Procrastination is a bad habit that most of us suffer from. Fortunately, there are many ways you can adapt your lifestyle to help you avoid procrastination and keep you productive.
Quarantine and social distancing have affected people in many ways, leaving most feeling lost, unmotivated, and less productive, leading to many to avoid important tasks and turn to procrastination.
We are all guilty of falling into the trap of procrastination, either just a few times or many times and constantly, which makes us wonder, why do we procrastinate? How can we avoid it?
Procrastination is sometimes confused with laziness, but there are key differences. Laziness is feeling like not doing anything at all, while procrastination is having something important to do but opting to indulge in other activities that are often easier or more pleasant.
We often procrastinate if the task we have to do is stressful or unpleasant. Staying busy with other activities that distract us from the stressful ones can be a coping mechanism. But even during procrastination, we will often feel stressed and guilty, thinking, “I should be working right now,” while scrolling through endless cat videos and losing track of time.
Procrastination is an unhealthy coping mechanism because it has many serious consequences. It causes us to feel guilty and decreases our energy and productivity level, which makes us miss out on opportunities and keeps us from achieving our goals.
Being stuck in the cycle of procrastination is normal, especially during challenging times. Given the current global pandemic and the struggle of working from home, it is okay to feel lost. Luckily, there are many ways you can adjust your lifestyle to break from the bad habit. These are five ways to stay productive and end the endless cycle of procrastination.
Set simple daily goals
Setting goals in your life has many benefits. Doing so keeps you organized, helps you track your progress, and gives you personal affirmation and validation after achieving one of your goals, big or small.
Setting simple goals every day is a way to help you keep track of what you need to do during your day, prevent confusion regarding what you need to do first, and keep you busy with work to avoid falling victim to procrastination.
You should also consider setting achievable daily goals so as to not feel that goal is too difficult for you to complete. For example, instead of saying, “I am going to go on a diet tomorrow,” you can say, “I am going to start eating healthy and gradually change my diet.” This way, you will feel more positive and in control of the task at hand.
Set a deadline
Setting a specific deadline for your work will give you just the right pressure you need to finish it. Instead of falling into the “I’ll do it later” cycle of procrastination, you can set a deadline that will encourage you to finish your tasks immediately without wasting time.
Working from 9 to 5 is not a deadline you can rely on, especially when you have multiple important tasks to complete during your working hours and always think you have time to do everything.
Setting a deadline is also a way to keep you focused and help you prepare for unexpected events, so even if something happens out of the blue you will have had already completed most of your tasks.
It is also important to make a deadline for each individual task you have. This way, you will have a better chance of completing all your tasks at the right time. Failing to set a specific deadline will lead you to feel overwhelmed.
Setting a deadline is a way to avoid leaving today’s work until tomorrow, which will only lead you to be less productive and can create even more procrastination.
Prioritize difficult tasks
This might sound unpleasant at first, but prioritizing difficult tasks is a great way to avoid procrastination and even help you stay more motivated and productive during the day. Doing the unpleasant tasks first will help you use your energy wisely.
Staring with easier tasks might lead to poor time management. More often when we start with easy tasks we put off the difficult ones till a later time until we realize we don’t have enough energy or time to complete them or end up not doing them at all.
Starting with the difficult tasks and completing them will help you feel reassured and in control of the situation as well as give you enough time to complete easier tasks that you might be more interested in, that way you will feel good about your work process and be encouraged to be more productive and achieve your goals.
Make time for yourself
Making time for yourself is an important habit that is not only a way to avoid procrastination, but also to improve your life in general. Taking care of yourself might be challenging if you have so much going on and you might feel guilty about doing so; however, self-care is not selfish and you should never feel bad about it.
In fact, giving yourself the time you need either to be alone or indulge in activities that you enjoy or make you feel better can help boost your energy and your mood, which can help you avoid procrastination, feel more motivated, and perform better in both your professional and personal life.
If you feel like it is impossible to make time for yourself, you can slowly start making small changes in your lifestyle. For example, try asking your friends and family for help with tasks you need to do so that you have more time.
Think about the consequences
Thinking about the consequences of procrastination might also put some pressure on you. Nonetheless, sometimes the right amount of pressure is important to keep us on track, avoid wasting time, and complete our tasks at the right time.
Procrastination leads to a lot of consequences. It decreases your productivity, energy, and motivation. It can also affect your mental health and leave you feeling anxious, stressed, and even depressed.
Thinking about these consequences can help us acknowledge the danger of procrastination and do our best to adapt ways that will help us avoid it or at least decrease it.
Procrastination is a habit that every person suffers from or has suffered from at some point in their lives.
All of us dread doing things that feel draining or take too much of our effort and time, but by going through the hardships, we are able to grow and handle difficult situations better, as well as accomplish our goals and life. Making these five lifestyle changes are great ways to avoid procrastination in the long term and allow you to have a better, more productive daily life.