Have you ever found yourself with a deadline looming and somehow you get lost in the dark corners of the Internet taking a quiz on what type of pizza is best for your zodiac sign? No shame here. We’ve all been there. I once started a whole six-month long apartment clean out to avoid an hour of writing. Who does that!? All of us, all of us.
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If you find yourself procrastinating waaaay too much, the first step is to admit you have a problem. The second step? Follow this handy guide to work your way toward a procrastination free week, month, and even year. Here are eight ways to kick your procrastination habit:
1. Set a deadline
It may sound simple, but this is a must to ward off procrastination, particularly for long term goals. Have you really been meaning to write that novel but somehow it’s been three years, and you’re still on page five? You must set a deadline. And this works for short term projects as well. If you have a research paper due on March 12th, mark the date you want to have it edited, printed, and stapled by in your planner.
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2. And then set more deadlines
Your end deadline will definitely get you working toward your goal, but even then, if it’s too far off in the future, you just totally opened yourself up to some major procrastination vulnerability. For long term and short term projects, set smaller daily, weekly, or monthly deadlines, depending on your project. By breaking your workload into smaller tasks, the whole process seems less overwhelming, and you’ll be more likely to get started. For a research paper, for example, you could break it down into: week 1, go to the library and check out the books you need, week 2 and 3, read all the information, week 4 start on your outline for the paper etc. etc. The BAM, all of a sudden you’re done, and you didn’t even break a sweat!
3. Identify your procrastination danger zones
If you want to stop procrastinating, you have to get honest with yourself. Take ten minutes to sit down and handwrite what your procrastination pit falls are. Mine would look like this:
1. I get stuck checking social media
2. I spend too much time watching TV
3. If someone calls me, I answer it and chat even when I don’t have time
This way, I know social media, TV, and answering my phone are off limits while I’m working.
If you, too, get stuck browsing the web, I highly recommend the app Self Control. It will block everything you want to avoid while you work.
4. Get an accountability buddy
Grab a friend and start having accountability check-ins. Updating each other weekly will give you that extra push to get your stuff done. Who wants to be the one that says, “Yeah, I didn’t achieve my goals this week because I got stuck taking every Zodiac quiz known to mankind.” Nobody.
5. Don’t wait for the perfect ___.
Don’t wait for the perfect time, setting, weather, you name it. JUST DIVE IN. I used to only be able to write when the conditions were perfect: It’d have to be in the morning, my daily to-do list would have to be done, and I needed to feel creative. NEWS FLASH. It is very rare for all three of those things to line up every day. Just get going! Eventually, it will become easy to work under any circumstances.
6. Switch up your locations
Studies have shown that moving different locations while working can keep you productive and focused. So work this into your deadline schedule. Chose a new place each time you work, whether that’s a new coffee shop or just a new location in your house.
7. Clean your space
If your workspace is messy, cluttered and all over the place, your mind will be too. Just ask Marie Kondo. She explains this theory beautifully in her best-selling book. Take 10-minutes (only 10-minutes!) to make sure your space isn’t a disaster before diving in.
8. Treat yo self
The “Treat Yo Self” might just be my favorite procrastination trick. Knowing there’s a reward at the end of a 30 minute or full day work sesh will get you motivated and keep you motivated. They don’t have to be big treats either. A big bowl of spaghetti, a five-minute Twitter break, or an episode of The Office will totally do the trick. Treat Yo Self is the key to warding off procrastination.
So go! Fly away! Be productive you brilliant tropical fish!
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