“Just 5 more minutes and I’ll get back to work.”
How many times do you tell yourself this exact statement every day? If you answered multiple times, you are definitely not alone. Millions of people the world over procrastinate to some degree. It’s just that some are chronic procrastinators. Their careers and personal lives get negatively affected because they keep putting off important tasks.
Procrastination can compromise your health as well. Cramming for an exam or rushing to meet the project deadline often means not getting enough sleep. So how can you be more productive? Follow these tips for overcoming procrastination.
1. Admit that you’re a procrastinator
Recognizing the problem is an important step toward preparing you for the necessary changes to beat procrastination. If you find yourself consistently putting off important tasks for ones that you find more enjoyable, then you definitely have a problem.
2. Learn how to prioritize
Do you have a lengthy to-do list? If so, it’s often tempting to start with the ones that are easiest to accomplish. But tackling the hardest tasks first might prove to be more effective. This is because you usually have the most energy in the morning. If you feel like you’re at your best late in the afternoon, then feel free to adjust priorities. This involves trial and error, but knowing when you are at your most efficient can make a wealth of difference.
3. Block distractions
Distractions—both online and offline—can take away a significant chunk of your time. Fortunately, there are plenty of web browser add-ons that help eliminate distractions. These work by restricting your access to certain sites such as social media sites, forums and video streaming platforms. If you have a little technical knowhow, you can also access your computer’s hosts file to block your most accessed websites. While you’re at it, put your cellphone in silent mode while working or better yet, place it in another room so you won’t get tempted checking it over and over.
4. Take frequent breaks
Working for several hours can be taxing on anyone. It’s a good idea to break down your tasks into smaller ones, allowing you to take frequent breaks. The Pomodoro technique is something you might want to consider. This involves working for 25 minutes, followed by a rest period of 5 minutes. Do this repeatedly until you complete your 8-hour workday. Feel free to adjust your working sessions from 25 minutes to an hour or so if you find it more effective.
5. Reward yourself
Give yourself something to look forward to after finishing your tasks. For instance, you can tell yourself that you’ll grab your favorite ice cream once you tick off every item on your to-do list. This can serve as your motivation to get moving and make the most out of your time.
Overcoming procrastination can be challenging. But with the right frame of mind, you can surely beat it and become more efficient at managing your time. Now, the only thing left to do is to stop reading and get back to work!