regularly rush to finish things at the last minute or never seem to get to the items on your to-do list, you’re probably a procrastinator.

Procrastination is a bit of a paradox. We make excuses to justify our desire to put off tasks for another day, usually because we’re too overwhelmed or stressed to face the task head on. But while delaying tasks helps us to feel momentarily relieved, in the long term – when we’re rushing to meet deadlines and coming to the dreaded realisation that we’ve run out of time…. yet again, we end up feeling more stressed, anxious and guilty than we did in the first place.

So how do you break the procrastination cycle? Here are some tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Prioritise

Create a list that prioritises tasks that are the most urgent or important, or that have to be completed that day. Also try to start with tasks that are easy to complete or simple so that you feel a sense of achievement straight away.

Tip #2: Set Yourself Up To Succeed

Avoid working in front of the TV or in a noisy area – the fewer distractions the better. Create an organised workplace, and make sure you have everything you need before you sit down to start – you’re more likely to achieve your goal if you eliminate excuses to leave your workspace.

Tip #3: Set Realistic + Reasonable Goals

Estimate the time that each task will take, and create a plan of tasks for the time you have available. If after you’ve started you realise that you have under- or over-estimated how long a task will take, adjust your estimates for future tasks to avoid feeling frustrated that you can’t keep up with your plan.

If a task feels impossible, break it down into smaller, manageable steps. If a task is so large that you feel you will never complete it, set yourself time goals – for example, working on the task for 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours then having a break.

Tip #4: Plan Ahead

Use a diary or a weekly desk planner to spread out tasks over the week. You can also break down larger tasks by planning to complete one small part each day of the week. Using a planner will help you realise how much time you actually have to complete the task, so that you don’t get caught thinking you’ll have plenty of time later to get it done.

Tip #5: Plan Rewards + Breaks

Instead of using enjoyable activities to procrastinate, plan to use enjoyable activities as rewards for getting things done. For example, rather than watching your favourite TV show instead of working on your presentation for Monday, plan to watch your TV show once you’ve completed a section of the presentation. Regular rewards and breaks will help motivate you to keep going.

Tip #6: Seek Help

If procrastination continues to be a significant problem for you, or is interfering with your effectiveness at work or school, you might benefit from seeing a Clinical Psychologist to work on strategies to overcome your procrastination.

Dr. Emma Boles is a Clinical Psychologist who enjoys working with children, young people, families, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem, perfectionism, and other life issues.


 

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