Oh yes, the dreaded procrastination. You know that thing that you want to put off until tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes, it can wait another day. And if you didn’t do it yet, then it can probably wait until Monday.
I like to associate procrastination with this text my friend used to send me every morning while I was waiting for her at the bus stop to go to school together. It went something like this: “I’ll be there in five minutes. If not, read this text again.”
My name is Ana, and I’m a procrastinator
As a Univeristy student who also works part-time, wants to have a social life and handles things like a blog, some freelancing work and an Etsy shop in her free time, I am well aware of how damaging procrastination is. But guess what? I still do it.
It’s like an addiction. And I can’t shake it off. Procrastination is fun when you do it as a teenager (at least that’s when I started to practice it) and you happen to forget to do your homework because you started watching Friends for the third time, but you soon learn that it has devastating effects in your adulthood (not that I consider myself an adult just yet) when you find yourself losing precious sleep over assignments you left to the last minute.
Procrastination is fun when you do it as a teenager (at least that’s when I started to practice it) and you happen to forget to do your homework because you started watching Friends for the third time, but you soon learn that it has devastating effects in your adulthood (not that I consider myself an adult just yet) when you find yourself losing precious sleep over assignments you left to the last minute.
Can you get more than 24 hours in a day?
Maybe not. We cannot influence time. But we can decide how we spend our time.
I did a little math while I was procrastinating to write this post and I was blown away by the results. If I could stick to what I have to do, cure procrastination and actually get things done in the time frame I set for them, I could save up to 3 hours a day!
That’s valuable time that I could use to do the things I do while procrastinating, but without the guilt and the last minute freak out.
Not only would this open up my schedule, allow me to complete tasks faster and more efficiently, but it will give me free time to enjoy myself and improve my mental state. That means I can actually deliver good quality results in everything I do because I am not constantly pressured by time.
So how do I achieve that? More importantly, how can YOU achieve it as well?
Why do we procrastinate?
Well, first of all, we need to understand why we (as people) tend to procrastinate in the first place.
The most common reason is because we feel overwhelmed. Have you ever written a to-do list so big that it felt it would take years to tick everything off?
I did. So what did I do? Because I didn’t know where to start, I kept pushing the deadline further along, starting tasks I couldn’t finish, and only getting to them at the last minute, by doing a sloppy job and spending more time on them then I had to.
Other times, we simply don’t feel like doing what we know we have to do, as we lack motivation and commitment.
How do cure procrastination?
One of the first things you need to do to stop procrastination is know what your priorities are. If you know why you are doing why you are doing, it is going to be easier for you to take action.
Looking at the big picture can help you find that motivation that you need to prioritize your to-do list and actually get things done. You might that this technique will work occasionally. But how do you cure procrastination for good?
How can you really make sure that you are keeping that procrastination bug at bay? Here are a few quick tips:
- Create a to-do list (a daily or weekly one). Keep it realistic to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed.
- Be clear with what you have to do! Ambiguity kills productivity!
- Scale it from the most important, to the least important. Use different colors to make this more impactful.
- Set deadlines in order to hold yourself accountable and get things done in due time and eliminate excuses.
This seems like such a simple thing to do, doesn’t it? But sometimes implementing new strategies and systems can be tough. Instead of going it alone, and falling back onto old patterns, why not invest in creating a habit that lasts?