Have you noticed that you have not been finishing most of your tasks on time? Have you just been laying in bed, scrolling your phone, or doing other things instead of the ones that are actually on your to-do list? If so, you could be in a state of procrastination.
To put it simply, procrastination is the state of delaying or avoiding doing things for a much later date. This is your leading culprit for your lack of initiative to take action. This means that you love the terms “I will do that later” or “I still have a lot of time.
This will result in doing less productive stuff and more things that will probably waste your time and won’t make you feel good at the end of the day.
Why do I procrastinate so much?
It’s pretty common for us humans to procrastinate once in a while. But before you go too hard on yourself, it is still important to know what causes procrastination so you will know how and when to prevent it from happening.
Fear and Anxiety
More often than not, the cause of our procrastination is in our mindset. For example, procrastination usually starts when you are too scared to start a task because of fear of failure in the end. It can also be because you think that other people can do better at that task than you. You always overthink before you even start doing something, and that will demotivate you to continuously postpone your tasks.
Exhaustion (Mental and Physical)
Even if you are a super productive person, procrastination will strike you from time to time especially if you have so many tasks at hand. And because of the fact that you are overwhelmed by the number of tasks you have to do, you may actually start to lose motivation to do anything at all.
If you do not practice taking a break after completing a long, demanding task, then you will be both mentally and physically exhausted to continue with your work.
Too Many Temptations
Procrastination starts when you decide to do something else instead of doing the more important task you have at hand. This means that instead of doing that project or report, you get tempted to grab your phone and scroll through social media. Instead of writing that blog post you have to do, you instead go to other websites that are not related to your work at all.
What are the effects of procrastination?
If you think that the effect of procrastinating is only the failure to finish a specific task, then you are wrong because it can become more than that especially if you continuously procrastinate everything.
Here are some of the effects that you will encounter if you can’t stop yourself from procrastinating too much:
When you keep delaying tasks and important events in your life, you are basically closing more doors for you or for your business to grow. In turn, your career will be at risk. In the worst-case scenario, you might even become jobless at the end because you can’t finish a single task or reach your goals. Just remember this, when a new opportunity is right in front of you, you need to grab it immediately before it slips away.
Stopping personal growth
If you keep procrastinating and thinking about how you are not fit for that task or you think you are not good enough for it, then it will greatly affect how you see yourself. Your self-esteem will decrease even more and you won’t have any room to grow. You won’t be able to learn new things along the way because you haven’t even started anything yet.
Aside from this, procrastinating makes your attention span shorter because you can’t focus on one thing at a time.
Let’s say your boss is asking you to do this certain task and finish it at a specific time. But since you keep on procrastinating and putting it off, you weren’t able to finish it. Or, if you were able to finish it, the result was not good because you did it in a rush at the last minute. In your boss’ eyes, you will already be seen as lazy or incompetent which is not good for your reputation in the workplace, is it not?
Procrastinating too much can make you seem trustworthy in other people’s eyes because they already know that you won’t be able to do a good job.
What are the 5 steps to stop procrastinating?
So now that you know why you procrastinate and the risks that come with it, I am now going to introduce you to effective ways how you can prevent this.
1. Make a list and set reminders
A good and simple step to stop yourself from procrastinating is by making to-do lists and setting reminders or alarms. First, you need to break your larger tasks into smaller, specific steps so you will not be overwhelmed at first glance.
You also have to know which tasks are more important and needed to be done quickly so you can start with them first. Just keep in mind that you do not have to do everything all at once.
2. Change your environment
If you have too many things in your room that are distracting, go out. One of the reasons why we procrastinate so much is that our cellphones are just within our reach or our bed is just behind us. You can go work at your nearest coffee shop or outside your house. If you prefer to stay at home, you can turn off your phone, unplug your television, or listen to some music while working so you will remain focused while doing your tasks.
3. Ask for help
If you feel like tasks are starting to pile up and there’s too much for you to handle, then there is nothing wrong with asking for help or advice. You can start with getting a motivation buddy. You can meet at a certain time at a certain place and just be together while working. In this way, you will be able to motivate each other because you can see the other person being productive. You can also ask someone to check in on you once in a while and help you hold yourself accountable. A simple “have you finished your task yet?” could greatly help.
4. Reward yourself
After successfully finishing a task, it is completely okay to take a short break. Go make your coffee, walk outside your house a bit, or even take a quick nap. Do not overwhelm yourself too much because you will immediately get mentally tired and you won’t be able to do your next tasks anymore.
You can also reward yourself by eating your favorite food, taking a few minutes to read your favorite book, or browsing the internet. Have yourself look forward to something after you finish each task.
5. Make it a habit
Now all you have to do is to repeat each step all over again. When you do something each day, it will easily become a habit and become part of your lifestyle. So, if you have a habit of procrastinating, then it is time to replace it with the habit of being productive. It really is not that hard once you get the momentum of how to do things.
Procrastination can limit your potential and put your career at risk. It can also cause problems with teamwork, lower morale, and even lead to depression and further anxiety. I hope that these 5 simple ways I gave to stop procrastinating can help you focus more and boost your productivity.