“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today,” is an old adage that hits on the dreaded p-word. Procrastination is the little red devil that sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear that the dishes can wait, that the dog can walk himself, and that you will have plenty of time later to complete your report. If you are looking to overcome procrastination, try these simple steps.
Set goals: Sometimes all you need is a little motivation to get the productivity juices flowing. Take spring cleaning for example. No one wants to do spring cleaning (unless you’re Martha Stewart), but it is a necessary evil. In order to get yourself motivated, challenge yourself to devote an entire weekend to spring cleaning, so you won’t drag out the cleaning spree through the coming week. If you overcome procrastination and complete your task on time, give yourself a little reward.
Reward yourself: Encourage yourself to met your goals by giving yourself a little reward. If you have a report due for work or a paper due for school, treat yourself to a favorite meal, or a favorite dessert. Complete daily chores and reward yourself with a little TV time, or time spent cruising your favorite social networking site. If you are extra productive, and truly tell procrastination to stick it, maybe you could even make time for the ultimate reward – a nap.
Become a list maker: Write a to-do list to keep track of tasks that need to be completed. Chances are, once you begin making your list you will realize that procrastination has prevented you from accomplishing multiple things. You will be surprised at how gratifying it is to check items off on your list. Prioritize your list by completing time-sensitive tasks first. Stick to the order of your list. Bouncing around, and only accomplishing the easiest tasks is just another form of procrastination. How’s that for irony?
Divide and conquer: Once you make your to-do list, you can break down lengthier, more complicated tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, if you write down “complete research paper,” think about how you can divide that task further. Take that one, seemingly insurmountable task and break it down into sections like “brainstorm research topics,” or “write introduction to research paper”. Dividing lengthy projects into tasks that take less time will make your battle against procrastination that much easier.
Know your limits: While it is admirable to set high goals for yourself, and to try to achieve as much as possible, you must know your limits. If your eyes are crossing from starring at the computer screen, or your if your muscles ache from a lengthy workout, give yourself a break. To continue conquering procrastination keep your environment as pleasant as possible. If you dread the tasks ahead you are less likely to complete them, or less likely to tackle them again the next day.
Don’t let procrastination take control of your life. Conquer the p-word and that little voice in your ear by setting goals, rewarding yourself, becoming a list maker, dividing to conquer, and knowing your limits.