If you are procrastinating, take these steps to stop procrastination now!
Procrastination can be the worst enemy of all. It kills a habit and deteriorates outcome. But despite its negative effect, we still succumb to it sometimes. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why most of our goals fail.
One of the most affected by procrastination are the students. Time and time again, I see students who do not finish their projects on time. As a result, their grades suffer.
There are plenty of reasons why we procrastinate. Most of the time we don’t feel doing the project or schedule it early. We may think we are busy, stressed, lack of expertise, too young or too old to do it, or lack of focus.
Well, all of these excuses can be reasonable sometimes. But most of the time these reasons kill the goals we try to accomplish. The worse result is that being unable to finish a project on time affects our well-being which in turn cause emotional turmoil.
If you are an employee, failure to meet a deadline may negatively affect your work performance. If you are a student, failure to pass the project on time may jeopardize your grade. In both cases, procrastination causes stress. It creates fear.
So what can you do to stop procrastination? How to stop procrastinating and start studying instead (if you are a student)?
Putting procrastination on its end can be a challenge. But, like any other behavioral problems, the antidote is in you. You are the only one who can stop it. What you need to do is change some of your habits. In this article, you will learn the effective ways of ending procrastination.
The 8 Ways to Stop Procrastination
1. Make a clear deadline for your goal
Whatever your goal is, you need to put a deadline. Because if you don’t, you have no idea when to finish it.
This is the problem of most students. When their professor gives them a project to do, they do not make an honest assessment as to how long will it take to finish it. Instead, they think that a semester is a long period of time. Unfortunately, time flies without getting noticed. And suddenly, a student realizes that a semester is about to end. The project? Barely touched.
The point here is that it is easy to procrastinate when you think that time is unlimited. Thus, the best thing to do is creating a timetable for a project.
Setting a deadline will not only prevent you from procrastinating, it will also help you finish the task fast. For instance, if you are writing an article, the first thing you should do is set up an alarm clock. Determine how long you should finish the write-up. It could be one or two hours. But it generally depends on you. Start the clock as you start. You’ll notice that your brain forces to think fast because your mind is aware of the deadline you’ve set. In this way, you don’t only stop procrastination but also finish your work faster.
2. Divide the task into smaller pieces
One of the causes of procrastination is exhaustion. It can affect you even before actually starting the task. By just thinking the huge amount of work you need to perform, you already overwhelmed. Most people divert their attention from the task and start indulging in other stuff such as alcohol and other unproductive behaviors.
But it will not help. What you can do instead is to deal with the task head on. Remember that you don’t need to achieve your goal in a day. You can break it down into smaller pieces. For instance, if you schedule a task for a month, then you have 30 days to work on it. So divide the whole task into 30 smaller chunks of work.
This process will not only make your job easier but also motivate you more because the amount of work you need to accomplish every day is smaller and lighter.
3. Imagine the positive outcome of your goal
Most people fail because they mainly focus on the work required. If you are just considering the difficulty of the work, you will procrastinate. Why? Because your mind hates challenges.
If you come across at this crossroad, your best option is to focus on the reward later on after completing the task. Do not focus on the required work but on the positive outcome.
Imagine what your future may look like if you do it right today. You have to understand that success will only happen if you do the hard work. Fill your mind with positivity rather than complaining about the responsibility being assigned to you.
4. Imagine the negative outcome if you don’t do it today
In most cases, we hate fear. But in some circumstances, this emotion helps us to survive and succeed. If you hesitate to put work on your goal today, if you are procrastinating or can’t stop procrastination, think how it will affect your life in the future.
Imagine if you don’t work, or you don’t study your lesson today, what would be your life look like 5 years from now? Having a clear idea of the outcome of your action helps you become active.
By honestly assessing the negative effect of failing to accomplish a goal, you’ll generate fear. And that fear fuels and motivates you to give more and work harder.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
What I mean is that, the people you go along everyday influence you. You may not aware of it but your circle of friends shapes your thinking pattern. Thus, if you surround yourself with people who often procrastinate, you may also do the same.
So the best option is to find people who behave the way you want to. Being with them will indirectly increase your level of motivation. The key idea here is to select the people you want to go along every day. Always remember that procrastination is contagious.
6. Celebrate success
No matter how small your progress each day as long as you accomplished what is scheduled, you are entitled to a little celebration. It does not have to be grand. A little fun activity with your loved ones and friends can be enough. Treat yourself for a job well done.
The reward is a huge part of any behavioral modification process. The reason for this is that your brain loves rewards and hates punishments. So treating yourself after a tiring work will boost your motivation to proceed to the next part of the project.
7. Act consistently
Once you started the task, do not leave it until it is done. The reason why most people easily get procrastinated is that they work on the task intermittently. The problem is that the time gap causes your motivation to dwindle.
Once you leave a project undone for several days or weeks, it is hard to get to it later. The best practice is consistency. Once you started the project, you need to consistently do it every day.
If you are a student who wants to know how to stop procrastinating and start studying, this tip will be helpful to you. My best advice for you is studying consistently. Read your notes for 25-30 minutes a day. This will not only stop procrastination but also helps your brain to consolidate the information you want to remember during the exam.
8. Pursue excellence not perfection
It is okay to set your own standard as long as it does not hurt you later on. What I mean by this is that high standard especially a “perfect standard” may cause frustration if you fail to meet it. And if you are frustrated, it will be hard for you to continue working on a goal you’ve set.
Many fatigues and worries emanate from unrealistic goals. Whatever you do, you can’t be perfect. So the best thing you can do is pursue excellence and forget perfection.
You can excel without being perfect. Understand your own strengths and weakness. Accept the reality that you can’t be right all the time. If you commit mistakes, learn from them and laugh.
Here you go. I hope that these tips could stop you from procrastinating. But at the end of the day, you and you alone could shape your own destiny. Your success will always depend on you. Decide now and stop procrastination.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.