Are You a Procrastinator? Here are 4 Tips to Break the Habit
Everyone procrastinates at times, but if it’s becoming a real problem for you, there are some helpful tricks to stay motivated.
Do you often make empty promises to yourself?
Do you catch yourself making comments like “I’ll do it tomorrow” but “tomorrow” usually ends up being at the very last possible minute?
If so, you might want to consider adding “overcome procrastination” to your list of new year’s resolutions.
Studies show that 95% of college students procrastinate to some degree, and 50% admitted to procrastinating constantly in a problematic way. But it's not just college students who could benefit from examining their relationship to procrastination. Many adults engage in the very same behaviors.
25% of adults also admit that procrastination is a part of their routine behavior. Thankfully there are some ways to combat this all-too-common habit.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your procrastination under control:
Make achievable goals
A common mistake people make when setting goals for themselves is to create a big goal without any clear plan for achieving it. Most people work better when they have a plan of attack, and it's often easier to make progress if you can chip away at that big goal gradually. By writing down a list of smaller tasks you need to take to achieve your big goal, and then setting deadlines for them, you can find the whole thing a lot easier to accomplish, without getting stuck worrying about the size of the task in front of you. Consider checking out how to create a SMART goal that will help you make headway on your new resolutions.
Related: Building Good Habits That Stick
Remember it’s OK to make mistakes
Sometimes we can be guilty of letting perfect become the enemy of good-enough. While we all want to do our best, for some of us, the desire to get a project exactly right can prevent them from starting at all. Many people are anxious about their quality of their work, but we shouldn't let that stop us from getting the task done. Part of overcoming this anxiety is understanding that nobody is perfect, and every project will always have room left for improvement. If you recognize that you experience anxiety over getting that project just perfect, there are many resources available to help you ease the burden of your perfectionist streak.
Make things easier for yourself
Distractions are the procrastinator’s worst enemy. So, make things easier for yourself by removing distractions, or even leaving environments that you know will prevent you from adequately working on a task. For example, if you are often glued to scrolling social media when you should be finishing a task at work, put your phone in another room. If you are in a noisy environment while working at home, take your to-do list elsewhere, or slip on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to get in the zone. If your coworkers often distract you with scintillating conversation at your desk, don’t be afraid to put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the back of your chair when you’re trying to meet a deadline. Consider your boundaries and stick to them to help you meet your goals.
Everyone loves to be validated and appreciated when they’ve done something great! So make a promise of a reward for yourself that you can indulge in once you’ve finished a project or checked a box on your to-dos. A reward could be as simple as indulging in a snack or watching an episode of your favorite show before getting back to work. This doesn’t mean rewarding yourself every single time you get something done—but putting small rewards in place throughout your day will help you stay motivated to stay on task instead of putting things off!
Because so many of us struggle with procrastination, there are many helpful strategies for overcoming it too. However, in some cases, severe procrastination that is causing serious problems for your life can be an indicator of a mental health issue. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor for help in identifying and treating mental illness.
Remember, you don’t have to be perfect at not procrastinating on day one. Habits take time to break and a lot of patience. And if you start now and you don’t give up, you might just accomplish more than you ever thought you could this year!