As I mentioned in my previous post, procrastination has been a huge topic for me.
As a perpetual procrastinator, I became familiar with many tools and tips to help with the practical side of procrastination. These help so much and I still use them from time to time.
Understanding the root cause of my procrastination has been the best thing, but it was buried so deep down I needed other practical strategies to help. Here are some of the best I put to use.
- Chunking – Instead of looking at a huge overwhelming block of work ahead, divide the work into small chunks. Each chunk is a smaller, more easily tackled amount of work that is much less intimidating.
I still use this method all the time. With some imagination you can divide any job into smaller parts. Folding washing can be divided into t-shirts, undies and socks rather than that big basket of washing to put away.
- Writing lists – I find this is good for when you are feeling overwhelmed with “where do I start?”
I write lists so that I can remember all the things I want to do, and also prioritise what I can do now.
Writing lists can be like chunking, you are dividing something big into smaller chunks, but with a list you can have the satisfaction of crossing off each task when done.
Lists are also useful at keeping you on track and aware of what you want to do.
However, be kind to yourself and don’t punish yourself if you don’t get everything done, as this can just make you less motivated.
- Use a timer – set a timer for 10 minutes and see if you can just work at the task for this amount of time.
This is a great strategy to use. Instead of thinking I have to work at this all day or for hours, just set yourself the goal of working for 10 minutes. If you can do that, congratulate yourself and set the timer for another 10 minutes.
Sometimes after a few timed sessions you get into the flow of work you’re doing. Sometimes you have to keep setting that timer and forcing yourself to do it.
I was such a procrastinator, I used to even set my timer for 1 minute at a time to force myself to get going.
This technique is also good if you tend to not value the work you do, you can at least say “look, I’ve spent 30 minutes on this” rather than saying “All I’ve done is this.”
With cleaning it can feel like you make a bigger mess before it looks clean. Knowing how much time has gone into the activity can make you feel better about the work done so far.
- Time your breaks – seasoned procrastinators can look for any excuse to stop and disappear from the task. You can take breaks but time yourself so a 10 minute tea break doesn’t turn into an afternoon distraction.
- Be Kind to yourself – getting angry with yourself for procrastinating does not improve your mood and will not motivate you. Be nice to yourself and congratulate yourself for any work done. Spending time beating yourself up is a waste.
- Just start – wherever you are, no matter how unprepared you think you may be, just make a start. Many small steps combined can cover an enormous distance. I have found as well that sometimes a job I thought was huge was not as big as it first appeared once I started working towards it. But you won’t know unless you start.
There are so many more procrastination tips out there and whole books written on the subject
. If you are stuck a quick Google search should bring some information.
If you are procrastinating about something, I hope this helps you.