Conquering Procrastination

Conquering Procrastination, the thief of time

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Hello beautiful people, here I am writing again after going on hiatus for over a year. The length of time away wasn’t planned, it just seemed like life kept getting in the way of completing all my half-written posts. I received a couple of messages asking if I was OK and that my posts were missed. Thanks to all those people who sent me messages. I am very hale and hearty and back with a bang!!!

My silence was also due to me constantly procrastinating. From the length of my absence, you must be able to tell them I am really good at it and actually hate this.

Usually procrastination is as a result of finding it too difficult to start a task or getting distracted while working on a task. I have always procrastinated because I am too busy doing one thing after the other. Too busy to keep relationships, too busy to reply messages, too busy to practice foreign languages, too busy to read a book, too busy to blog or just generally too tired to do anything but definitely not too busy or tired to watch the bachelor/bachelorette or the real housewives of Potomac (two of my very silly guilty pleasures).

After having a chat with an old friend about this, I decided to write about procrastination and ways I have managed to overcome it from time to time.

 

Prioritize.

When the activities and things in one’s life gets too chaotic and overwhelming, it is usually easier to just plonk one’s self down on the couch and do nothing productive. True story! This is where prioritisation comes in. Ask yourself what the most important thing you want to achieve is and prioritize it.

 

Just start.

I do it. We all do it. We put off that task to be done for five minutes, then five more minutes, then for thirty minutes until it doesn’t get done at all. We spend so much time thinking about how long it will take for the task to be completed or searching for the perfect time to start that we just lay on the couch doing nothing meaningful. Stop over-complicating things. Focus on starting and not finishing. “Now” is always the perfect time to start. Once you start, you might just go all the way till you finish.

 

The 3-minute rule.

Can it be done in three minutes? If yes, do it now

 

Break that long task into smaller manageable tasks.

Break a long task/project down into short tasks. Sometimes, thinking about the size and difficulty of a task can be overwhelming and it hinders productivity. Break the task into smaller manageable chunks of work and focus on the next achievable chunk. To make it even better, insert short breaks in between chunks but remember to go back to starting the next chunk within the time limits set.

 

Mix and match and make it fun.

“Do the hardest/most boring thing first” advice to me is pure bullshit!

Start with an interesting task, do a boring one, do something interesting, reward yourself (in my case with mindless TV that adds absolutely no value to my life). Next time, start with something boring, move on to something interesting then indulge in guilty pleasures.

 

Block Out Distractions

There are so many distractions for me – games on my phone, constant walks to the fridge to open it and stare at nothing in it, YouTube, the list goes on.

I always time myself by allocating 30 minutes of undistracted time and having a nice enjoyable break for 10 minutes afterwards and trying to remember that it is just a break from what I should be actually doing. Sometimes, if it is possible, I changed locations and go to a café nearby to work.

 

The single tab/window/program rule

For computer assisted tasks, it is advised to have only one single tab (internet-related), window, program open so that you can focus entirely on it. Resist the temptation of surfing the web, checking for new messages, playing a game or checking your social media accounts.

 

Get at least one person to keep you accountable

Get someone to keep you accountable. Having someone check in with you consistently to ensure you’re on top of your game and encourage you actually keeps you at the top of your game. At first it may seem irritating to be constantly reminded that you are slacking off but with time, you actually do start to work to get the person off your back and into the person’s “good graces”.

 

Start to reduce the guilty pleasures.

We all know those basically useless things we waste time on, in my case, I started to reduce random TV watching to watch specifically chosen things like watching YouTube videos on interior decoration, closet organization, or the farmer finds a wife in Polish or TV series. I’ve found that reading a book or watching certain programs actually results in an enjoyable and fulfilling time spent.

 

I hope one or more of these tactics work for you.

 

“Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”

– Michael Landon


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