So, you know how it goes. You’re on the internet, surfing away lured by the never ending opportunities to learn new info, or find the latest dancing cat. Then there’s the limitless entertainment of sharing your treasure of “hilarious” memes with your friends through social media – that’s just priceless. Thirty minutes later, you are probably swimming in your own guilt for procrastinating and not completing the main task that you started out to do.
Be assured though, you are not alone swimming in this river of guilt. We all go through this and as a result, we usually face these two outcomes:
We beat ourselves up for procrastinating, which creates a loop of negativity that makes us feel even worse. It is a downward spiral that eventually makes us question our competence.
As we have delayed our tasks, we become a bottleneck to ourselves. If people were depending on us to complete the task, we have also delayed their work because of our own procrastination.
Due to procrastinating in the first place, we now have to reschedule the task, and find the new motivation to complete it, meaning in all likelihood it will probably take even longer to complete.
QUESTION: Why do we do this to ourselves?
Let’s take a step back and look at the moment right before we start the process of procrastination. Seconds before we venture off to procrastinating we go through this simple choice.
Do the work now OR Do the work later.
Our pleasure-seeking mind will naturally always lean towards actions that will provide instant gratification over actions with delayed gratifications.
We all know this, and our actions can prove it – How many times have you caught yourself mindlessly browsing social media when you really should be working on that assignment or business project? Come on now, be honest….
The situation becomes worse when procrastinating becomes a habit and starts to impact negatively on other areas of our lives.
We should learn to be more aware of this harmful habit and stop procrastinating before it takes us down. Let’s jump ahead with some tools and techniques that can help us to be more productive and beat procrastination.
Tools and techniques to overcome procrastination
1. Better Time Management
If you plan your work ahead there is a higher chance that you will follow through and complete it. Set up a date and time for the work and stick to it.
If while doing your work, you start to procrastinate during the process (which is extremely likely), then check this out Pomodoro timer. It is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s. Essentially it uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. This helps keep concentration focused for an optimal time followed by organised breaks.
2. Take Small Steps & Reward yourself
Often, we delay tasks because we believe that we need to finish all of it at once. This overwhelms us and holds us back from taking even the first step. Therefore, breaking the task down to mini actionable items is a great way of starting. As you complete each task, reward yourself to create a positive feedback loop. This will help re-wire your brain to seek pleasure through the reward system as opposed to seeking distraction through funny memes on the internet.
3. Just do one thing and unplug the rest
How many tabs are open right now in your internet browser? I think that will give you a good idea about your own procrastinating habits. We often don’t pay attention to how these little things are the gateways to procrastinating.
Close all irrelevant tabs on your browser when you are working.
Only keep those that are needed for your work. If you don’t need to even use an internet browser for the work at hand, then don’t open one.
4. Accountability group
When we don’t have to answer to anyone for work we usually tend to procrastinate more. Setting up accountability partners or joining an accountability group can help tremendously. Knowing that you must answer to someone or a group about your work instantly changes your attitude towards it and makes it seem more significant and as a result the chances of you completing it on time increases.
Entrepreneurs, who are in their early stages of business, and Soloprenuers often lack this support. I know this because I faced the same challenge. I joined accountability groups when I was starting out my own entrepreneurial journey and eventually created my own accountability group – GSD Society.
This group is not only a platform for accountability, but it is also a very supportive community of brilliant entrepreneurs who are always helping each other out.
TOGETHER Let’s END procrastination and Get SHIT done!