How to Stop Procrastinating
This article will help you stop procrastinating. I'm not saying just the fact of reading will make you stop instantly, but it will give you the resources to start dealing with procrastination and finally spend time doing things that really matter. If you don't know what procrastination is, you should read my last post.
There are some habits that once put into place will make you stop temporizing your life:
- Get a better environment
- Use a strict planning
- Don't be afraid to get started
- Avoid notifications
- Think differently
Don't worry, I will explain all these points!
What do I mean by a better environment?
First get a better physical environment. There is a motto that says : "An empty desk equals an empty brain". While this is true, that doesn't mean we should keep our place a mess. An empty brain is actually what we are looking for. It's a figure of speech, of course, but we really want to clear things out so that we can fully focus on our work or hobby that we want to get done. It is way easier to work that way, you will see. If until now you used to keep your place a mess, then clean it asap. Also, if you have some kind of homework or chore that needs to be done, do it. "But that is so boring!" you will say. What if I told you that there is a way to make it become a enjoyable moment? Most of the chores only take your hands, but not your brain. Use that time to get new ideas, think about your project, you'll see that in the end that kind of time is precious, and rather than being avoided, should be enjoyed. Then get a better social environment, but that is a harder thing to change : If everyone around you is partying, watching Netflix all day, etc., it will be harder for you to even work 10 minutes on your stuff. Because mediocrity becomes the standard. If you can, find people with high standards.
Why a planning?
I'm sure you remember all those times where you had 3 weeks to do a school assignment and did it all in the last day? I'm also sure you don't want to have to do that ever again. That's the power of a deadline. It is stronger than the monkey and will make him go away and stop taking actions out of your own will. A procrastinator hates plannings, and when he creates one, doesn't respect it. This is because the planning isn't strict enough. Just a list of things to do isn't enough. It is indeed a good start, but won't be strong enough to beat the monkey. Use dates, deadlines, daily tasks, and use a checklist. It may sound ridiculous, but the simple fact of checking tasks when they are done will motivate you. By example, I always have a top 3 list of things to do during the day, and I don't start anything else until they are done.
You are afraid to be started and here is why.
When you start a task, it will always take 15 minutes to warm up and be productive, and those 15 first minutes are the hardest part : the monkey will try to stop you and go back to useless activities, for his own instant amusement. And he will try hard. But the magic is once past these 15 minutes he will have given up. You will be free from him and actually enjoy what you are doing, while doing meaningful things.
Nowadays we easily become surrounded by notifications if we don't pay attention. Your phone, emails, social network notifications... Each one of them is most likely to break your 15 minute warm-up period and you'll have to start all over again. It's a loss of energy and time you don't want to happen, trust me. So turn off your phone and even the internet if you have to. Nothing else is more important than your projects. Keep that in mind.
The mind is a powerful thing. This could be the subject of a whole article. To deal with procrastination, each and every time you are about to start an action, take a few seconds to think. Make this become a habit too. Think positively about how you see yourself in the future. You want to write a book? See yourself publishing this book. You want to hit the gym? See yourself with muscles. Etc. Once you have the picture in your mind, will you choose to procrastinate or actually start becoming what you really want to be? It will all become easier.
Taking these new habits should help you procrastinate less. However, I want to add that there are good procrastination and bad procrastination. Indeed the idea isn't to stop completely procrastinating. Procrastination isn't always a bad thing. Your brain needs it. It helps finding new ideas, solving problems, all of those are tasks that your brain need to do and those take time, but are done automatically while procrastinating. This is partly why you were able to write your assignment in a single night while you had three whole weeks to do so, because you have been procrastinating the task for three weeks. The problem is that this could have been done much quicker.
And you, how did you stop procrastinating?