Most of us would love to know how to procrastinate less and accomplish more. While we may think we have solid skills in this area, there are always new tips to try. Here are some smart and effortless ways to procrastinate less and accomplish more.
How to Procrastinate Less and Accomplish More
The definition of procrastination is the act of deliberately putting off or delaying doing something despite the inevitable negative consequences of that decision. When you look at procrastination this way, it makes sense to investigate approaches that teach us to procrastinate less and accomplish more.
How Much Does Procrastination Affect Your Life?
Before trying to curb the urge to procrastinate, figure out how much procrastination affects everyday life. Procrastination plays a significant role if you put off doing even mundane tasks, thinking you’ll do them later or at some undetermined time. And it’s not a good role.
On the other hand, fear could be an underlying factor if you tend to procrastinate more when uncertain about the task or issue, your knowledge, experience, or readiness to tackle it.
- Your strategies for learning how to procrastinate less may vary depending on when, where, and how much procrastination affects your life.
Make a List of Tasks
Before working on any task, you must know what you’re dealing with. So, list all the jobs you must do.
- It may also be helpful to include a deadline beside the task. That way, you know the due date and can move on to the next step to procrastinate less and accomplish more.
Prioritize the Tasks to Procrastinate Less
Now that you have all the tasks listed, it’s time to prioritize them according to the parameters you set. For example, you could arrange them by:
- Due date
- Must-do, nice-to-do, or do-whenever
- Reporting structure (who’s waiting for the completion of the task, duty, or assignment)
Create a Schedule
There are only so many hours in the day to devote to tasks. To maximize your time, create a schedule accommodating other work-home-social activities and responsibilities.
- Remember that work-home balance is essential to overall well-being. Avoid waiting until the last minute on a critical project and working into the night to complete it.
- With a workable schedule, you can procrastinate less and accomplish more.
Break it Up to Procrastinate Less
Staring at a complex, time-consuming, or complicated task is enough to tempt anyone to put it off. Sidestep this trap by breaking the task into manageable chunks. There are several ways to do this:
- Work on the most accessible part first. This helps build momentum and self-confidence.
- Tackle the most challenging part first. This eases some of the pressure and stress and gets you that much closer to completion.
- Alternate between challenging and accessible sections of the task. This inserts variety into the activity and keeps interest levels high.
- Work linearly. This is a logic-based progression where each step naturally leads to the next.
Aim for Completion, Not Perfection
Few things in life are perfect. Only some tasks will be completed to perfection. There isn’t enough time for that when deadlines loom and others count on you to deliver the product or assignment.
- Do your best to adhere to specifications and directions.
- Remember that overall productivity suffers from delays in task completion by individual contributors.
- Completion is more important than perfection.
Allocate Time and Limit Non-Productive Activities
Burnout happens when task work proceeds past productive time. Set aside an appropriate amount of time to work on the task and take a break.
- Similarly, minimize time spent on anything non-productive.
- Extending breaks longer than necessary is too easy to rationalize. It will also cause you to procrastinate more when the goal is to procrastinate less and accomplish more.
Use Positive Thinking to Procrastinate Less
Suppose you must complete a project or task outside your expertise. This is an instance where you want to give yourself a pep talk. Use positive psychology to bolster your courage and determination to get started.
- Remind yourself that you’ve completed challenging assignments before. You have what it takes and will do an excellent job.
- Nothing motivates more than positive thinking.
See This as a Growth Opportunity
Some tasks are distasteful, not fun, boring, tedious, or not worthwhile. Yet, everyone must do things they don’t want to or would instead put off indefinitely. Remember that life is filled with dichotomies. The core of life is opposites: good vs. evil, happy vs. sad, light vs. dark, birth vs. death, and the like.
- While you may not enjoy specific undesirable tasks, you can learn to tolerate them.
- Use this as an opportunity to grow as a person.
Treat Yourself to a Reward
After completing the task, celebrate. Allow yourself a treat or reward for getting the job done.
- When you know you’ll be rewarded, and you’re more motivated to continue until you’re finished.
- Sometimes, the best way to get through complex tasks is the lure of post-task celebrating.
A final thought: Give yourself a little latitude in learning to procrastinate less and accomplish more. Remember that incremental progress counts – and is self-reinforcing. The habit of achieving what you set out to do becomes easier with practice.
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