Procrastination is the enemy of productivity, and therefore it’s pretty much our own worst enemy (besides acne).
And like acne, it isn’t easy to defeat.
But why is this?
While acne is physical and requires changes to our diet to conquer, procrastination is psychological. Defeating it requires altering your mindset, which requires you to overcome certain mental obstacles.
As such, overcoming procrastination is NOT easy.
Fear not though, brave unproductive solider. Because the good news is that procrastination is not a god-like warrior who can never be defeated. All it takes is a few nifty life hacks and you’ve beaten it.
Changing your behaviour so that it becomes habit is key. Let us take a look at 10 life hacks and tips on how to overcome procrastination.
A common sales trick is to start the consumer off with something big, before dropping down to something smaller.
Why? There are many reasons. But one of the main reasons is because humans are much likelier to reject the big thing but warm towards the smaller thing. It’s called a concession. All of a sudden, that small thing looks really easy compared to that big fat thing we just turned down.
Likewise, one of the reasons we procrastinate is because we just don’t want to do that big thing we’ve been dreading. It’s just too BIG and it scares the heck out of us.
So why not start off with something small?
It’s all about making that all important start. And once you’ve made a start, you can build momentum until you come face to face with that massive thing you were putting off earlier. And now you’re ready for it!
Download An App
There are many productivity apps on the market in 2016 that can help you to overcome procrastination. You can use these apps to set timers and deadlines, and they encourage you to stay focused on the task at hand.
Look, everyone procrastinates. I procrastinated for two years before I finally sat down to write this article.
Okay, I’m kidding. But everyone procrastinates. Don’t kid yourself by saying that you will never ever procrastinate ever again gosh darn it if you read this article.
You will procrastinate again. It’s a given.
My advice, then, is that when you find yourself procrastinating to always procrastinate productively.
What I mean by this is that instead of watching cat videos on YT because you don’t wanna work, why not watch a motivational video instead? Watch something inspiring.
Instead of mindlessly flicking through your Facebook newsfeed, flick through a page of quotes instead.
Procrastinate in such a way that you’re firing up your mind and getting inspired to take action.
Implement The Ten-Minute Rule
Another good tip on how to overcome procrastination is to implement the ten minute rule. Beating procrastination requires you to take baby steps rather than giant leaps. Instead of telling yourself you’re gonna work for 5 hours straight, give yourself ten minutes to work on a task. Just ten minutes.
You won’t get a lot done, though. Right?
Wrong. You’ll be making a start – which is a massive step. And once you’ve made a start, you’ll be much more inclined to keep on going.
Beware The Excuses
Excuses are a killer – but we all love them!
Why do we love them so? Because they get us out of doing something we don’t want to do. Yay!
You need to be very mindful of your excuses. Here are some examples:
“I’m not in the mood.”
“The deadline isn’t for another 3 days. I’ll start tomorrow.”
“It’s getting late now.”
Excuses get you out of doing something, but they are not your friend. They punish you in the long run when time catches up on you and all of a sudden you’ve got 3 minutes to finish a 5,000 word essay OMG.
Procrastination feeds off distractions. While it’s less easy to eliminate a wandering mind, it’s easy to eliminate the tangible distractions, such as social media.
If you don’t need your phone by your side, move it to another room. Get away from the television. Unplug the router if possible.
Recognise The Value Of A Task
One of the reason we keep putting off certain tasks is because we ask the question “what’s in it for me?” and are not satisfied by the answer.
Basically, if completing a task offers us little-to-no value, we’re not going to spend much time getting started on it.
In a nice twist, you should start to recognise the true value of a task. Cleaning doesn’t really add any value to your life? Oh, really? How about the space it creates?
Working on your essay today won’t add any value to your day? What about the knowledge you will gain from it, as well as the time you will free up when it’s finished? How about the great grade you will get by giving yourself as much time as possible to work on the essay?
Don’t Aim For Perfection
If you’re scared of failing at something, don’t be. You don’t need to aim for perfection. Another tip on how to overcome procrastination is to stop your all-or-nothing approach, and remember that any action is better than no action at all.
Write Down“I’m Gonna Do This”
Human beings love to be consistent. We hate being inconsistent. Inconsistency leads to an erratic, chaotic life. Consistency, meanwhile, keeps us trucking on the straight road. It’s nice to be consistent.
In this desire to be consistent, we have a tendency to follow through on something we have said. Why? Because we want to be consistent! Our words turn into our values – and we want to live up to those values.
For example, if you tell a friend you “owe them a favour” you might have said it loosely at the time. But this feeling of debt hangs over you so much that you’re ready and willing to do them a favour whenever they ask for it – because you want to be consistent. Had you not said you owe them a favour, you’d be less likely to respond positively if they asked for help.
This psychological weapon works effectively when it comes to procrastination. By writing down you will do such-and-such a thing, you are more likely to do it than if you hadn’t written it down. Why? Because you want to be consistent! It’s simple, but so effective. Try it.
Don’t Feel Like A Victim
A lot of us act like spoiled teenagers when it comes to starting on a task. We have the mindset that we’re not choosing to do something – we’re being told to do it. And so we put it off because we would rather do something that we have chosen to do.
Another good tip on how to overcome procrastination is to change your mindset. Stop feeling manipulated. You don’t have to do this – you want to do this. Why? Because doing so will add value to your life.
How to overcome procrastination? What are your best tips?