Are you one of those people who say, “I haven’t done it yet?” Are you in a habit of putting-off your target goals until the next day? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate about procrastination? If you are looking for answers to the above questions, we’ve got you covered.
In order to eliminate procrastination, it is important to understand how procrastination works and what hacks or tools can be employed to reduce it and increase arousal levels and productivity. At the outset, it is pertinent to mention that procrastination and laziness are not the same constructs but are almost always understood and used interchangeably. The literal meaning of the word procrastination is “to put-off until tomorrow.” It is important to consider why we do it in the first place. Some reasons attributed to it are sluggishness, lack of self control and lack of discipline.
A number of times, we don’t have the intention to avoid or delay certain tasks but end-up rescheduling them anyway. According to researchers, the underlying issue behind such behaviour is characterized as emotional dysregulation. When we are exposed to exceedingly stressful situations or anxiety-provoking events, it acts like a burden or pressure on our minds which is why we tend to avoid the tasks that we are supposed to accomplish. It is a functional delay behavior and has nothing to do with poor time management skills.
These 7 hacks have been found to be helpful in reducing procrastination –
- It is also called the “25 minutes chunk technique.” In this technique, the tasks of the entire day have to be divided into chunks, depending on the priority list. Each activity is performed for a span of 25 minutes.
- After doing the 25-minute task, a 5-minute break has to be taken and this process has to be repeated throughout the day. This way one can complete the tasks with optimum arousal with minimum work-related anxiety and better time management.
- This, by far, is considered as the most effective and efficient technique to stay focused throughout the day and provides internal satisfaction to the individual.
This is the key factor in educing procrastination. The individual has to keep a check of the state of their emotional dysregulation.
- Procrastination is a result of unhealthy emotional manifestations. Negative patterns of thinking enhance procrastination leading to repeated dilatory behavior and other psychological issues such as anxiety, distress, binge eating and drinking, irregular sleep schedule, diminished levels of attention and concentration on a particular task, etc.
- Emotions can take a toll on our health. Hence, it is an act of self care to regulate our emotional experiences.
CUT LOOSE FROM THE GUILT WEB:
In order to get rid of the habit of procrastination, it is important to forgive ourselves as many times as we need instead of being harsh upon ourselves or beating ourselves up by constantly feeling guilty for postponing responsibilities and decisions of unfinished tasks and work.
- Staying in the spiral of procrastinating about procrastination is very harmful. Hence, we need to free ourselves from that guilt ridden feeling as it will only make the condition worse.
- A large number of people procrastinate because they want to feel better at that moment. However, it often backfires and we find ourselves back to square one; it goes on and on eventually making it more difficult for us to achieve our target tasks and goals.
STOPPING PROCRASTINATION BEHAVIOUR DOES NOT WORK:
The act of trying to stop procrastination does not work because if we are asked to not think of an apple, our first instinct will be to think of the apple instead of ignoring it.
- The more we focus on forcing ourselves to not think about something, the more it tends to persist. The trick is not to put all our energy in trying to stop procrastination deliberately as it doesn’t work that way.
- One has to try to let go of the mere thought of trying to control “the stop procrastinating” rule as it only induces more anxiety and adds pressure onto existing conditions.
- Acceptance is the route to reduce the dilatory behavior. It is necessary to accept that it’s okay to not feel okay on certain days. One should not feel obligated at all times to make perfect sense of everything and follow their routines rigidly.
This has nothing to do with eating snacks while working.
- It is a wonderful and refreshing tool to kill boredom and lessen the effect of procrastination.
- It basically involves breaking down a single 2-3 hours of continued workout and divides it into shorter bouts/time periods which are performed more than twice per day with 5-10 minutes of intense and enjoyable exercise and 1-2 minutes of rest between each exercise. The results are almost similar as compared to a 3 hour long work-out.
- This is a very stimulating, doable and attention oriented technique which helps to reduce procrastination. Including physical activity in our lifestyle is extremely healthy and important at the same time. With this technique, one doesn’t have to miss out on their workout regime owing to procrastination.
- In addition to that, it can be done at any time of the day and hence, is a very flexible strategy to employ for individuals who deal with high procrastination on a regular basis. It helps to rejuvenate our mind and increases our attention span, thereby giving a boost to our body and brain.
SET REALISTIC TARGETS EVERYDAY DAY:
This point has to be taken in consideration, specifically in the cases of individuals who engage in delaying and avoiding work-related tasks and engage in escape routes stockpiling the work-load to the point that they start feeling that they would never be able to complete it.
- If we set an unrealistic goal for ourselves for a day, it becomes more cumbersome to finish that task as boredom starts to kick-in and we tend to feel disinterested after a point which leaves us dissatisfied.
- It is important to set small goals and tasks with frequent pauses and power naps, if need be.
- The list of tasks should be short so that we can be content and optimally aroused to perform the activity.
- Further, it is important to prioritise the tasks from most important to less important. By employing realistic, crisp, smaller, moderately difficult tasks according to each day, it will help to finish the work one initially planned to do and will keep them on their toes and better prepared for the next day as well.
BREAK FREE FROM THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL:
It is an individual’s perception of uncontrollable events as subject to one’s control or as more controllable than they actually are.
- The tendency to think that “I am not procrastinating, I will do the work later” increases procrastination behavior more as the person is in an illusion.
- It’s a cognitive bias/thinking error to rationalize our excuses in order to feel good and form a desirable image of ourselves which in turn brings the person closer to the actual purpose, i.e. to avoid the work activity or responsibility.
- One should try to be as realistic and practical as possible to set achievable goals for the following day.
- When we attribute our actions to a future consequence rather than present, we are more likely to drag our productivity levels lower. Hence, it is important to not fall in the trap of, “It can be done later.”
- We often compromise long-term benefits to short-term pleasure which is self-defeating in nature.
- One should try to introduce rewards after completion of each task/goal and give themselves a little treat for trying to sustain the activity.
It is a common belief that telling someone with chronic procrastination to just do it anyhow, is like asking someone to snap out of depression in the blink of an eye. These 7 workable and efficient strategic tools are incredibly helpful in dealing with the procrastination battle. Hence, one needs to practice these exercises diligently and experience the difference.
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