Determine Where You Procrastinate and Why
Understanding procrastination is the first stage to getting rid of it. What makes you put things off? Why do you do it? Is there a certain project, task, or time of day that makes you put things off? What do you do instead when you put things off? Finding out about these things is a great way to figure out what makes you put things off and how to fight them as effectively as possible.
Relax and unwind
Believe it or not, we are more likely to put things off when we are tired, hungry, or worried. To be as productive as possible, we need to make ourselves at home. So, before you start that next big project, take the time to make sure you’re ready.
Before starting your next task, something as simple as eating a healthy snack and taking a short break can help set you up emotionally, mentally, and physically to do the job well and completely. If you feel uncomfortable again halfway through, take a short break to deal with whatever you need and then get back to work.
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
We should reward ourselves for being good, just like we do with kids and dogs. This is especially important if you want to get into being productive every day. Set up a reward-based system to give yourself a reason to do the work. For example, “If I write this blog post, I can go for a walk” or “If I finish this report, I can meet my friend for dinner.”
Even though it sounds simple, giving ourselves rewards for good behaviour is a great way to start making more productive habits and stop putting things off.
Establish a Start Time
You’re more likely to put it off if there is no point in a set time to start a task. Context, a clear start and end time for a task, will force you to start it. The hardest part of a task we want to put off is getting started most of the time. But once you’ve done this, the rest is easy.
If you have a hard time getting started, set a start time and give yourself an hour or thirty minutes to get started. During that time, you should only operate on the current task. When that first “window” is over, take a short break (as a reward for being productive) and start with a new small window.
This method does two things: it helps you get started and keeps your hands-on time short enough not to feel too much.
Put yourself in a position to succeed.
You can’t be productive and capable if your environment makes it easy to get distracted and put things off. Keeping this in mind, set up your immediate environment so that you can focus and get things done. Here are some tips:
Remove any screens that aren’t required.
Turn off the TV, put your phone on aeroplane mode, turn off push notifications, and get rid of tablets and any other tech you don’t need. It would help if you only had the screen you’re working on in the room.
Play some music.
Some people can work better when they listen to music. Use soft, instrumental music to blot out surrounding noise and maintain focus for optimal results. Try out different kinds of music to see what works best for you, and then make that a part of your daily productivity plan.
Work hours must be set.
Even if you work in a flexible setting, like home or a remote location, it’s still important to keep regular work hours. Set start and end times for yourself, just like you would if you worked in an office for the best results. Don’t change these work hours once you’ve set them.
Check your email less.
On average, individuals check their email 15 times a day. But new studies say that you should only do that three times a day if you want to be less distracted and get more done. Try not to be tempted to check your inbox when you’re working. It will make it hard to concentrate and get you off track.
Make a list of tasks.
An old-fashioned list of things to do is one of the best ways to stop putting things off. Make a listing of what you need to do at the start of each week (or day, if that works better). Mark the tasks off the list as you finish them.
This is a simple way to give yourself a boost and hold yourself accountable so you can get more done. Also, research suggests that people are more likely to reach their goals if they write them down.
You can do that with an app.
Using a scheduling app or programs like Asana or Trello may also help. These are great for businesses or other groups of employees who work together and for individuals.
Asana is a tool for keeping track of tasks that lets you set up your own “virtual workspaces.” You can give yourself or others tasks in each workspace. Users can add notes, remarks, attachments, etc., to each task. When the task is finished or its status changes, you can mark it as such, and anyone following it will be told.
Trello is a project administration tool that you can use on the web. Users make “boards.” These “boards” have “lists” with tasks or projects. In each list, there are “cards” that represent different tasks. As cards move through the completion process, they move from one list to the next by being dragged and dropped. If necessary, boards can be shared or put together into “organizations.”