How to avoid procrastination?

How to avoid procrastination?

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Life is short, you know that very well. And we have to accomplish a lot of things in life. We don’t know whether we will wake up tomorrow morning or not. Procrastinating a task means that you are postponing it for some day that may or may not come. Ideally our goals should be set in such a way that even time don’t defeat it. If we can defeat time we defeat procrastination. But defeating time takes time, and proper guidance which is being explained in this post. Don’t skip this post if you want to see a drastic change in your life and increase in productivity.

What is procrastination?

Technically, Procrastination is an action of delaying or postponing something. It can be habitual, influential or intentional delay of something that can affect your deliverables or goals, directly or indirectly. In most of the cases, it has negative consequences to the person who is delaying a task as he is directly related to that task. Looking at the other side, it may be beneficial for a person to procrastinate in short term, but can lead to failure or unwanted results in long term. This is no mere statement of a theory-it is a fact. PROCRASTINATION, the opposite of DECISION, is a common enemy which practically every man must conquer.

Why we procrastinate?

  • Excessive perfectionism

When we cross a certain age or achieve success in life, we treat ourselves as expert in our field. This is the feeling of excessive perfectionism. But the truth of life is that nobody is perfect on earth in any field. People who show that they are perfect in their field are the first to fall for procrastination. Perfection should be in thinking not in attitude. Perfectionism is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you are above all. Ideally one should not stop at a point, after achieving success in his field, instead strive for more. Keep moving and keep your mind ready to learn new things.

  • Fear of failure

Thinking of failure in a short run can be a cause for procrastination. If a goal is set at the start of the day and there is a fear in mind to be able to achieve it by end of day or not. Continuously conveying our mind the message that we can’t complete a specific task by end of the day will force your mind to procrastinate.

  • Low energy levels

Age and health factors also play a vital role in making people procrastinate a task. If your back is paining severely, you can’t afford to sit whole day on a chair and complete your PowerPoint presentation at work by end of day. In this case procrastination becomes a necessary option. If the energy levels can be raised we can complete our goals instead of procrastinating.

  • Focus less on present gain, more on future

Some people are so farsighted that they forget what the value of present is. We should plan for future but always live in present. Focusing on immediate gain will infuse more confidence and raise energy levels, which can force to complete the task same day. 

  • ‘It is ok’ syndrome

Some people fall in this category who think ‘it is okay’ every time any big challenge come their way. They think procrastinating is the solution of every problem. This act of sheer carelessness towards your goals can lead to procrastination.

  • Tasks on To-Do list for a long time

When the to-do list becomes very long and unmanageable, people choose to procrastinate their work. It’s not fault in their stars that their to-do list is very long; it’s just poor management of their to-do list.

  • Lack of strategy to complete a task

We make proper strategy or plans before appearing for job interview or travelling on a holiday. But why not plan for our daily tasks. Lack of proper planning and strategy on how to start and complete a goal, can be a possible reason for procrastination.

  • Thinking ‘Plenty of time’ is harmful

When we think we have time and we can complete a task in no time, we are making a big mistake. People usually make big plans for weekends but when weekend approaches, the ‘plenty of time’ is the only thing they see instead of their goal. Poor time management is one of the top causes of procrastination.

  • Setting wrong priority of a task

Not being able to classify the goals according to their severity is one of the top causes of procrastination.

Avoiding procrastination

  • Make a planning diary

Planning will fix it all. There is a planning sheet at beginning of any diary which you can use to plan your daily tasks. Use your notepad or any dairy to write your short term and long term goals and plan accordingly. People, who have a desk job, can make a word file, text file on computer or use sticky notes to note down daily goals. Calculate the time required to achieve your goal. Suppose it takes 18 hours to complete a task. You can simply divide it into two sub tasks of 9 hours each so that the task can be completed in two days. Now the each day’s task can be further divided into 2 or 3 or 4 sub-tasks. Keep the division very simple like one sub-task can be planned before breakfast, second one before lunch and third one before dinner. You can also make a goal sheet and paste it on your dressing table or on fridge where it can be easily visible to remind your goals you have to achieve. Its rightly said ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.

  • Use planning apps, use reminders.

We are living in mobile world, where everything is on mobile. So why not use our mobile to set our goals and plan our entire day. You can use clearnote app to make a quick note of any task or make complete list of your goals. Just install the app in your mobile from Google play store and place it on home screen. You can also place the app’s widget on home screen which can show your goals or your task list on screen itself without even opening the app. Another good option is to set event reminders in your Google calendar app which reminds you of your daily goals and push you to do it. You can set your reminder as a whole day event which will then be pinned on your mobile’s notification list so you can’t miss any. Also alarm can be set at certain time in day so that the goal can be reminded.

  • Urgent vs. important

Many people don’t know what the difference between urgent and important task is. Find your urgent and important tasks. Important tasks can be the ones which cannot be ignored and should be completed within a specific period of time. Urgent tasks are ones that require your immediate attention and if not completed on time it can cause serious consequences. Prepare your task list on a cardboard or a piece of paper as shown below, where you can list your important and urgent tasks. As clear from the image below section A should be given priority and completed first, followed by B, C and D

Urgent vs. Important
  • Live in present.

Its righty said that we should forget our past, plan for future but live in present. This is the reason, the first thing you should think of daily when you wake up in morning, is to plan your day i.e. plan your present. Don’t make your future or present hold any mistakes done in past or any grudges. If you hold any grudges or don’t forget your past, your present will be affected and hence the future. You must instruct your subconscious mind that your goal should be accomplished in present only; it should not be left for future because future is not allowed to hold any past. It’s difficult but not impossible.

  • Stop making a huge deal

Don’t commit for anything you can’t fulfill. Whether you are in in service or in business, don’t hunt for big fish. Know your boundaries and work accordingly. Don’t run after monetary benefits, stick to the quality of the value you are delivering and move ahead step by step. Don’t make big commitments. Try to make small commitments and divide your task into small chunks which can be accomplished. Don’t forget to stay inside your boundaries while making commitments, because boundaries can be altered with time but commitment should not be taken back.

  • Keep deadlines

The planning should be done in such a way that it includes deadline of each goal. Deadline mean deciding the specific day and time on which you have to complete the task. If an actual deadline does not exist for a specific task then you can create it yourself based on the severity of your task. Making a deadline will kill all distractions and force you to complete the task in given time.

  • Leave your comfort zone

Stop lying to yourself that you are living a comfortable life. Try to leave your comfort zone and you can add value to your life. Leaving comfort zones can be painful but are always beneficial in long run. Comfort zones are for the ones who want to stay at only one level in their life. Being in your comfort zones you cannot think of achieving big. To achieve best in life you have to work hard, you have to hustle. Don’t look for shortcuts, look for real hustle instead which could bring more than what you have planned.

  • Decision making

Life is made up of three alphabets B,C,D. B stands for birth, D stands for death. What comes in between is all about our choices that is C. Making right choice or decision plays a very important role in a person’s professional and personal life. Make the right decision and stick to it. You can read my post on how to make a decision. Making right decision at right time will bring precision to your work and decrease the chances of procrastination.

  • Do easy task first

If you are flooded with work or are in confusion how to begin, then go for the simpler ones. Use your experience to select a task from your to-do list which is easy and require less time to finish. This will keep the clock ticking and also boost your confidence. Selecting an easy task first to complete will create a blueprint in mind what is completed and what is yet to be done.

  • Kill excuses, negativity and mediocrity

Train your subconscious mind to stay motivated all the time. Self-confidence is the key. Don’t entertain excuses and negativity related to your goal at any cost. Don’t look at the both sides of coin, sometimes to achieve something more rapidly, seeing only one side of the coin is sufficient. There will be hurdles and people criticizing you but stay with your choices always and bear in your mind that if a goal is planned, it has to be completed or else there is no point making choices or starting the task at the first point.

  • Stop binge watching (Netflix, video web series etc)

This is the social media era, and we can easily communicate and connect with anyone in any part of the world through social media. But it has diverse effect on our minds. Its taking away our time of which our life is made up of. With the digitalization, movies are also converted to web series, whose main reason of invention was to reduce the production and marketing cost. But web series are eating more time than watching a movie. Watching a web series, movie or entertainment shows is called beige watching. You should avoid beige watching; you can instead go for motivational videos and spend the time in self-development and implementing what you have taught.

  • Minimization

With the digitization, everyone is moving from manual to automatic nowadays. We have a machine available for every task we do in daily life. This has unfortunately caused adverse effect on our lives. To save ourselves from digitization epidemic, we need to move towards minimization. Minimization means to live fully in fewer resources. Why my wardrobe should consist of 20 shirts, if I can manage in just 5? Why should I go for a machine to solve a problem, if a manual effort serves the same purpose? We should always focus on what is important to achieve our goal; it doesn’t matter if we use fewer resources and money. In today’s digital world we can start a business with zero or minimal investment. That’s the effect of minimization.

  • Get a partner in your task or business

It’s rightly said “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”. Teamwork is the key to success. If you are running a business, add a partner in your business. It will increase productivity and prevent procrastination. If you are in a job, build a team and deliver the task as a team, because teamwork has the capability to achieve much higher goals that a single hand can’t.

  • Give it your all

Don’t ever try to play a halfhearted shot. If you are not sure of anything, don’t go for it and never plan it at the first place. Make it simple, use two options in your decision making, yes or no. Don’t delay in making choices. And after you make choice, give it your all. It’s said that you need to be lucky to be successful. But in reality, luck is not the primary factor; it comes only after hard work. Your hard work is always primarily responsible for your success. Work is directly proportional to success. The more you work, more are the chances to become successful. Giving it all will increase your contribution towards your goal, and chances of failure or procrastination are very less. So the mantra should be to just giving your 100% to your goal and leave the rest to god.

I recommend reading a book by Hodder and Stougthton named “The one Thing”. It tells you how to focus on your goal. I have provided the link below to buy the book from trusted source i.e. Amazon. Go get your copy now.

Three favorite quotes from this post –

Perfection should be in thinking not in attitude

Don’t give up on what you want!

Motivation lasts for short but strategy last for long.

One Reply to “How to avoid procrastination?”

  1. Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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