Sometimes tasks can be so daunting that we do anything to avoid them. Some of us even get through school leaving assessments until the night before to complete. Sure, we might get away with it. But why put yourself through the unnecessary stress of the possibility of failing to meet a deadline?
Have a look below to see some ways you can kick procrastination’s butt and beat the stress that comes along with it.
Tips for overcoming procrastination
- Take regular and timed breaks: I’m competitive. I won’t deny it. But I’m competitive, even with myself. So when I set myself timed limits – such as an hour block – to achieve a particular task before I can take a 5-10 minute break, I find that I am more likely to be motivated to do as much of it as I can so that I can beat the clock. Try setting yourself break times at regular intervals. It’ll give you something to look forward to and make the time go just that little bit more quickly. Breaks also help to ensure that you are not over-worked.
- Do not over-estimate yourself: As an avid list-maker, I tend to spend forever making lists of all the things I need to achieve. They seem simple enough on a piece of paper. Sure, I can do 300 pages worth of readings in a few hours. But, oh wait, I forgot to include lunch, and dinner. I also forgot that I have to clean up a little around the house. Not to mention the fact that I have to go and pick up cat food or else this little kitty will starve. And suddenly, that list of 10 things seems pretty impossible to finish in a day and the panic sets in that I am not likely to complete it so I spend another hour stressing. Be realistic with your lists. Don’t try to finish everything in one go. Do a little bit each day, and it will be that much easier to stay motivated and keep yourself from procrastinating.
- Reward yourself: It is so much easier to feel motivated to do something when you know there is a reward waiting for you on the other side. During exam weeks, I used to ‘reward’ myself with 5 minutes of social media and mobile phone usage for every 55 minutes of study. Somehow, it actually worked. Find a balance between working and rewarding yourself and see how it helps you get things done with less hassle.
- Break it down: Sometimes we procrastinate because the task at hand seems too big and daunting. Why not try breaking it down into mini tasks? Not only will this reduce stress levels, it will also make the said task seem more manageable.
- Warm yourself up with easy tasks: I find that when I start to look at the tasks I’ve ticked off of my to-do list, it helps boost my motivation. Yes, this can be a little bit of a ‘quantity over quality’ type of thing, but if it helps you get more done, why not?
- Understand your productive peak times: I cannot work late at night. All nighters just did not work for me during uni. My brain would do a good job at convincing me that I would get up early to study the next day. I found that I was more productive earlier in the day than I was at night. On the other hand, a lot of my friends would prefer to get work done at night. Whichever you prefer, utilise that time to sit down and finish those tough tasks that need to be done.
- Accountability: If you let others know about what you need to get done, chances are you will try harder to make sure that it does get completed.
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