Procrastination. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. If there is one thing we can agree it is that procrastination is one of the biggest obstacles to making the best use of your time. Notwithstanding this, many students and learners genuinely suffer from it and struggle to get their work schedules in order, falling into a vicious cycle over and over again. With that in mind, here are three top tips to save you the next time you’re falling into the trap.
First, make sure you break down tasks into smaller steps. The main reason why people procrastinate is that they set unrealistically large goals and aims for themselves, without breaking down their tasks into smaller minute steps. For example, unrealistic expectations of hitting a tight project deadline may cause fear and stress if one does not manage it. The way to tackle this is to focus more on the process rather than the outcome. If you start planning the smaller steps that can help you achieve realistic goals everyday, then the final outcome becomes more reachable, and you can get more things done each day.
Secondly, you can try the Pomodoro technique. Barbara Oakley, an academic of Engineering at Oakland University, suggests turning off all distractions (including mobile and computer devices), setting yourself a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on working as deeply as you can. After the timer runs out, you can reward yourself for the work or take a short break. Repeat this step throughout the day and you’ll find that you may break the habit of procrastination easily.
Thirdly, it is important to embark on a journey of self-discovery and find out why you fall into the habit of procrastinating. Structured procrastination is giving yourself the illusion that you’re making progress when you are not actually getting work done. Examples could include making excuses for doing other tasks or checking emails instead of focusing on the work at hand. Thinking about the root cause of your procrastination can help break the vicious cycle.
The more we procrastinate, the harder it is to break the habit. If you follow these three small tips, you can learn to manage and use your time more efficiently to increase productivity, happiness and efficiency.