Alright friends, time to address the elephant in the room. I wrote this article as a way to help you all beat the procrastination game, and yet . . . did anyone notice that I posted this a day late? Guilty as charged. But sometimes, life takes a toll, and the most important thing is to keep chugging along and not let it bankrupt you!
While I obviously can’t say that I followed all of these tips this week to get this blog post out to you ahead of time, I can say that I followed them all yesterday. You know, when I finally decided to *beat the procrastination game* and get my butt to work!
So, from one procrastinator to another, I have a pressing question for you: are you ready to beat the procrastination game and finally get your work done?
The Procrastinator’s Guide to Beat the Procrastination Game
Suck it up and start working.
In reality it may not be as easy as that, but it really is as simple. Nine times out of ten the longer I procrastinate working on something, the more likely I am to continue procrastinating it! Why? Because the more I put off work on a task, the more guilty I feel; the more guilty I feel, the less I want to work; the less I want to work, the more I procrastinate.
It’s really a deadly cycle. But the best way to beat the procrastination game is to suck it up, sit your butt down, and start working!
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If it takes you a little while to pep talk yourself into it, that’s okay! My advice makes sure you set up a scenario where you’re the most likely to get started working as soon as you want to. Write down that you’re going to get started on the project as soon as you get home. Tell a friend, or a roommate, or post it on social media. Or write it in your journal! And then, as soon as you get home, start working on it before you have a chance to get distracted. Side-tracking yourself before you start something is the number one way you can procrastinate, so get started! It’s half the battle.The best cure for procrastinator's guilt is just to sit your butt down and get something done. Then it'll be a million times easier to build up momentum to work! #productivityhack Click To Tweet
Keep a list according to what you need to accomplish today!
I’m the type of person who loves lists. Which is fantastic! Because it means I always have everything written down that I need to remember so that, ideally, I won’t miss something. But it also means that I end up with these big, long lists that seem almost unconquerable. After all, when you have a list a mile long who knows where to start?
When I started to parse down these lists into weekly and daily tasks I suddenly became much more productive. I won’t feel motivated to start checking off tasks if I know that I still have 50 ahead of me, so shorter, more compact lists are more effective for me! It’s one of the main ways I try to beat the procrastination game.
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If you’re someone who wants keep hyper-organized but find yourself not accomplishing much with your current to-do lists, this might be a great way to change things up! And if you’re not crazy organized (no worries, I didn’t used to be either), keeping a short to do list might help you feel more accomplished at the end of the day.
Stop putting off one-minute tasks.
I recently found this tip in a Living with Lucie video from Refinery29 (yes, yes, not all of my tips are original! But whose are?) and it changed the way I think about what I actually need to accomplish in a day or even a week. Because those tasks that I always hate and put off (namely dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning in general)? They’re just an accumulation of one-minute tasks that I’ve — ding ding ding — procrastinated.
Think about it this way: that pan that you’re leaving “to soak” in the sink? Does it actually need to soak, or is this the excuse that you’re using to avoid washing it? Or, let’s talk about the not-quite-dirty clothes you keep piling up on your chair. You tell yourself that they’re not dirty, so you don’t need to throw them in the hamper; but they’re also not clean, so you shouldn’t hang them up. In reality, how much work are you making for yourself in the long run by leaving them there? Are you actually going to wear them again before you wash them? Will you separate out the cleaner clothes from the ones that need to be washed, or are they all going in the hamper? Is that pile of clothes what’s making you dread cleaning your room?
In reality, so much of what we dread doing — and procrastinate as a result — is really an accumulation of one-minute tasks. If you want to beat the procrastination game, you need to start taking that extra minute to get these tasks done.Those one-minute tasks you keep putting off pile up to become chores you procrastinate, too. Save yourself some time in the long run and take that extra minute to wash that dish or hang up that shirt! #productivityhack Click To Tweet
Turn off your social media app notifications.
So the other day the vibrate function broke on my phone. Why is this relevant? Because I assumed a software error caused it (it hadn’t, by the way) and promptly reset all my settings to try to fix it. This then reset all of my preferences for my push notifications and badges I had set up previously. Long story short, I no longer get push notifications for Facebook or Instagram, two of my major time sucks during the day.
Honestly, I don’t have the words to describe a) how much less stressed I am about social media and b) how much more productive I’ve been as a result. I no longer feel compelled to check my Facebook or Instagram just because someone commented on a post I also commented on. I no longer rush to check my like count on an Instagram post every time someone new clicks that heart.
Basically, I’m now using those apps on my own terms. Not on other people’s. I hardly check either app throughout the day unless I actively think about it! It’s one of the main and most effective methods I’ve found to beat the procrastination game.
Download a focus app and use it regularly.
When I still had classes to attend and exams to study for, I used focus apps regularly. But you don’t only need focus apps for studying! In fact they’re a fantastic way to keep you focused on whatever task you have at hand as well as to document how much time you really waste on your phone. In order to beat the procrastination game, these apps are a must.
The premise of most apps are simple: you open the app, click “start” and then put your phone face down on the table. From then on out, you don’t lift it or navigate away from the app. Doing so stops the timer that records how long you’ve been focusing. This is a great way to get an idea of exactly how much time you spend actually working throughout the day to get a baseline!
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While you can definitely find your own, my favorite apps of all time are Forest (iTunes | Playstore) and FocusTimer (unfortunately only on iTunes). Both accomplish similar things, but with slightly different rewards! In Forest, you select the type of tree or plant you want to grow and it tells you how long you need to stay in the app in order to grow it. Navigate away before that time is up? The tree will die. But if you stay focused, you can grow a beautiful forest in your app!
FocusTimer, on the other hand, is ideal for those of us who are numbers-focused. You can track your productivity time based on task (studying, meditation, blogging, etc.) and the app will let you know over time how you’ve improved or weakened your attention span during each task! It also allows you to schedule short breaks, similar to a pomodoro timer, which is perfect to help you beat the procrastination game!
Listen to your friends’ tips, too!
Sometimes, our friends just know us best. And sometimes they have the best tips too! Not sure if something above will work for you? Then check out some more tips from my favorite people:
Having friends keep you accountable is a great way to leverage your network to keep you productive!
Set an actual deadline and have people keep me accountable. When I’m using the playwright side of my brain, I’ll schedule a reading with actors and a director so it forces me to write the scenes that are being read.
Rewarding yourself is also a great way to use positive reinforcement to accomplish your goals.
I’ll set a small reward for myself when the task is complete.
Jasmine of jasmineivhunter.com
Sometimes I’ll set small, easily attainable goals that allow me to feel accomplished/not discouraged while working towards the larger goal! So for example, 200-300 words at a time or a specific section on a 30,000 word book
And one of the most important things is, obviously, to keep your eyes on the prize. Starting off with small tasks and getting bigger definitely helps too!
I always focus on the end result – what I want to accomplish and how proud I’ll feel if I did it! And I always start with the task that I least want to do because then I get into a momentum and get sh*t done! 🙂
Seppy of elleisforlove.com
And, you know, my personal favorite:
Get off of Twitter
Shaguna of paperandflame.com