Procrastinating is one of the most common time management problems.
It has a bad reputation, but in reality, it’s not all that bad. Procrastination can be used to your advantage if you know how to use it. If you want to learn how to take control of your life and get things done on time, then this article will teach you some great strategies for doing just that!
Common Reasons We Procrastinate
The first step is figuring out what causes procrastinating in the first place. That way, we can find ways to stop them from happening again and have more success with our goals! Here are three common reasons people put off tasks:
Prioritizing less important work
This happens when someone puts off an urgent task by working on a less urgent one. Instead of doing the job they need to get done, they choose to do other equally important things but not as pressing at the moment.
Procrastinating due to emotions
This is when people put off working on something because they’re feeling some way about it; it can be felt like excitement, anxiety, happiness, anger, or irritation that cause someone to avoid getting stuff done.
Plus, a lot of people procrastinate by worrying too much about the future.
Lack of motivation
This happens when you have no desire whatsoever to spend time doing what needs to get done. You don’t want anything to do with what needs your attention and will only feel like working when you feel like it… Sound familiar? We’ve all been there at some point! If any of these reasons seem like they apply to you, then keep reading. I’ll tell you how to deal with each type of procrastinator and give some tips and tricks on beating them!
This is the person who gets a lot done but ends up rushing at the last minute or “pulling an all-nighter” to get everything finished before their deadline. They’re great at making deadlines because they usually know how long it takes them for certain things. If this sounds like you, then great job! It would be best if you learned when not to pull your all-nighter so that you can have enough time between tasks to do everything properly without having a mental breakdown or being super stressed out.
Tips to Stop Procrastinating
1. Start by identifying the thoughts and behaviors that are causing you to procrastinate.
2. Figure out if your belief about what you’re doing is rational or irrational by testing it against evidence.
3. Come up with a more rational belief that will replace your current view, then write this new belief down in your journal.
4. Write the consequences of both your original action and inaction to help yourself choose between them.
How to Stop Putting things off
Some good ways to stop yourself from putting a lot of things off and trying to take care of them at the last minute is simply by adding extra time into your schedule between projects. Even if you feel like you’ll be able to do everything correctly, it’s best just in case something goes wrong, or you need more time for whatever reason. Try setting aside some extra time apart from other tasks so that way when you’re feeling the urge to rush through your work, which will happen, you don’t have far to go until your next project!
As long as you know how much time it takes for specific tasks, there should be no problem with giving enough time between each job because you’re giving yourself that extra cushion if something goes wrong or you need more time. You can schedule between tasks to catch your breath and give you some “you” time to not feel overwhelmed with everything on your plate.
If you also have the problem of not being motivated enough to do what needs to get done, then it’s best not to try starting anything at all or to try setting a deadline for when you WANT to get stuff done. That way, even though there’s no real rush or pressure, you still are likely going to be motivated enough because it meets up the standards of getting work done when it fits into your schedule instead of having someone impose a deadline on you.
For example, if you have no motivation to make dinner because it’s been a long day, then set a cut-off time for yourself whenever you want to get stuff done or however long you want, just as long as it gets done!
Another good thing is rewarding yourself with small things in between doing tasks. That way, those little moments of a break in between working on something can be beneficial and enjoyable instead of feeling like you’re taking multiple breaks to take a break. If you wanted to do 20 minutes of watching Netflix before starting your homework, go ahead, but only do that if it will motivate or inspire you enough and not leave a bad taste in your mouth when thinking about getting started.
Another idea could be playing games on your computer during that time. That way, you’re still working on something, but it’s also a nice fun break to get your mind off things and take the edge off.
Detach Yourself From Outcomes
Task-driven people tend to like having everything planned out perfectly before they start. This is good because you know what needs to be done and have no problem with where or how to start; you need to figure out what comes next!
The main issue here is worrying too much about the outcome of your work and focusing on being perfect rather than moving through a project. If this sounds like you, then challenge yourself! You might end up not being able to do something in the exact way you wanted, so don’t worry! Do your best and move on to the next step, and if you have time left over, then spend it wherever you want!
Another good thing to keep in mind about expecting outcomes is that every project has a different effect. Not every project will have the best result, so always expect unexpected consequences! If you’re working on a history paper, for example, the most likely outcome will be getting a specific grade, but maybe once or twice, there might not be enough information available, and you’ll get less than an A.
I would recommend focusing less on your work (the task) and more on yourself (the person). Treat yourself the same way as how teachers treat them because that’s what they do with their students; they don’t go into teaching thinking that every student will get an A on every test they give! You can be task-driven to the point where you work hard at your project and expect a particular outcome, but, once again, it doesn’t always go that way.
The best thing to do is focus on getting better instead of trying for the perfect grade because then you’ll end up working hard with no reward in sight except for yourself and how far you’ve come and what you learned from this experience.
Give Yourself Some Freedom
I know school has been out for a while now, so there’s no real reason to worry about deadlines or tests, but hopefully, this can still help if your school isn’t finished yet or if summer vacation starts soon! As someone who has ADHD, giving myself time limits and deadlines ended up working well for me and probably will for you too. But there’s one thing that can be improved on this method; instead of having a set time limit or deadline, why not give yourself some freedom in between?
That way, if you’re feeling burnt out or need a break from studying, then feel free to take a little break and when you get back to it, try again. If you think about it now, we all have different needs, and sometimes even though we don’t realize it, our bodies tell us what they want! So being task-oriented is good but also learning to listen to your body is better because no matter how great of an idea doing something sounds like or how much research tells us the benefits of it, sometimes we won’t be able to do it because that’s not what our bodies want us to do.
This way, you’ll stay motivated and focused on your work because the deadline is always there. Still, if you don’t end up making it, instead of speeding up or working harder during the last minute, you can take a break, relax, and use your time how you think will make you happier or more productive.
The Other Side of Procrastinating
I like to think that if you’re obsessive-compulsive, then your “sister disorder” would be someone who ignores the small things in life and is a little more relaxed about deadlines or even when they finish a project. They don’t give themselves limits or deadlines because they want everything done perfectly right from the beginning and will keep editing their work until it’s good enough for them! These people not only can make us look lazy but are also dangerous because they’re so easygoing that nothing seems important enough for them to do it well.
And like before, this person might have ADHD too, so while they take forever to revise their work, our minds are racing, and we’re probably thinking about everything that’s been done in the past few hours. So they end up getting worse grades because since there was no deadline, they kept delaying it to a later date (when it still wasn’t good enough) and suddenly found themselves doing a rush job which ended up not having any care or focus put into it at all.
And this applies to both sides; if you have OCD, then don’t try to fit yourself with someone who doesn’t notice the small things, but also if you have ADHD and don’t pay attention to detail, then don’t try fitting yourself with someone who will obsessively work on their goals! We need our balance between these two, so instead of trying to fit your life into what society thinks is the perfect image or standards, find something that you’re good at and try to only focus on that.
Balance is everything, so instead of focusing on finding the perfect partner for yourself or even the best grade you could get, decide what’s the most critical thing in your life right now and then go from there. Enjoy your freedom, be responsible for it, and don’t let it interfere with whatever you think is essential. Trust me, if you keep working hard, then after a while, everyone will notice!
Happiness is all about finding yourself because as long as you’re doing what makes you happy, then everything else won’t matter. But if you think this would make for an unhappy life, remember: A balanced life is a happy life!
No matter what task is at hand, there is always another one more importantMark Twain
The tips to stop procrastinating that we’ve provided should help you get started. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you break it down into small achievable tasks and reward yourself for completing each one, the process will be much more manageable. If all of this sounds intimidating and you want help enacting these principles, let us know.