According to a survey, 25% of people believe that they struggle to overcome procrastination while 75% of college students say that they put off assignments till the last day of submission.
Some heroic characters have even gone as far as killing off their imaginary grandmothers and using their hypothetical funeral as an excuse for why they did not turn the assignment in on time.
The Story of Every Procrastinator
If you don’t know what procrastination is, here’s the easiest definition that I could come up with:
Procrastination is the inability to get shit done!
Imagine that you have an assignment pending for class or your job. Now here’s what a person suffering from chronic procrastination would do:
You decide to go to your room and start working on the laptop. When you reach the room, you realize how it smells weird which reminds you that you need to shower because you stink!
But you won’t because the new soap that you bought just isn’t as soapy as you would like it to be and the fragrance is all messed up. Anyhow, you open your laptop and turn it on (no pun intended) before it starts displaying the “battery low” notification.
Your buddy, Dean, had told you that one should never plug in the battery of a laptop and use it simultaneously because this allows aliens to receive your electromagnetic radiations which brings you at risk of inter-galactic abduction. And if that happens; how would your parents even live without you because you’re such a handsome potato!
A procrastinator would spend the next hour thinking of how he’s going to ace the assignment once the laptop charges. Another hour would pass by as he watches Peaky Blinders, and honestly, you can’t just leave the show in the middle!
Two hours later, all this hard work and procrastination has made you too tired to work on anything, so you decide to postpone your assignment till tomorrow.
Signs that you Procrastinate
Here are a few common signs found in people who suffer from procrastination.
- You NEVER get out of the bed
- Anything that’s hard isn’t worth it for you
- You rarely ever indulge into physical activities
- The last time your room was clean was when your mom cleaned it for you
- You are always stressed
- You think planning is an act of the stupid
How to beat procrastination
After spending hours on watching videos and reading articles, I have curated for you the top 9 tips and techniques for beating procrastination. These are:
- Positive or negative visualization
- Start easy
- Find a reason
- Create imaginary time limits
- Reframe the task
- Get rid of excuses
- Find an accountability buddy
- Write down your assignments and goals
- Treat yourself
Each technique has been explained below in a simple and brief manner.
Positive or negative visualization
Beating procrastination is nothing if you can rewire your brain. Understand that if you procrastinate, you have a lot of mental capacity to think. All that you need to do is focus and channelize that capacity towards your goal and positive or negative visualization will help you achieve that.
Positive visualization is for people who work better by thinking about the positives of completing a task. Imagine how great it would be to get the task done. What benefits would it bring? You might get a good grade or a possible pay raise by working on this.
Negative visualization is for people who work better under pressure. Think about what happens if you don’t get this task done? It might mess up your GPA that you’ve worked so hard to maintain, or make your boss dislike you for your slack attitude.
Now, how cool is it that I wrote a poem for this part!
Research has already shown
Making your bed sets the tone
And yeah… that’s pretty much all that I have at the moment!
Let me explain:
Research suggests that if you wake up and start your day by making your bed, it sets the tone for the rest of the day and increases your productivity.
Increasing your productivity will help you completely decimate and beat procrastination.
Your brain starts functioning differently when you complete a trivial task at the beginning of the day. Now that it has already completed a task, your brain years for more.
Working on and completing an extremely small task in the beginning of your day will make you believe, “Hey, I can get work done.” And so, you will.
Rosie Guagliardo from InnerBrilliance says that if you trick your brain into thinking that you’ll go to the gym and workout for only 10 minutes, you’ll eventually put in a complete session of exercise for the day.
Find a reason
The major reason why most people struggle to complete tasks and suffer with procrastination is because they simply aren’t interested.
If you’d rather play video games, watch a movie, or marvel at a Youtube video of a dog saying “I love you”, then you’re never going to beat procrastination.
You need to find a reason for why you need to complete the task at hand.
Maybe you don’t care about your grades but what about that semester abroad that you wanted to apply to? What if, in the end, this messed up GPA is why you wouldn’t get selected for the exchange program that you’ve been eyeing for so long. Or if you’re working on an office assignment and you don’t submit it on time, then instead of you getting the promotion, freakin’ Andy might.
And we all know that Andy is a douche bag!
Create hard deadlines
This is one technique that I use myself for overcoming procrastination. Here’s how it works:
You need to create imaginary time limits for yourself.
Let’s say that you need to get done with 30 pages of textbook reading. You should divide your task into 5-minute deadlines in which you’ll make sure that you complete at least 2 pages.
You’re not working to read 30 pages at once, instead, you’re making sure that you read 2 pages in every 5 minutes. This will eventually bring you close to the goal without even realizing.
Kitty Boitnott from Boitnott Coaching says that you need to create hard deadlines for tasks as if your boss made them for you and then follow them in the exact manner with proper dedication. You can only make this work if you take the time limits seriously.
Reframe the task
Some tasks just are boring as fucaceae (I really don’t know what that means, honestly). But that doesn’t mean that you should keep putting them off. In such a situation, reframing the task can help you beat your procrastination.
Let’s say that you need to do the dishes and you hate that.
No matter how much you try to convince yourself to do it, you just can’t. Self-help experts might tell you to somehow will yourself to do the work but I know that it doesn’t work that way.
You need to describe the task differently in your mind.
Instead of thinking that you’ll be washing off the grease from a dozen dishes today, think of it like, “I’ll be washing the dishes so that I don’t have to send a search team for finding a clean plate every time I have to eat.”
Get rid of excuses
Admit it; we can’t stop procrastinating because we make some really lame-ass excuses. We make it sound like we’re doing the world and ourselves a favor by being lazy, but we’re not.
According to PsyBlog, here are the most common excuses that people give for not doing their work:
- Not feeling in the mood to do it
- Believing that you work better under pressure
- Thinking that you can finish it at the last minute
- Blaming sickness or poor health
- Waiting for the right moment
If you keep telling yourself any of the above, know that you’re full of bullshit and that you need to be serious about what you’re doing if you want to beat procrastination.
Find an accountability buddy
I’ve found a lot of life coaches advise people to try this when nothing else seems to be working.
An accountability buddy is someone who looks over your shoulder and makes sure that you’re doing your work and not wasting your time with procrastination.
They are kinda’ like hired parents (I know… weird example).
John M O’Conner from Career Pro Inc. says that you need to find an accountability partner and let them know that you’ll do the same for them.
This way, you don’t only have the pressure of their ensuring that you do the work, but also of not letting them down as a “team”.
Writing down your tasks and goals
The written word has a kind of holiness attached to it.
You are more prone to following something that you wrote instead of something that you merely said. Try using this to your advantage for beating procrastination.
When you put pen on paper, your mind perceives it as if you’re stating on record that you’ll be doing something.
A research was conducted on knee and hip replacement surgery patients where some of them would write down their weekly goals for physiotherapy and others would not. The patients who wrote their weekly goals in a journal got better 2 to 3 times faster than those who didn’t.
So, what’s to learn over here?
Well, start using a planner or journal and write down your tasks. If you suffer from procrastination, chances are that you end up doing the absolute necessities in life and forget the little things like buying bread or Nutella.
Write the smaller and unimportant tasks separately from the important ones to keep it all organized and then follow a definite and practical priority order for getting work done.
Krista Rizzo from Why am I yelling? Life Coaching (I LOVE the name of her company, though) says:
In order to overcome procrastination, you need to create a list consisting of things that you have to do but don’t mind doing and another list of things that you have to do but hate.
She believes that you should start off by completing a task that you don’t mind doing and then give yourself a small treat like eating a candy, giving yourself 10 minutes of social media time, or making your dog jump like crazy because you’re bored.
After that, you should take on a task from the list of stuff that you don’t want to do. Treat yourself again upon its completion and alternate a task each from both lists.
These are 9 tips and techniques that I found to be the most useful for me. Which technique works best for you? Do you know any other techniques that help you to get things done? Let us know in the comments!
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