You have to start your office work, but you want to watch just one episode of the web series you began yesterday. It is for only 20 minutes, so you decided to watch it and then start your work. You watched that episode, but you developed a curiosity to know more in the end, so you watched the next one and developed more interest; you couldn’t resist, so you watched the next episode. You are in flow, not in the mood to stop procrastinating.
By the time you realize what you have done, 3 hours have already passed, and your work is still pending. Now you are frustrated with yourself that you wasted 3 hours. You don’t anymore feel like doing that boring work. How often do we get into this type of procrastination?
According to an estimation, 70% of college students and 20-25% of the general population procrastinate their work. Procrastination doesn’t only decrease your productivity, it can harm your health too. Recent studies suggest that chronic procrastination can lead to serious health problems like cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Studies also suggest that procrastination creates stress and anxiety in students.
One of the worst things procrastination does is lower your self-confidence and develop hate for yourself. Do you feel satisfied after successfully procrastinating on important work? You may feel like a loser; you may regret it, which would cause further mental problems. Christopher Parker rightly said, “Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
So how to stop procrastinating and be more productive? No problems, I have got your back. I have ten simple ways which can help you stop procrastinating. These are all according to my own experience, which can help you lower your chances of procrastination. So here we go…
10 simple ways to stop procrastinating
1. Make a plan
If you are doing everything without a plan, there is a very high chance that you would avoid your work and do every other thing so that you don’t have to face the job. You would keep scrolling Instagram, check your emails, talk to your best friend, and keep delaying the work.
But having a plan can be a game-changer. When you make a plan and write everything you have to do on paper, you will feel an unusual force that will push you to complete the work.
So, every day write down your plans on paper and paste them on your wall so that you can’t escape them.
Your plan should be preferably made a day before, and it should contain the list of activities (which you may procrastinate) with the time you want to begin doing it.
For example: 1. Exercise- 6:00 a.m. 2. Meditation- 6:30 a.m. 3. Read a book- 7:00 a.m. 4. Office work- 9:00 a.m. 5. Writing an article- 6:00 p.m.
2. Set a deadline
You have made a plan, but it alone won’t motivate you to complete your work. A plan will force you to start the work, whereas a deadline forces you to finish the work on time. Both of these are needed for an effective result.
A deadline is a powerful force that can successfully help you stop procrastinating. However, if you give yourself less time to complete a job, you would be frustrated when you fail to do so. At the same time, if you give too much time, you would have less productivity. Hence you have to set a reasonable deadline.
Set deadlines for the work you have a higher chance of procrastination. If you don’t like to write articles but have to do it tomorrow (your boss wants it), set a deadline for it- I will finish the article by 9:00 p.m. You may write it down on the paper you made the plan.
Related: What is Parkinson’s law?
3. Make it look simple
One of the reasons why you may procrastinate is because the work seems very difficult. Because nobody likes to do difficult work. Let’s say you want to read a book and have planned to read 40 pages every day; there is an excellent chance you would avoid this activity. Reading 40 pages every day is a difficult task; you won’t be able to stick with this routine (as long as you are not a serial reader).
You have to make it look simple; otherwise, you would keep delaying the work. In this case, you can make a plan of reading five pages every day. It may seem low, but reading five pages every day is much better than reading 40 pages some days. The idea is to break down the work make it look simple so that you can start doing it and kill your habits of procrastination.
4. Avoid distractions
Just when you are about to do your office work, your phone beeped with notification of your best friend posting and tagging you in a picture on Facebook. You open Facebook, like and comment in it, and then open your news feed and find an interesting video and then another and so on… 1 hour passed in this, and you almost forgot you had to complete a work. By the time you remember, you had no desire to work on that boring project. Facebook videos seem more interesting than that. And again, procrastination wins; you lose.
It all started with that single notification on your phone and ended up taking hours. What do you think is the solution here? It’s simple, turn off all the notifications that are not very important. Also, keep your phone in silent mode while working on a difficult task. Avoid all the distractions, and it would help you stop procrastinating.
5. Trick yourself
This trick can help you start your work immediately and say goodbye to procrastination. I have learned this from a book and have applied it in my life. Happy to inform you that it works.
When you procrastinate a work, the trick is just to tell yourself to start it and do it for 2 minutes. That’s all. After that, you may stop it if you want.
For example, if you wanted to write an article, and you are avoiding it, then tell yourself to write two lines of the article, and then you may stop. Just write two lines.
Once you write those two lines, you would get into the flow, and then you would easily write more. You wouldn’t feel any more resistance because starting the work is the most challenging thing. Once you start, you would automatically do it.
6. Tell others
You see, procrastinating is not a deed of greatness, and you would certainly not want someone important in your life to know about your procrastination habits. We, humans, are social animals, and we tend to prove our greatness to others. You can use this weakness of yourself to stop procrastinating.
Let’s say you have to read ten pages of a book every day. Now, what you have to do is find someone important- girlfriend, spouse, friend, etc. And tell them that you are reading ten pages of a book every day and request them to ask you what you read at the end of every day.
This will do wonders. Now that you have to prove yourself to someone, you will feel tremendous force to read every day and understand everything you read.
7. Make your work look important
Okay, let’s get to this straight: You procrastinate because the work is not important enough. If the work is as essential as breathing, would you procrastinate it? Certainly not. So, if you can somehow make work important, there is a perfect chance you would stop procrastinating.
How would you make a job look important? It’s easy- remind yourself of why you need to do it, what long-term benefits it can give you, and how it can change your life. If you want to read ten pages of a book every day- remind yourself how reading books can change your life. If you want to build exercise habits, remind yourself how important it is to remain healthy. If you want to meditate, remind yourself of how peaceful your life can be because of it.
8. Love your work
One of the main reasons you procrastinate is that the work is boring and you don’t love it. You don’t love exercise; hence you don’t do it. On top of it, it is painful.
But when you develop a love for it, even you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from doing it. I have tried this in my life, and it is one of the best ways to stop procrastination. Love every bit of exercise as if it is your new crush. Know that your new crush loves you back and wants you to be super healthy, free from diseases. Get in a life-long relationship and spend time with it every day.
9. Reward yourself
Allure yourself like a child. Yes, it works. Whenever you have difficult work to do, tell yourself that you would give yourself a reward if you complete it by the deadline. If you go to the gym and work out for 30 minutes every day, then you would watch your favorite show on Netflix on the weekend.
Rewarding yourself can help you stop procrastinating. But the reward should be alluring and satisfying. Once you do this and remain disciplined, you would go to the gym every day like a pro bodybuilder. The rewards will push you to take action. If someday you want to procrastinate it, remind yourself of the Netflix show.
10. Take action
Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
In the end, everything comes down to this single thing- action. You have to take action even when you don’t feel like it, even when you don’t feel inspired because the action is what matters. Be an action taker; make it a habit to act. Every time you are going to procrastinate, just get up and do it. Stop all the thinking, remove everything and just do it.
Procrastination is a dangerous enemy which can harm not only your work but also your health. I shared ten simple ways to stop procrastinating- have a plan, set a deadline, make it look simple, avoid distractions, trick yourself, tell others, make your work look important, love your work, reward yourself, and take action. You don’t have to follow all the ways mentioned above, just try to find what works best for you and get started with it.
These were the 10 simple ways to stop procrastinating. I hope it helped you. And, thank you for reading.