While we all do tend to delay things sometimes, procrastination is the habit of constantly putting off or postponing tasks.
There could be a lot of reasons for procrastination, such as time management, finding the tasks difficult, overwhelming, or even boring!
Despite not being spoken about much, anxiety regarding how the task may turn out can also lead to procrastination.
While we’ve all been there, below are some ways one can deal with procrastination:
1) Understand why you are procrastinating
There are various reasons why one may procrastinate. Take a moment to reflect on why it is that you are procrastinating - is it difficult to manage your time? Is the task monotonous or demanding? Are you distracted? Or is it something entirely? Understanding the why will help you get to how to deal with it.
2) Understand why you are doing the task
Try to ask yourself - Why am I really doing this task? What are the benefits of completing the task? What do I hope to accomplish by doing this task? What would be the outcome if I was not able to complete this task?
3) Clear all distractions
Distractions are often a common hindrance to completion of tasks. First identify what is distracting you and then try different ways to minimise the distractions. Some common ways are to leave the distractor in another room, trying to set timers in case of technology, clearing your desk or workspace, and setting up a peaceful environment where one is able to focus.
4) Make a priority list
When there are too many tasks, you might not know where to start. Arranging them in terms of their priority can help you to start with the most important one. Take some time to think about the tasks you have to do and try to number them starting from 1 to 5, in terms of their priority. This is a helpful time management hack!
5) Break down the task
Another time management hack is to break down a task. Some tasks can seem too big and completing them can seem daunting. Breaking the task down into the tiniest steps can make the task more doable. 6) Start small and progressively increase your steps
Always start with the smallest step. Once the smallest steps are achievable, gradually work your way towards increasing those steps. Remember not to jump steps, it should be a moderate and progressive increase. Eventually you will reach the larger steps.
7) Set rewards for yourself
Giving yourself a small reward after completing a challenging task can be highly motivating! The reward could be anything, from a bar of small chocolate to watching a movie, going out with your friends or simply taking a 5-minute break. Setting rewards can help to hold yourself accountable.
8) Have an accountability buddy
Having a friend, colleague, a partner or family member working with you through your tasks can be extremely beneficial. They can help you achieve common goals, encourage you through the process and even hold you accountable through it.
9) Focusing on the process instead of the outcome
This one is for the anxiety that comes along by focusing on the outcome too much. While certain tasks can be anxiety provoking and outcomes can lead to distress, try to focus on the process of actually doing the task. You will reach the end goal eventually, but it is the process of the task that is most rewarding.
10) Let go of perfectionism
Some individuals often avoid doing a task because they would not want it to be imperfect. Perfectionism is subjective - and striving too much towards it can lead to frustration. Work on the task to the best of your ability but let go of perfectionism if it serves to be a hindrance rather than a motivation.
Written By - Mehek Rohira (Therapist at The Mood Space)
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