Many of us have experienced that panicked feeling when we realize a task must be done and we have very little time left to complete it. Procrastination is a habit that unfortunately, many of us master. But why do we procrastinate in the first place? Why don’t we just jump right up and complete our projects immediately?
We may feel the project is too large and intimidating.
We don’t feel qualified to complete the task.
The task is boring and doesn’t capture our attention.
We feel lazy and tired.
We don’t know how to prioritize or manage our time.
Everyday distractions capture our attention.
Even though there are dozens of reasons why individuals procrastinate, it is a nasty habit and one that can get you in hot water. Sept. 6 is Fight Procrastination Day. This is the perfect starting point to break your procrastination habit and get your tasks done immediately, instead of putting them off until the last minute. Here are several ways you can fight procrastination.
Use a calendar or to-do list
One of the biggest contributing factors to procrastination is a lack of time management skills. Many people who put things off do it because they don’t know how to properly manage their time. You can avoid making this mistake by utilizing a calendar or a to-do list in your daily life. When tasks are given to you, or you think of chores around your home that need to be accomplished such as cleaning out the garage or washing baseboards, immediately schedule time in your calendar to complete it and stick to your schedule as much as possible.
Set your priorities each day
Before you go to bed each night, look over your to-do list for the next day. Rearrange your list in order of priority. Place the projects you must accomplish at the top of the list and those of least importance at the bottom. As you begin your day, start with the first thing on the list and work your way down. When the day is done, you will have accomplished your most important tasks and increased your productivity.
Complete large projects in small increments
To make complex and large tasks easier, break the task into several smaller projects and take it one step at a time. If your deadline is several days away, start the project immediately but just do a little each day and try to finish a day or two early. As you work slowly, you won’t be burned out by the task, you won’t miss the tiny details and you will do a more satisfying job. Also, by finishing early, you can go back and evaluate your work and see if there are any areas where improvements can be made.
Many individuals often procrastinate important tasks because they become distracted by the objects around them. TV, computer screens and smartphones are just a few distractions that constantly occupy our minds and use our free time. To prevent time from quickly flying by, be cautious of your free time. If you need a break and want to enjoy your electronic gadgets, set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes. When the timer dings, free time is over and you must get back to work.
Action is key
The first step is always the hardest to make. Once we get going on a project, we usually find we enjoy ourselves and are satisfied with our work. When beginning a task, don’t think about the process to complete it, think about the first few steps. When those first few steps are complete, then you will find that everything else seems to fall into place.
Procrastination can affect anyone at any time. Instead of letting it overtake your entire life, apply a few of the steps above daily and see the difference it can make.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.