Procrastination is like a Vampire, because during the day its effects don’t really bother you very much. As long as you are armed with a cornucopia of funny videos and social media indulgences, it is pretty easy to keep that all-too-important project out of your mind.
However, it is in the nighttime that it really takes effect. That’s when its evil starts to attack you and freak you out. There are no videos, no food (specifically garlic) and no one to talk to. Its just you alone in your bed, armed with nothing except the knowledge that your deadline is creeping ever closer and you have wasted yet another day of doing absolutely nothing. Suddenly the tension begins to build. You feel something coming into the room but you don’t know what. Could it be a burglar? A Hamster? A Hamburglar?
It flies into the room in the shape of a bat, fluttering against the walls making a whole lot of noise. You try to scream but you have no hope of escape, WHERE ARE YOUR KITTEN VIDEOS NOW? As you start going underneath the covers, the procrastination-bat morphs into a procrastination-Vampire! You scream aloud as he moves towards you, trying to kick him in his nicely tailored Vamp-suit. He grabs your neck and opens his mouth and then right before he bites he says…
“eh, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Whew! You are safe for another day.
But time is ticking, and the only way to deal with him is to finish that work you’ve been putting off. So today, we are going to give you three great ways to deal with procrastination.
TIP 1: Find meaning in your work.
People rarely procrastinate on tasks that they find really fun and engaging. You rarely hear someone say, “ugh, I’ll get to Angry Birds LATER!” So the real challenge is finding a way to make boring tasks more enjoyable.
Making excel spreadsheets for your company’s quarterly report is never going to be fun, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be motivated to do it. The real goal is to find out what drives you. Not in your job, but in life. Is it your children? Is it to make others happy? Is it to create success? Once you answer this question, you will have a much better chance of completing your task.
Say for example it is your children that drive you. The way that you make your progress report important to you is to incorporate your children into it. Focus on how the happiness of your children depends on you completing that task. Visualise the negative repercussions of you not completing that task affecting your children’s lives. By making it an emotional experience, you will feel the need to change instead of just thinking it.
TIP 2: Forgive Yourself
Wait. What? Why would you want to cut yourself any slack when you are supposed to be working? Because procrastination is an endless loop. It usually works like this:
- You don’t want to do work.
- So you avoid it by procrastinating.
- After a certain amount of time, you start to feel guilty for procrastinating.
- You beat yourself up for wasting time and doing this to yourself.
- This makes you feel worse.
- You procrastinate to avoid those bad feelings.
- And the cycle continues.
So what is the solution? To forgive yourself. In fact, there is even scientific evidence to prove this. An article in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences did a study on this relationship.
““Forgiveness allows the individual to move past their maladaptive behaviour and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts to hinder studying.”
“Results revealed that among students who reported high levels of self-forgiveness for procrastinating on studying for the first examination, procrastination on preparing for the subsequent examination was reduced.”
Forgiving yourself does not mean that you should simply say ‘it’s okay to procrastinate,’ but you should acknowledge the fact that you procrastinated, and move on.
TIP 3: Control your Environment
You can’t control your desire to want to procrastinate, but you can control the level of temptation that is there. Obviously if you are in an open office-plan situation, it might be difficult to control everything, but there are usually some things that you can do.
- Too loud? – Buy some noise-cancelling headphones. If these don’t work, then you could also opt for some earmuffs.
- Go to a location with no distractions such as the library or a room in your house with no electronic devices.
- De-clutter your desk. Remove everything that you don’t need to work on your project. A clean working environment helps you think more clearly.
- Turn off your phone. Just do it, at least for a little bit.
Procrastination is deadly, but if you are smart about it, you will always be able to finish what you starting. We hope these tips gave you some help how to stop procrastinating.