Procrastination : Tips to Stop Delaying and Start Doing

Wed, 04 Nov 2020

At some point in our lives, there must be a time where we constantly delay in doing our responsibilities and try avoiding them – at certain times, it’s quite inevitable. Especially during quarantine, we might think we have all the time in the world to complete a task so we end up postponing them. Well, sometimes, we just can’t help dreading all those deadlines and just thinking of doing it makes us want to avoid doing it at all costs.


Don’t worry, we get it. We’ve been there, done that. For some of us, that might even be a part of our daily routine. It’s called procrastination. Let’s take a closer look at what it really means.


What is procrastination?


Procrastination is the term to describe an act of postponing or putting off tasks, assignments, or basically anything that needs to get done, until the last minute or even past the deadline. This slows down our progress and in some cases, it minimizes your capability to do the maximum at a task, especially those that are school or work related. 


Piers Steel, a business lecturer at the University of Calgary, stated in his research that, “80 to 95 percent of college students engage in procrastination, approximately 75 percent consider themselves procrastinators, and almost 50 percent procrastinate consistently and problematically.” A huge number, isn’t it? 


Well, if you consider yourself one of those many procrastinators, have you ever asked yourself why you procrastinate, or the reason to delay a certain task? 


Here are some possible reasons as to why one falls into the pit of procrastination.


Why do we even procrastinate?


  1. The most common one is the fear of failure. The thought of completing a difficult task and putting up with the stress you’re going to face while doing said task might drive you away from doing it immediately. 


  1. Let’s say you’re planning to learn a new language. You just thought of it, there is no exact goal, deadline, nor urgency. You know it will benefit you, but since it can wait, you procrastinate, when learning it as soon as possible can create beneficial outcomes.


  1. Binge-watching a TV show, absent-mindedly scrolling through your social media account, and also overthinking, are probable causes of distraction. These distractions put off your work and postpone them.


Tips on how to tackle procrastination


Have you figured out your own reason as to why you often procrastinate?


Although everyone has varied preferences and own ways to handle our procrastination habits, we are going to narrow down 5 tips that might help you to overcome it and start being productive!


1. Self-reward yourself for completing your tasks


We all need a motivation, or an incentive to begin doing our work. So, make a reward for yourself! Let’s say you’re dying to see that one Netflix series but you have tons of workload to do. Well, start early by breaking down the numerous work to manageable parts, and don’t pile up everything because it can get stressful. Try enjoying the process, and when you’re done, reward yourself by binge-watching your show all you like. Make it into a habit, and you’ll see some improvement in your time-management skills!


Constantly remind yourself of the consequences! For example, if you dare watch a series before you complete your work, you’ll struggle more since it’s a huge pile of work for a short deadline, and your result might not be as maximized as it would be if you break it down to smaller processes. Remember, your “reward” only comes if you complete your tasks, and it definitely can wait, but your tasks don’t!


2. The Pomodoro Technique


This time-management technique requires you to do your work with 25-minute intervals recorded using a timer to keep you focused. After 25 minutes have passed, help yourself with a 5-minute break, and if the task is not finished, continue the same cycle. You might find some distractions along the way in your first 25 minutes, so take it into account and figure out what might distract you, and try avoiding it on your next interval. 


This method helps to impose self-discipline, and you will have a boost of productivity during just 25 minutes!


3. Have long-term goals? Make deadlines for them!


This tip might help if you relate to reason #2 of procrastination mentioned previously. Aside from completing work and academics, you might have personal goals that do not exactly have a deadline. Whether it’s planning on learning a new language or creating a small business, those things don’t exactly have urgency. However, the key is to visualize things you can achieve if you were to pursue said goals! Again, it’s back to motivation. Think of what you can get if you start doing them!


As they are considered long-term goals, it’s up to you to figure out the deadlines. When you have free time and have nothing to do, think of “I could be developing my skills instead of casually laying around.” So, commit to your goals and start making a change! 


4. Organize a daily schedule and pick an appropriate time for each task


While some of you might be a more spontaneous individual rather than organized, creating a daily schedule is very helpful if you suffer from procrastination. Try to have a designated time for doing your tasks based on your personal preferences. For instance, if you’re one who focuses better at night, assign your task to your preferred time, though it’s better not on the night before the deadline. 


When you successfully follow your scheduled time for each of your activities, you will realize how much you can achieve with the given time, and having another task to do after your deadlines provide a sense of urgency that avoids you from procrastinating!


5. Set up a comfortable place to do your work


As we have different preferred places on which we could fully focus, decide a place that you surely would be comfortable in working for a long period of time. Be it your study desk, a local cafe, or a public library, you’re one who knows what’s best for you! Pick a spot that you could fully minimize possible distractions (e.g if you do work on your bed, you might easily fall asleep). Try putting away unnecessary things that might be a source of your distraction, such as phones, tablets, etc.  Determine your biggest source of distractions and work in a place where all those said distractions do not exist and eliminate the thought of it while doing your tasks. It’s one of the best ways to increase your productivity!


Procrastination is not something we could eliminate permanently from our lives, but it is something we’re capable of controlling, so try implementing these tips and see a gradual improvement on your procrastination habits!


Best of luck, Lingobuddies!





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