Whether you procrastinate your exercise, your homework and to do list, or your plans to eat a healthier diet, it’s a habit that nobody wants to have stick around.
Here are 7 tips on how to stop procrastinating and to get on track with what you want to achieve.
1. Eat a Frog for Breakfast – In other words, do your worst thing first and get it over with. It’s probably the thing you least want to do, so the more you push it to the side, the harder it will be to get it done. Take a look at your list for the day, and start the day by tackling the thing you are least excited to deal with, whether that’s because it’s hard or just not fun (hello laundry!). Then you won’t have to deal with it again for the rest of the day, and it’s all down hill from there!
2. Make a list – Start the day with a list, outlining everything you have to do, - appointments, requirements, deadlines etc. - and then plan your day accordingly. As you complete each item, check it off and reassess what you have left and what is reasonable for you to accomplish. Having everything written down will help you stay focused and stop you from procrastinating or forgetting things you have to do. It’s staring you in the face, so you can’t really ignore it and procrastinate!
3. Set a timer – Set a timer for 50 minutes. Do your work for 50 minutes, head down, full focus, and then give yourself a 10 minute break before you start again. This applies for school work or studying, cleaning your house, workouts or just a pile of things you have to get through at your job. Having the reward of the 10 minute break at the end will push you through, and the 50 minutes isn’t too long that you get tired, distracted etc.
4. Prioritize – What’s the most important thing for you to do? Not the one you want to do the most, or that is the easiest, but the one that is the most urgent, or has the biggest consequences if it doesn’t get done. Get a clear focus on all the things you have to do (make a list), and then assess which one is the most important, and rank the rest accordingly. Don’t forget to also prioritize the things that are important to you (like exercise), not just the things you are supposed to do for others. You can’t give your best to other people when you aren’t at your best and eating properly, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.
5. Use Found time – The doctor calls to say they have to cancel your appointment. Now you have an extra hour in your afternoon. You are overstaffed at work and get to leave early. What do you do with this extra time you have that you weren’t expecting? This is called found time! Start turning this into time well spent that is productive and that you can look back and see you used efficiently. Whether you use it as catch up, to take some time for yourself, or to do some meal prep for the week so you don’t eat take out again, don’t let this time go to waste. As cliché as it is, you won’t get it back and you will no doubt wish for it later!
6. Get up earlier – It seems irrelevant for this list, but delaying getting up, is delaying all the things you need to do. It is procrastinating. Instead, set an alarm, and a start time for your day, get up and face whatever that day may bring. If you do it with your list and priorities in your hand, it will be successful and productive.
7. Eliminate distraction – One of the biggest causes of procrastination is distraction. Whether it is your phone, Facebook, everything that is on your mind, or other people in the room, find a way to eliminate it. Turn your phone to silent and have a set time when you answer emails. Take 30 minutes in the morning to do some yoga or exercise to clear your head, or keep a piece of paper and pen beside you at your desk to dump whatever distracting thoughts come into your mind such as something to add to your grocery list, to remember to call your mom and to pay your phone bill. Assess the main things that cause a distraction to you and then figure out how to get rid of them. Not only will you get more done because you will be more focused, but your mind will feel less cluttered and everything you do have to do won’t seem so overwhelming!