5 Tips To Beat Procrastination


There is no quick fix for the tried and tested procrastinator. Excuses abound and self-justified causes for distraction are aplenty! We are our own worst enemies and the silly mind games we play to trick ourselves into being effectual are really only another form of distraction, keeping us from getting the job done. It is a vicious cycle of us doing everything to AVOID, ABORT, IGNORE the glaring task at hand.

Muster some willpower and give these tips a try to get over your procrastination preoccupation.

1. Ditch the distractions

Let’s start with the obvious – your smartphone. Silence the beast and put it in another room. What else constitutes as a distraction? EVERYTHING. If it’s a computer based task you’re attempting, axe the WIFI to rule out the possibility of mindlessly trawling BoredPanda for the better part of the hour. If you need the internet for research, try designating a time allowance and get your research out of the way first. So you’re not allowing your stomach to provide a grumbling distraction, it mightn’t be a bad idea to have a meal prior to starting your work (but be sure to set a time limit!). Otherwise, turn the TV off, shut the door, create a fort of focus, and get down to work.

2. Stop reasoning

Procrastinators are pros at reasoning as to why things get left to the last minute. “I work better under pressure” (i.e, when the deadline is tomorrow my mind finally concedes to focus on the task at hand). “I’m not a planner.” “I prefer to wing it.” These self-proclamations should be recognised for what they really are, unhelpful excuses that need to be eradicated if there’s ever hope of being procrastination free!

3. Ignore your to-do list

When you don’t want to sit down and do something, your mind has this magical way of summoning a million other things that you should be doing at that particular time. Reorganising the towel cupboard. Calling your mom back. Paying your gas bill. If the task is important enough for your procrastination to kick into full swing, you’ll come up with just about anything to avoid it. Switch off the conveyor belt of fictitious chores that seemingly offer an endless supply of “get-out-of-jail-free” cards. Mentally allot yourself time at the end of the day to deal with some of those things that keep finding their way into your path, but make a start on what matters. Right now is as good a time as any.

4. Reward yourself

Set yourself milestone rewards. Write ten pages of my thesis and I can have a bag of M&M’s / watch an episode of House Of Cards / treat myself to a delicious snack. Whatever it may be, try to plot out a day of securing a few wins around the tedious task at hand. A self-reward system makes getting the task done doubly rewarding and will go a long way to getting a bit of momentum going. If you do find yourself in a rhythm, keep going and bank those rewards for later.

5. Get into the right head space

Don’t hide behind not being in the right headspace to accomplish your assignment. You are a product of your thoughts so channel some positive productivity and move into a better place. If you need to reset, a 2 minute mini-mediation can do wonders. Take control by setting aside any sentiment of dread and loathing and instead visualising the light elation of relief that you’ll feel when the assignment is underway or better yet complete!

Procrastination is a demon to be wrestled. Get on top of it. Stay on top of it. Your sanity is at stake!

Naomi Chan

Career Coach and professional career hacker at Team Vanna

2 min read

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