If you want to stop procrastinating and be productive, the first is to stop overthinking and recollect your thoughts. You cannot move ahead if you are stuck in the loop of futile thoughts.
Procrastination is the real enemy of productivity. You can have an entire work list in your hand but the first step itself feels like a giant mountain sometimes. And to overcome it is a task within itself.
Procrastination and productivity don’t go hand in hand. The thoughts of doing the task and laying it off over and over again can hold you back for a long time. Some people wait up until they have their deadlines approaching to complete the task. The reason is not even laziness sometimes. It’s just how they work. This is what feels normal to them, which is not how it should be.
So, the big question is – How do you do it? What do you do to stop procrastinating and be productive? What do you do to end your phase of procrastination and get into action?
How to stop procrastinating and be productive? 17 Steps to help you today
How many of you are guilty of doing this? You take a break for 5 minutes, check your phone, and before you know 90 minutes have gone away. And just like the entire day passes without doing any notable work. I know I have been guilty of doing it.
Many of us usually confuse procrastination with being lazy. But, the truth is both are very different. To stop procrastinating and be productive is a matter of choice. Procrastination is an inherent choice you make for yourself and so is taking action and being productive.
But the big question remains: What do you do to overcome procrastination? How can you stop procrastination and be productive? Let’s get into it.
How to stop procrastination?
As I said, procrastination is a choice. You choose to do tasks that will waste your time instead of doing the task that will make a difference. You choose to indulge in time wasters instead of indulging in work that moves the needle for you to reach your life goals. Mostly procrastination includes delaying tasks that are important but boring. And we are all guilty of doing this.
The solution to stop procrastinating and be can be different depending on what stage of life you are in. Thus, today I’m sharing some ways that have helped me over time in my 25 years of existence.
I know I am nowhere near to being the perfect procrastination solver. But, these are the tips that have worked for me time and again. And I hope they also help you to stop procrastinating and be productive with simple everyday efforts and life changes.
How can students overcome procrastination?
Student life is commonly filled with a lot of challenges and procrastination is one of the strongest of them all. From school to college, as you evolve so do your ways of coping with life. While a disciplined environment can help you to stay on track, the present education culture of online learning can easily get you off track sometimes. It has its perks but you cannot ignore that it is one of the reasons for our ever-decreasing attention span.
Thus, here are 5 simple ways for students to stop procrastinating and be more productive with their homework and studies:
1. Break down your bigger tasks
Most students procrastinate because they are afraid of the amount of work they have to do. The ‘how’ worries them so much that they step away from beginning the work. It can seem like a lot to study multiple subjects at once. One solution to this problem is to break down your bigger tasks into smaller achievable tasks. Take it one task at a time.
2. Schedule periods
As you handle the small tasks, make sure you set aside dedicated time for them. If you are one of those students who feel they never have enough time for their work, this can work great for you. Instead of stressing over having less time, have a daily schedule with dedicated tasks for each period. Set blocks of time as you work on one task.
3. Get rid of distractions
Before you get started on your work, make sure you are rid of all the distractions. There are many distractions around you. No, I am not just referring to your gadgets and devices but also to the people around you. Thus, before you get into the flow of work keep your gadgets away in a different room and sit alone to work.
4. Schedule reminders
This one is a game changer. There are days when you might have to do important tasks among all the havoc. This is where my scheduling reminders come to the rescue. If you have an important task due next week or month, don’t wait to approach the deadline. You must have it scheduled prior so that you can focus on it without rushing it.
5. Get enough sleep
If you are sincere to stop procrastinating and be more productive, you cannot rely on action alone. Rest is equally important. Getting enough sleep of 8 hours is significant to get over constant fatigue and concentrate on studies. Low quality sleep means low focus, low motivation, and low understanding power. Thus, stick to a sleeping routine.
How do I overcome procrastination at work?
If you are a working professional, your problems of procrastination go a step ahead of students. As working individuals, you have a lot on your plate. And with your boss hovering over your head, productivity might not find its way to you easily. Thus, here are 5 simple and doable ways for you to stop procrastinating and be productive in your everyday life at work:
1. Promise yourself a reward
Yes, we are working professionals but that doesn’t take us away from our basic human nature. Rewards, whether big or small, will always make us happy. So, if you are having a hard time getting the job done, approach it like a child. Promise yourself a not-so-regular reward before you sit down to work the next time. In the end, we’re all just little kids in adult bodies.
2. Rephrase your self talk
What you say to yourself will always have a bigger and deeper impact on you. Even when you are speaking about others, your subconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between who you are talking about. So refrain from getting involved in negative self-talk. Talk about yourself positively. Describe yourself with words of positive connotation.
3. Do the big tasks first
Some call it “eat the frog”, and some call it “eat the elephant”. Well, I’ll leave the choice of animal to you. It implies completing the major tasks as you sit to work. Completing bigger (or boring) tasks first thing in your day sets them aside for you to have an easy and fun work day. It doesn’t have to be so complicated always. Simplify things for yourself, as much as you can.
4. Find your most productive hours
Science relates your sleep chronotype with your productivity hours. Your sleeping schedule plays a crucial role in determining your productivity hours. Some of you might prefer working in the late mornings, some might have shocking productivity in the evening. The key is to find what works for you and use it to your advantage. You can read more on it here.
5. Give yourself the deadline
This is the tactic that has done wonders for me ever since I started working. I don’t wait for other people to give me any deadlines. I decide my deadlines according to my schedule and I set them earlier than the expected date. This keeps me on track with my schedule and helps me to check off my to-do list without any burnout.
How do I stop procrastination and distractions?
As freelancers and remote workers, the easiest thing to do is procrastinate. I must confess that I’m writing this blog after delaying it for as long as two weeks. And now that I have decided, I have already written 800 words in an hour, which isn’t bad at all. So, here are some ways in which I stop procrastinating and be productive without hampering my growth:
1. Don’t wait for the right time, just start
As I said, I am writing this blog after two weeks of procrastination. I had a previous blog written on a similar topic. I wanted to improve this time. But, I kept wondering what new can I add to the perspective and two weeks went by. I had a structure in my mind so today I just sat down and wrote until I got the flow. And that is how it works most of the time. You don’t do it because you wait for the right time. But in reality, the only right time is now. So, stop overthinking and just start.
2. Ditch perfection
You would have understood by now, that I am a recovering perfectionist. I am the person who spent 4 years thinking I wasn’t ready to be a writer before I began. Don’t be a fool like me. Ditch perfection today and begin with your messy action. It’s the rocky and bumpy roads in the beginning that lead to beautiful journeys later. And my freelancing journey has been very surprising yet fulfilling at the same time. Remember, progress over perfection always.
3. Have a clear vision
Whether it’s a long-term goal or a small task, you must have an intent for it. Your vision for the task will decide the process and the outcome for it. So now that you have taken your messy action, hold onto the vision as you slide along the process. Because self-doubt is inevitable but so should be your self-belief to get the job done.
4. Plan your day ahead
It’s been two years and I haven’t gone to bed without having a list of things to do the next day. When you plan your day you set yourself up for the tasks. Only making a list isn’t what gets the work done. It’s the action that matters. But, a plan gives you an understanding of the flow of your day and prepares you for it.
5. Have an accountability partner
This could be anybody. Your mom, your dad, your sibling, your partner, a best friend, anybody. Your biggest accountability partner is the one person who pushes you to do the best in life. They help you to look at yourself beyond self-doubt and reinstate your self-belief in yourself. They remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing.
How do you manage your time and avoid procrastination?
While time management and productivity have a close-knit relationship, procrastination is a hindrance between them. Once you’ve wasted a lot of time overthinking, it can become difficult to stop procrastinating and be productive. Thus, here are two important ways for you to manage your time efficiently and overcome procrastination:
If you are trying to make improvements in any area of your life, it starts with self-reflection. Here as we are talking about time management, you must sit with yourself and analyze where you are wasting your time in the present.
Two of the most common time wasters and procrastination fuelers are mindless scrolling on social media and watching television at odd hours. The only way to fix them is to remove them from your vision while you sit to work. This is what I do.
You could have different sources based on your self-reflection and handle them in your way. But, if you want to learn some effective time management tips to accelerate your productivity, you can read them here.
2. Use the Urgent/Important principle
I read this in a book and it has kept me going so far. The trick is simple: prioritize your tasks. When you are planning your next day, have 3 tasks prioritized for the day. Use the urgent/important principle to understand it better.
I wrote a complete blog explaining this time management method. You can read it here.
BONUS TIP TO STOP PROCRASTINATING AND BE PRODUCTIVE TODAY
This tip comes from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. If you can complete the task in 2 minutes or less, do it then and there. Don’t delay it. The purpose of this practice is to stop procrastinating and be productive by taking immediate action. This boosts your motivation and builds momentum. It helps you to clear your mind and instills self-confidence.
Procrastination is nothing but you holding yourself back and giving excuses that aren’t even fit for reality.
Control the negativity inside your head. Begin to believe in your dreams and work towards building a healthy relationship for yourself.
It can be difficult to stop procrastinating and be productive but it’s not impossible. All it takes is small steps and actions to take you closer to your goals.
I hope these practical tips will help you to get out of your shell and do what’s required.
I shall see you soon with the next blog soon.
Until then, don’t forget to share your favorite tip from the list or anything that you’d want to add to the discussion.