March 25 was the World Day of Procrastination, I know, I’m a bit late, I confess that I have procrastinated… Never mind, it’s never too late to react! According to me, procrastination is a daily public health problem as well as stress and obesity. Don’t laugh, it’s a phenomenon to be taken seriously because it affects the majority of the population, regardless of your age, gender, and what you do in life. Procrastination begins from the cradle. In my opinion, the babies crying because they refuse to sleep are diehard procrastinators! Students who always find an excuse not to do their homework are the epitome of procrastination. Parents who answer “not today” when their children ask them “When are we going to Disneyland Paris?” are followers of concealed procrastination, yes we understood your scheme! Bosses who dangle you a raise for ages and never give it to you because “it’s for budgetary reasons, you know, be patient and keep up with the good work, it will come!” are formidable procrastinators. No offense, it’s just a touch of humor. You got it, procrastination is well and truly present in our lives, in every possible way imaginable. Even if it made some smile, in the long term, this bad habit can really mess up your life. Don’t worry, like everyone else, I happen to procrastinate but it never lasts too long. For example, my room was in disorder and I waited a week before storing because it discouraged me and I told myself that it was not so bad if I postponed the tidying to few more days later. But after a week, it became unbearable and I started to organize it all of a sudden! Now I feel a lot better, my room is a decent place to live again and I wish I could do it from the beginning! Do you want to get rid of procrastination now? If so, here are 16 tips to help you to fight this terrible enemy, get ready!
1. Make a daily to-do list! Indeed, a weekly, monthly or annual list will give you excuses to postpone things! With a daily list, you will be aware of all the things you have to do. And believe me, it’s very rewarding to bar what was done gradually! It gives us a better view of what’s left to do…
2. Start with the simplest tasks to do! Easy tasks are more enjoyeable and faster to accomplish. And you will be able to bar your list even quicker! Isn’t that exciting?
3. Do not set overly ambitious or unrealistic goals! Target the stars, nobody asks you for the moon! Of course it’s important to be ambitious but you have to stay realistic at the same time. If not, you will quickly be discouraged! Start with reasonable objectives to motivate you.
4. Every night, make a review of what you have done to adjust your objectives if necessary! The ideal is to bar all your list. If you succeed, congratulations, you are stronger than you think! If you cannot finish your list, it’s not the end of the world, as long as you did everything you could. It means that your objectives were too ambitious and you just have to revise them… Don’t forget that the most important is to get to do things! It’s already a first victory.
5. Give yourself rewards to motivate you! This may seem childish but everyone likes to see his efforts rewarded. Give yourself small symbolic gifts such as the right to watch 1 or 2 episods of a series, a good snack, a nail polish, a part of video game… Having your homework done doesn’t mean that you deserve a new car, please don’t exaggerate!
6. List the advantages and disadvantages of doing each task to encourage you! The goal is to find more benefits of course. Let’s consider an example: it’s the evening, the fridge is empty and you need to go to the supermarket to buy food. The problem is that you’re feeling too lazy to go out. Advantages to go: you can buy enough to make a delicious dinner and buy food for the week, as long as you are there. And you will stop being starved! Disadvantages: you have to get up, put your coat, your shoes and go out. If you stay, you will eat a bag of crisps or dry bread and starve. You can pass your turn today but what about tomorrow? You will have to do shopping at one time or another! What do you prefer? Will you stay or will you go? The ball is in your court!
7. Cut the Internet if you don’t need it! Internet is the main source of distraction. There is always something to check: Facebook notifications, videos on YouTube, pictures on Instagram, emails, Netflix… How can you expect to work like this? Turn off all the social networks and all the websites of entertainment. Use the Internet only if you need to do research for your work. If not, shut it down! Deal?
8. Set yourself time limits, stop everything when time is up and calculate the time it takes you to do each task! This will boost you and teach you how to manage your time. Time is priceless, think about it!
9. Be positive! It’s the only way to motivate you. I can concede that some tasks are tedious but complaining will not change anything and it will slow you down even more! Think about all the things you can do when you will finish what you have to do. You know the saying “After effort comes comfort!”, right?
10. If you have a big project to do, cut it into steps! This is the only way to be methodical, move forward and not to go crazy. Write your steps on a list and bar them gradually to motivate yourself!
11. Know to manage your priorities! Distinguish what is urgent and what can wait, be organized! Write your priorities on a piece of paper to help you.
12. Don’t be overwhelmed by your emails and check them at regular times! You cannot stop everything everytime you receive an email! People can understand that you have work to do. Earth will not stop turning if you don’t answer immediately! Set an alarm to remind you when to consult your emails and continue to do what you got to do.
13. Concentrate yourself on one task at a time! If you do several things at the same time, you will increase the risk of errors because you won’t be able to focus. So adopt a “task by task” attitude, it will change your life!
14. Stop saying “I don’t have time”! That’s nonsense! You have time but you waste it. “I don’t have time” is often an excuse to postpone things you don’t like. Stop looking for excuses and start acting! You are the master of your own time, never forget it.
15. Turn off your phone and TV! Like your computer, they are important sources of distraction. Disconnect you for a while, it will be good for your mind…
16. Stop being afraid and stop feeling guilty! We often put things off until later because we are afraid of doing them wrong. It may seem paradoxical but sometimes procrastinators can be very perfectionist! And because of that, they prefer doing nothing than doing something average. Weird, isn’t it? It’s a very vicious circle. You don’t want to do bad so you don’t do anything and then you feel guilty because you were procrastinating! Be more confident and just do the things! It doesn’t matter if everything is not perfect, at least things will be done. You can do it, trust me!