Procrastination affects all of us at one time or another, and there are plenty of different tips to help deal with it. Staying organized with tasks, taking a 3o-minute break every 90 minutes, and similar tips are commonly suggestions to help avoid putting off tasks until the last minute. As good as those tips are for time management, they don’t do anything for procrastination. Procrastination fundamentally is a distraction. Here are a few tricks to help you find the motivation to get tasks accomplished without getting distracted by thoughts of the never-ending pile of work that is waiting for you.
Unscheduling is a technique created by psychologist Neil Fiore in 1988. The idea is to unschedule your day around work and reschedule it around social activities or requirements that you are more likely to look forward to. His studies found that people who have busy lives full of fun activities were able to get tasks done more efficiently than others who were just as busy but lacked fun activities within their scheduled work week.
It’s obvious that keeping tasks organized in a way that works for you can help with staying on track toward completing your goals. But a list of tasks that are all work–related can be overwhelming and encourage procrastination about even starting the list.
Whether you like to get the toughest tasks done first, last, or mix it up, be sure to add a motivating task or two to your list.
Change Your Wording
The words you speak and think have an effect on your actions and the way you feel. Just changing your descriptions of tasks from those you “have to” or “must” do to those you “want” or “choose” to do can help to change your mindset. Making a self-directed choice to get your work done is typically more motivating than completing a task given to you by someone else.
No matter how busy we are, we tend to make time for things we feel are important. You may be too busy to take two hours out of your Saturday to go see a movie. However, if you realized your house had a broken water pipe, you’d probably find the time to arrange for a plumber to come and make the repair. Although that example is extreme, it shows that you can make time for what you consider important.
Let Yourself Have Fun
If you find yourself canceling social events because you need to get more work done, that could be exacerbating your procrastination. Once you get to a certain point, we tend to get overwhelmed, become unproductive, and need to take a break. Taking breaks is important. Although there are only so many hours in a day, you can make time for anything that is of value to you.
Instead of setting a deadline to get something done by 3 p.m., make plans outside of work at 3 p.m. That way you’ll have to have the task completed by that time, or else you’ll miss out on your scheduled fun.
Procrastination isn’t easy to deal with. Although many people joke about their procrastination habits, they are detrimental to productivity and can lead to negative outcomes. To read more on how to “unschedule” your work week, check out this article.