How to Crush Procrastination: 10 Tips That Work
Time is running out, we don’t have control over it and we don’t even know how much we have left on earth. Time is so expensive; no one can afford to buy a second when death knocks or keep a minute in a vault to be used later. In our lazy shrines, we sacrifice time on the altar of excuses and find ways to convince ourselves that the best time to complete a task is tomorrow. Sadly, we never get it done until six weeks later.
According to psychologists, there are two classes of procrastinators: chronic procrastinators and situational procrastinators. For the chronic procrastinators, procrastination is a daily habit that has made them artists in the gallery of incomplete projects. They can hardly finish a task without either getting distracted or finding an excuse. Procrastination pops up occasionally in the schedule of situational procrastinators because of various reasons – tough projects, ambiguous tasks, unrealistic deadlines and many more.
Procrastination is a popular enemy of highly creative people especially writers and artists. Before the famous French poet and novelist Victor Hugo could craft epic novels like Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, he devised a plan: instructed his servant to strip him naked in his study and not return his clothes until an agreed time. It was reported that American author Herman Melville asked his wife to chain him to his desk while procrastinating the completion of his remarkable novel, Moby-Dick.
Unfortunately, Leonardo da Vinci did not tow the path of Hugo and Melvile, he failed to fight his procrastination. The legendary artist of Italian origin, Leonardo da Vinci, despite his amazing talents, he had a string of unfinished projects because of procrastination. It took him 16 years to complete his most celebrated work, the Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda).
Procrastination steals more than your time, it kills your productivity and litters your desk with a catalog of unfinished projects. It’s that time of the year when timely completion of your projects is pivotal to your success.
Here are 10 possible ways that can be employed in tackling procrastination:
The Top 10 Tips That Work
1. Create a Plan
Don’t leave your projects hanging on the to-do list without a detailed plan. For the successful completion of each project, you need a plan which highlights the timeline of the project from start to finish. Projects without concrete plans are often pushed off to a later date that never shows up.
2. Break it down
Have you noticed that tasks with ambiguous titles are often pushed to the bottom of your to-do list? If you have a task like writing a book, it’s advisable to break it down into bits that can be processed easily. For instance, writing a book can have the following sub-tasks: Outline creation, creation of chapters, write the book with one chapter at a time, decide on a topic, editing, gathering of blurbs, choose a cover design and publishing.
3. Be realistic
When setting deadlines for your tasks, avoid unrealistic timelines. Set your deadlines based on the volume of work at hand and your capacity. For example, if you are giving a client the delivery date for the completion of a website design project, you need to consider the size of the website and the number of ongoing projects you currently have on your list.
4. Establish your priorities
Getting your priorities right is a catalyst that accelerates the completion of your projects. Having a list of priorities serves as a guide in choosing what next to do when you feel overwhelmed with numerous tasks.
5. Manage your time
Crushing procrastination boils down to how well you manage your time. Are you using your time productively? Not all “busy” people are productive. Do you have a detailed plan that shows how you want to spend your day based on an hourly schedule? A schedule will ensure you do the right task at the right time. Improper management of your time will lead to a backlog of incomplete tasks and hence procrastination.
“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin
6. Minimize distractions
Wasting of time usually emanates from our inability to starve our distractions. In this age where we treat our phones like babies in need of food and attention. Every ping from notifications controls more than the motion of your fingers but also the direction of your head. There is an increase in the demand for your attention and the ongoing competition for your focus never seems to wane. To crush procrastination, you must deal with your distractions before they deal with you.
7. Harness the power of positive thinking
Have you set out time to think about how fulfilled you will be when you eventually complete your unfinished projects? Make out time and write all the positive things that will happen to you when you stop procrastinating. Make a list of all the things that will be in perfect shape when you act instead of staying idle. To set you on your feet, you can check the flip side of the coin – look at the negative things that may happen if you don’t stop procrastinating today. You will be amazed.
8. Avoid perfectionism
A huge chunk of perfectionists are victims of procrastination. A lot of books are still sitting on dusty shelves because the writers felt they are not fit to grace the glare of the public. Even though they have spent hundreds of hours editing and reviewing the book, the perfectionist syndrome will not allow them to publish it. Give your best when executing a project and do quality work but don’t be entrapped by perfectionism.
9. Get an accountability partner
In today’s world where freedom is often misinterpreted, getting an accountability partner may sound odd. I quite understand the craze for self-sufficiency but having an accountability partner on very key projects in your life can be very helpful. Projects like writing a book, creating a podcast, writing an essay, running a blog and many more. An accountability partner will be someone that can check on you at any time to ask about your progress. You must be open and very comfortable with this person; it works like magic.
10. Reward yourself
Whenever you complete a task, you can reward yourself with an activity for relaxation or a break. A Pomodoro Timer works based on this principle: get a break of five minutes after working for 25 minutes. In a broader sense, you can say, “I won’t go to the movies to watch Black Panther until I am done with writing the term paper for BIO 112.” In other words, watching the movie is the reward for finishing your term paper on time.
In conclusion, I hope this helps you to crush procrastination and say goodbye to writing essays when it’s two days to submission day. I equally struggled with procrastination and have tried all the methods mentioned above on different occasions, they really worked.
If you have any other tips for crushing procrastination that I omitted in my article, please feel free to drop them in the comments section.
Also published on Medium.