Let’s face it. We all do it. Procrastination is one of our worst habits, and no matter how hard we try – sometimes, we just can’t focus.
In fact, we bet in the face of a deadline or overwhelming task you’ve headed to Google and searched something along the lines of “how to stop procrastinating”, “how to stop wasting time” or “tips for procrastination”, right?
Don’t worry, we’re guilty of that too.
Why do we procrastinate?
Firstly, it’s important not to blame yourself for being lazy. Take it from us, that’s just not the reason for this. In reality, procrastination is more of a fearful state of mind than a lazy one. The truth is, we’re either not inspired by the task, afraid to fail, or feeling burnt out and could really do with a well-deserved rest. But at the same time, the procrastination habits are ones we all need to break to ensure we are working at our optimum potential.
Sometimes procrastination is purely a delaying tactic for that menial task as a result of the pure boredom that will come with it. Do any of these sound familiar to you at all?
- Got a direct debit that you should really cancel, but can’t be bothered to stay on hold with your bank for 30 minutes? No thanks, I’ll watch another YouTube video.
- Need to reply to that group chat that you wish you were never added to? Pass.
- Realise you’ve been subscribed to a monthly service that you literally never use? Oh well. I’ll deal with it next month.
Other times, procrastination is a slightly more deep-rooted issue. Unfortunately, whether we want to admit it or not, much of our work-based procrastination comes from a subconscious fear of failure. If you don’t start that upcoming report, or try your best, you can’t fail – right? Wrong.
When it comes down to it, procrastination is the absolute enemy of all progress, and we must all strive to be our best at all times if we want to grow. So, we rallied up the Innermost team and asked them what their best tips are for kicking procrastination to the kerb.
It’s time to motivate! Introducing a short guide on how to stop procrastinating, by Innermost…
1. Write a list: break it all down
By far, writing a to-do list is one of the best procrastination-breaking tactics. It’s really important to break down the task in front of you into smaller, more manageable tasks, so that that big scary work deadline in front of you isn’t so overwhelming.
If you’re struggling to get started, add simple, everyday tasks to your to-do list too. Need to put the washing on today? Add that in too. When you complete these tasks, tick-off or put a line through the bullet point. We guarantee you’ll feel a little better for it.
It’s actually been proven that this is an effective tactic. It’s often stated that the most successful people plan what they need to accomplish, and the proof is in the pudding. Research conducted by the Journal of Graduate Medical Education revealed that a written plan increases productivity.
See? We told you. Start writing that to-do list, my friend.
2. Minimise all possible distractions
In the twenty-first century, we understand that distractions are absolutely everywhere.
Phones, colleagues, friends, the radio, the television, the news – you name it, it’s there to distract us. If you’ve got an important deadline coming up, or if you really just need to get something done, another super important step to take is to eliminate all of these. If it means you need to lock yourself away in a room all by yourself, do it.
One of our favourite ways to get in the zone is to listen to some classical music. Get your headphones out, avoid anyone that could ask you a question, start up some menial small-talk or disrupt your flow, and get to work.
We promise, it’ll be over in no time if you put your mind to it (especially if that task is just cancelling that direct debit we were talking about…)
3. Adopt a positive mental attitude
Positive mental attitude. PMA. It’s the key.
Adopting a PMA is a great way to change your thoughts and approach to tasks, which in turn, alters your performance. Adopting a positive mindset can be challenging, especially in the face of hardships or adversities, but we’ve got a few tips to help you on your way:
- Always look for the good in situations (and people)
- Remember to encourage yourself
- Don’t be too hard on yourself, we all make mistakes
- Make healthy lifestyle choices
- Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people
- Reflect on your achievements
- Set realistic goals
4. Set yourself a reward
A rewards system is one of the most motivating things you can implement into your life. Whether it’s a break or delicious snack, or something way more extravagant like a trip away after a big, final deadline, scheduling in something fun that you enjoy not only makes the task a little bit easier, it makes time go faster and is a great motivational source.
All in all, it’s pretty hard to work out how to stop procrastinating, as really, it’s part of human nature. By taking one (two, three or four) of the tips above, though, we’re sure you will improve your procrastination habits. These tips to stop procrastinating aren’t exhaustive, but they definitely give you a great starting point.
However, if you’re still struggling, why not check out The Focus Capsules? Formulated by Innermost to keep you on your A-game, The Focus Capsules are made with natural ingredients to help you improve your focus and performance, one step at a time.
- Schrager, S., & Sadowski, E. (2016). Getting More Done: Strategies to Increase Scholarly Productivity. Journal of graduate medical education, 8(1), 10–13. Click here.