In this posts we share with you some tips to stop procrastinating.
First of all, PROCRASTINATING is to delay or postpone and action or a task. It’s normal if now that our daily routines have changed and we don’t have a fixed schedule you feel that avoiding procrastination is harder than ever.
👉 Tip nº 1: PLAN YOUR TASKS
The best tip to stop procrastinating is to ORGANIZE what you want to do.
✔ A good way to organized your tasks is by MAKING LISTS. Some electronic apps (like trello or ‘to do’) can help. You can have them on your computer and on your phone at the same time, and electronic format makes adding, erasing or changing your tasks really easy. Of course you can also use a paper agenda.
✔At the beginning of the week (or at the end of the week before) make a list with all of the tasks that you want to do during THIS WEEK.
✔EVERY MORNING choose the tasks that u are going to do that day. This way u don’t have to spend a lot of time planning every single day because you already did most of the work when you’ve created your weekly tasks list. But your plan is still flexible because u can adapt it throughout the week by choosing more or less tasks or deciding what you want to do each day, depending on your schedule and how you feel.
✔TICK OFF the tasks once you’ve done them!
👉 Tip nº 2: MAKE A REALISTIC PLAN
It’s very important that while you are doing your weekly plan you think about the next two questions and try to answer them realistically
1. WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
Establish what tasks are the most important ones and which ones need to be done in the first place or have a deadline. And then, which ones a less important, in other words, you want to complete them during the week but you can postpone then if needed.
Think about how you use your time and what your MAIN PRIORITIES are. You might think that e.g. eating fast food or skipping exercise to spend more time working is a good idea at first, but when we think about what your real priorities are, you may realise that if your main priority is your health, using your time like this cannot be a long term solution.
Having our main priorities on mind while we plan helps us to spend our time wisely using MORE TIME doing the things that are MORE IMPORTANT for us.
2. WHAT AM I REALLY ABLE TO DO?
If our plan is much more than what we are able to do it won’t be useful at all and we’ll end up feeling frustrated and demotivated. It’s better to plan fewer tasks, having on mind what we are able to achieve without suffering. Then, if when we finish what we have planned we still have energy and time, we can do extra tasks. Planning realistically helps us to use our time better and to achieve our daily goals. What has a significant effect in our motivation and make that we face our tasks with a positive attitude that helps us to be more productive and effective.
👉 Tip nº3: DO THE HARDEST TASK FIRST
If it’s possible do the hardest task first. At the beginning of the day we are more awake and we didn’t do anything else that has consumed our energy yet. Therefore, we will accomplish better this task that requires a higher effort.
Also, we will be more efficient and complete the task in a shorter space of time, what will increase the change of finishing the task without abandon it.
Doing the hardest task at the end of the day will make us think about it all day, wasting our mental energy and increasing the probability of not doing it. When we do the hardest thing first, we feel proud of ourselves because we had accomplished our goals what constitute a positive reinforcement that will increase our motivation throughout the rest of the day.
Then, we don’t have to think about it anymore and we will face the rest of our tasks with a more positive attitude knowing that what comes next will be easier and we can achieve it as well because we already did the most difficult thing.
👉 Tip 4: STAR A NEW HABIT AT A TIME
It’s normal that after procrastinating it for a long time when we finally decide to start planning our goals we ended up with a never-ending list. We are more likely to success if we start little by little trying to set up new habits or routines ONE BY ONE.
Our motivation will increase as we achieve our goals, what helps us to continue doing other things. Also, when we get used to a new habit it becomes easier, if we wait until that happens, we will be able to use this ‘extra effort’ (that we don’t need to use doing the first habit anymore) in starting something new that will make us more likely to success.
👉 Tip 5: SPLIT BIG TASKS
It’s much easier for us to complete something when we know that we will achieve our objective in a short period of time, than doing it when we know that we’ll have to invest a huge amount of time and effort to see any results.
In our lives we need to do long tasks very often, long-term goals (like studying a university degree) are a good example of it. When we start this kind of goals we know from the beginning that a one-time effort is not enough to complete them, that’s why these long-term tasks have a high dropout rate.
Knowing that small tasks are much easier for us, the best thing you can do to complete a long task is to TRANSFORM IT into a lot of SMALL TASKS.
Continuing with the studying example, instead of having the goal finishing my university degree (long-term goal) divide it into long tasks like “pass five subjects each trimester” and then slip those long tasks into SMALLER TASKS like ‘studying 3 chapters a week’. Keep dividing the tasks into DAILY GOALS like ‘studying 50 pages a day’ and even immediate goals like ‘studying 10 pages in the next hour’. When you focus in achieving smaller tasks you receive positive reinforcement faster and more often, that helps u to feel motivated and it increases your change to persist and reach your final goal.
👉 Tip 6: PLAN YOUR BREAKS
As important as planning our tasks is to plan time to REST. A lot of people believe that quantity and quality are the same, in other words, to boost our productivity the only thing we need to do is increasing the amount of time we dedicate to achieve a task but THAT IS NOT THE CASE.
Our attention is a limited resource, we have a LIMITED CAPACITY to stay focus and to perform at our best. Overloading ourselves with an amount of work that exceed our capacities won’t increase our performance but QUITE THE OPPOSITE. Planning having on mind the time we DO NEED to rest and recover is the best tool we have to improve our performance, plus it will protect us from stress, anxiety and health problems associated with them.