Stop Procrastination and Adopt Good Habits
Procrastination can be a serious obstacle between us and our dreams. Many people find themselves crippled by procrastination and are only able to achieve tasks under strict deadlines. Luckily in the detailed and meticulous psychological research into procrastination, researchers have uncovered several crucial insights into how to overcome our own tendencies towards procrastination and structure our minds to form good habits. With little more than some elbow grease and a few weeks to set positive habits in motion, anyone can stop procrastination dead in its tracks and be as productive as they like.
Focus On Small Tasks
It’s easy to get lost and procrastinate when taking on larger tasks because it’s easy to get lost or even intimidated by the scope of the project. Defeating procrastination with focus means understanding that if you have a goal to reach 10,000 new YouTube subscribers, realizing that goal begins with your next five. Turning big goals into little goals allows you to focus on taking the next step without getting caught up in the bigger picture.
While you’ve got to take on small tasks to achieve bigger goals, it’s still important to have an idea of how the bigger picture is coming together. That’s why so many productive people rely on productivity apps. A simple to-do list can be a great source of inspiration, a means to stay organized, and a way to keep yourself accountable for your own productivity. One of the free list apps worth checking out is ToDoIst, especially if you’re someone who can appreciate the satisfaction of checking off a task when it’s complete.
Reducing the chance you’ll be tempted to spend time procrastinating begins with getting rid of the distractions in your work environment. From your web browser to noise outside your window, distractions are all around us. Distractions when you’re trying to be productive are as serious as distractions on the road while you’re driving.
Making yourself accountable for your actions is a very compelling way to restructure your behavior, and with a little creativity it’s easy to figure out how to do for yourself. For many people, sharing plans with peers is a good way to peer pressure yourself into following through with them. Many of the most successful dieters found their motivation by simply creating a diet blog to share their progress, and the very same tactic can work wonders in the quest to stop procrastination.
When John Perry, a professor of philosophy at Stanford, was asked how he managed to stay productive, Perry’s answer was structured procrastination. As a professor at a prestigious university and a notable figure within contemporary academic philosophy, Perry is a very busy man with a constant supply of papers to grade, books to order, dissertation drafts to read, and publications to work on.
Procrastinating usually doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing – it means doing something marginally valuable. The strategy of structured procrastination attempts to take advantage of that fact by using procrastination as a means of motivating yourself to do difficult and timely tasks as a means of procrastinating more important ones. So if you have a crucial report due at the end of the week that you’ve been dreading, you can have your cake and eat it too by procrastinating on the report with another less important task.
One of the most popular methods psychologists suggest to stop procrastination is to bundle something you want to do with something you don’t want to do. For example, if you find yourself wanting to put off a necessary trip to the gym so you can dive into that new Steven King audiobook, you can bundle the two together and only allow yourself to indulge in that temptation while you’re at the gym.
You’ll spend less time on temptations since you’re reducing the total number of situations that you’re allowing yourself to engage in them. Bundling will also increases the chance you will do the things you need to do because it makes it very easy to adopt the right habits.
Success is just a collection of habits that allow us to reach our goals, and half the battle to stop procrastination is just getting yourself to start. The next article you write starts with one sentence, and the next book you read starts with the first page. It’s easy to stop procrastination if only you can dedicate yourself to taking that first step, and your next opportunity to take that step begins right now.
What are your good habits or ways to beat procrastination? Share your ideas below!