“Ehh… I’ll do it tomorrow, I swear!” It’s the all-too-familiar inner voice that plagues all procrastinators.
You’re by no means alone — a Warwick University study surveyed that the average person procrastinates for 218 minutes every day (that’s 55 whole days every year).
Maybe you’re trying to study hard, make some money with a remote side job, or achieve that dream body. Either way, procrastination can easily get in the way of your most desired goals in life.
For that reason, we’re going to explain a step-by-step method for you to get over your procrastination habits.
Let’s get started…
Accept that you’re procrastinating
Why do so many lose themselves to the procrastination limbo? Accepting that you are procrastinating isn’t as simple as it sounds.
For some, it represents a deeper-seated fear of failure, yet for others, it’s just a disappointing thing to accept.
Without your knowledge, procrastination may be limiting your full potential. For most, it impacts their day-to-day in a negative way. No matter the context, awareness of your own procrastination habits is a brilliant first step.
Identify the when, where, and why
Alright, so you’re procrastinating… now what do you do? You might be recommended to try out a dozen different techniques or various working styles. When it comes to procrastination, one size doesn’t fit all.
Choosing the right productivity path is a blind guess unless you can identify these three key elements:
- When are you most productive? Everyone loves a sleep-in, but maybe you aren’t so productive waking up at 1 p.m. If you’re bad with time, try out some time management tips.
- Where do you study? Curled up in bed or on the couch? Environment plays a giant role for procrastinators. Most important, you need to find a distraction-free space. Maybe your ideal environment isn’t studying alone but with a group.
- Why are you procrastinating in the first place? Is it just a bad habit that you can untrain, or is there a deeper underlying issue? For some, addressing existing stresses and mental illness should come before productivity.
Test out anti-procrastination techniques
Ideally, by this point, you should know your procrastination habit. Understanding your habits is how you can choose the right anti-procrastination technique.
So you have no problem sitting down but trouble starting your work? Try out nothing. The Nothing Alternative was a concept invented by novelist Raymond Chandler.
He’d commit to sitting down for 4 hours per day with two options: work or do nothing. Whether you want to work when you start, you’ll quickly be working as it’s the only thing to do.
There’s also the famous Eat That Frog method, in which you tackle your least enjoyable task first. The Pomodoro Technique suggests that you work in 25-minute intervals, with plenty of breaks in between.
Even if your method is to break down tasks into smaller sub-tasks, there’s a technique out there to suit you.
Make technology work for you, not against
Technology and media may be the biggest detractor to productivity in our current age. A study found that 62% of students use some kind of nonacademic media while in class, studying, or finishing homework.
These same technologies can be huge productivity boosters when used right. There’s a wide variety of tools you can add to your anti-procrastination arsenal:
- Safesearch extensions keep distractions and malicious sites out of your search results.
- Cybersecurity tools like antivirus, firewalls, and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) protect you from hackers. What is Virtual Private Network? It helps you to disguise your real location and private data while you work.
- Productivity apps are effective and fun when it comes to building good habits. Some of them can organize your tasks into an RPG-style game with rewards, punishments, and goal-tracking.
Be your own boss
A big part of instilling and reinforcing good habits over time is discipline. This means, above all, you need to be your own manager:
- Daily plan and commit to deadlines and goals.
- Reward yourself but don’t allow rewards to distract you.
- Perform regular audits on your habits and skills.
- Force yourself to take a break when you need to.
You’ve got all the knowledge; now it’s up to you to eradicate your procrastination habits for good.
If you ever find yourself in the procrastination limbo again, be sure to come back to this handy little guide.