How To Beat Procrastination For A More Productive Life

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We’ve all been in the situation where work continues to pile up, and the stress continues to build, yet you do nothing to get a start on what needs to be done. Instead of getting started on what you need to do, we live in the bliss filled answer of telling ourselves, “I’ll get to it later”. Procrastination is something everyone struggles with sometime in their lives. However, there are actions you can take to help you push through your procrastination with a burst of productivity.

Before we break down down to the keys to stop procrastinating, let’s first understand why we often tend to procrastinate. Behavioral psychology research has revealed that procrastination stems from a phenomenon called “Time Inconsistency”. This phenomenon refers to how the human brain places a higher value on immediate rewards as opposed to rewards they may receive in the future. When we tell ourselves that instead of working, we’ll watch watch just one more episode on Netflix. Instead of worrying about the long-term consequences of not performing an action, we focus on the instant gratification that’s is so easily obtained by something else. However, there is a time when procrastination isn’t viable anymore, and you are pushed to begin the work you have put off. This is called the “Action Line”, which signifies the point when you finally take action due to the anxiety or pain that procrastinating has caused.

So what can be done to overcome your procrastination habits? There are several strategies you can implement to take back your productivity.

The first thing you can do is to make the rewards of taking action more immediate. This strategy is known as temptation bundling, and focuses bringing future rewards into a present moment. For example, if you love watching your favorite TV show, only do it while catching up on work emails or household chores. By associating these long-term goals with a present reward, it makes you understand the importance of setting out to finish work you’d normally procrastinate on.

Another strategy you can implement is to make the task you are trying to complete more achievable. A big part of why we procrastinate is because we get it in our heads that the task we need to get done is too hard or can’t be finished. The simple action of starting the task is what causes so much friction in our productivity. One way to break down a task into time increments of 15 or so minutes. If you’ve been putting off writing a draft proposal for a business meeting, set a time, and tell yourself you’re going to finish 200 words in that time period. By doing this, it makes the seemingly enormous task more digestible.

Armed with these two strategies for tackling procrastination on a daily basis, here is what you can do to beat your habit once and for all. After each work day, you should write down the 5 most important things that need to be completed tomorrow. Once you’ve done this, each task needs to be prioritized by importance. When tomorrow arrives, focus on accomplishing only the first task until it is done. Once it has been completed, move onto the next task on the list. By approaching each day like this, you’ll begin to develop greater focus and motivation to tackle the most important tasks.

Procrastination can be a blissful defense mechanism against work you don’t want to do. With these steps, you can take your back your day and reach your full potential for a productive life.

Avid writer and reader with a curious mind. I'm always looking to get the most out of life! Follow me on Twitter @whatsaschoon

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