Just about everyone procrastinates sometimes, but if you’re finding that a lack of getting things done is becoming a problem in your life it’s time to refocus your energy and stop the cycle of procrastination once and for all. It’s possible to truly quit procrastinating and accomplish your goals, but you have to be committed to working on the issue. It also helps to understand why you’re avoiding some tasks, and the ways you can reframe them so they’re easier to handle and less of a chore. Here’s what to consider, when you want (or need) to break the cycle of procrastination.
1. What is Procrastination?
Procrastination involves avoiding doing something that you know needs to be done or that you should do. It could be work, something for school, house cleaning, shopping, or all sorts of other things. But the main thing to take note of is that when people procrastinate they end up doing something other than what they really need to do at that moment. They might do very little or they may do a lot, but either way the important or necessary task doesn’t get completed.
2. How Did This Happen?
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to procrastinate. Sometimes it happens because a person really doesn’t want to complete an unpleasant task. Other times it’s because there are things to do that are much more fun or that feel more valuable in the moment. Procrastination isn’t really laziness, although that can be one of the reasons for some people. But there are a lot of reasons that people just don’t get things done, and a lot of the time it’s because they don’t have a good focus for what they’re supposed to be doing.
3. Why Did You Lose Your Focus?
Losing focus happens for all sorts of reasons, including being interested in another task, feeling like something else would be more enjoyable, or having too many concerns or worries to concentrate. People who have busy lives and schedules might also feel like they’re being pulled in too many directions at once, and that makes it harder to keep their minds on the things they need to be doing at a specific moment. But there are ways to refocus and get more done.
4. Break Bigger Projects Into Smaller Tasks
One of the best ways to stop procrastinating is to take a big task and break it down into several smaller ones. Then it doesn’t feel so difficult to accomplish, and it’s much easier to start (and complete) something small than it is to deal with something big. By breaking a bigger task down, you’ll also be able to get the smaller things done faster. When it’s difficult to focus, or focusing for a long time isn’t working, being able to work through a small task that doesn’t require a lot of long-lasting focus can really be the best way to move forward.
5. Make Work Fun
While it’s not always easy to make work enjoyable, there are plenty of ways to improve upon whether work is “fun” or not. People who are upbeat and optimistic about their work, or who find a way to enjoy it as much as they can, usually procrastinate less and accomplish more. Having a positive mindset or making a game out of work — while still taking things like quality seriously, of course — is a great way to want to complete the tasks or projects that need to get done.
6. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Going to sleep early and getting up early doesn’t work for everyone, but for most people it’s easier to get more done when they get up and get moving. Sleeping late can contribute to feeling lazy and tired, and that makes it a lot harder to focus and get things done. Getting up early is worth a try, and if it doesn’t work after a few weeks of trying it then the schedule can be changed to something that offers a better balance.
7. Get Up and Get Moving
Exercise can help reduce procrastination, but it’s important not to use exercise as a reason to procrastinate. This tip is more about staying lightly active to keep the blood flowing and the mind engaged than it is about devoting a lot of time to working out. But exercising in the morning can make the day feel better and encourage productivity.
It may not always be easy to break free of procrastination, but it’s certainly possible. With some practice and effort, getting more done and tackling tasks instead of avoiding them will become a natural habit with a lot of benefits.