We've all been there. We have a task or a huge project hanging over our heads that we keep putting off. The anxiety is growing with each passing minute we don't get to work. Other things become a priority--updating one or more social media accounts or searching for something else on our desk that needs our attention. All the while, in the dark recesses of our minds, we know we're procrastinating and not doing what we should be doing, and our anxiety is mounting with each wasted minute.
Need to put an immediate end to your current procrastination cycle? These tips can help put a stop to procrastination and get you going on that project.
1. Eliminate temptation
Half the time we procrastinate because we think about things we could be doing instead of the things we need to. Kill any chance of daydreaming by either making the distraction unavailable--such as a Facebook blocking app if you enjoy burning time by scrolling on your newsfeed--or simply accepting that you will be unable to partake in your favorite pleasures until you've made a sizable dent toward your goal.
2. Remain well fed and hydrated
One of the most common excuses for taking a break is getting food or water--excuses that just can't exist when you've taken care of these needs beforehand. Have a couple snacks and beverages nearby so that if hunger or thirst strikes, you know you can solve the problem without stopping your work.
3. Plan it all out
When you have a schedule to stick to, the act of finishing a little bit of work at a time feels a lot more doable and manageable, especially when working on a big project. Set mini deadlines for yourself so that you feel pressured to get things done bit by bit, rather than piling the entire project on your shoulders at once.
4. Sanction a time for emails
Emails are arguably one of the biggest productivity killers of our era. Beat the system by having a 30 to 90-minute window of time during your day--preferably after you have accomplished something--for responding to emails instead of interrupting your work to answer the seemingly important email that just popped into your inbox.
5. Have set break times
When planning out your workday, plan out some reasonable work and break times so that you know how long you'll have to work for and when your next break is going to be. This way you allow for some much needed me time and avoid the burn out that a big project can cause.
6. Do not multitask
Multitasking is perhaps the greatest threat to our productivity. While the faade of getting multiple things completed at once is very alluring, more often than not, you could be faced with multiple mistakes or tasks in varying stages of completion, but nothing complete.
If you get to the point of being unsure you will be able to accomplish everything on your own, reach out for help. If someone else has the time or they are able to accomplish something better than you can, why waste your time? This way, you'll be able to focus on your portion of the project knowing that all of the tasks are being completed as efficiently as possible with a far greater chance of meeting your deadline.
8. Measure out set quantities
Setting boundaries around the otherwise abstract concept of finishing all your work makes it that much more manageable to start or do. When you have more guidelines--start time, end time, break time, and how much you will accomplish--it's easier to be productive and get things done.
9. Don't dwell on how you feel
Unless you feel happy and eager to be working, don't spend too much time mulling over your emotions. When we ruminate over and over again about how angry, frustrated, sad, or unfulfilled doing something makes us feel, we simply worsen our moods while failing to get anything done. Increase your productivity and decrease your negative feelings by simply working--tune out the negative emotion.