Oftentimes, procrastination comes from a place of perfectionism. Fearing you cannot complete a task perfectly can lead to instead prioritising other less important tasks, and procrastinating on the one you need to complete.
If you are struggling with procrastination, here are a few ways to combat it
As many of us are having to work from home for the first time this year, procrastination is becoming a much bigger issue. Without a normal working environment it can be difficult to train your brain to concentrate at home where you are used to relaxing, not being productive.
Your brain relies on cues that signal it’s time for work, such as having a cup of coffee, driving to the office, and sitting at your desk. When those cues are taken away work is no longer a habit, and it requires a lot more effort to convince yourself it still needs doing.
By nature, procrastination is irrational. You know you shouldn’t delay the task you should be doing, and yet you do so anyway. It is a form of self-sabotage stemming from a lack of willingness to deal with negative thoughts surrounding a task. If you are a perfectionist you may particularly struggle with procrastination. It sounds contradictory, but perfectionists will often put off a task if they believe they cannot do it perfectly.
If the task at hand incites boredom, stress, frustration, insecurity, or resentment, it is all the more difficult to make yourself do it; hence procrastination. Over time, chronic procrastination can lead to several long-term ill effects, such as anxiety, stress, depression, psychological distress, and low life satisfaction.
One method for beating procrastination is to break tasks down into more manageable segments, rather than taking on a single, daunting task. Breaking tasks down into smaller milestones can make them seem much easier to achieve, and gives you a clear guideline mapping out how exactly to accomplish something.
Often motivation occurs only after action, not before it. Beginning to complete small tasks towards a bigger goal will eventually snowball into getting more done, as action creates further action.
Another method is to make tempting distractions inconvenient to access. Especially useful when working at home and surrounded by distractions, removing your usual procrastination method can make it a lot easier to focus on work.
There are several apps available that can temporarily disable social media on your smartphone; it can also be helpful to put your phone in another room while you’re trying to work. Another productivity method is to designate a ‘workspace’ and a ‘relaxing space’ if you’re struggling with working from home.
If your brain begins to associate your desk only with work, the act of going to your desk is a cue to your brain that it’s time to work.
Finally, dealing with the cause of procrastination might be necessary if it is severely impacting your ability to get work done.
Procrastination often coincides with other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, stress, or extreme perfectionism.
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