You want to get in shape, have a clean house, finish an important project at work…but things just keep getting in the way. If this sounds familiar, procrastination could be preventing you from moving forward and getting things done. In many cases, we procrastinate because we either can’t decide what to do next or are simply getting distracted from the things that need to get done. The tips below can help hone your focus and ensure you are able to avoid some common procrastination pitfalls — and boost your productivity as well.
1. Define Success
What do you actually want to achieve? Sometimes it can be difficult to get started if you are not even sure what you want the end result to be. Whether you want to complete a single task or a step in a more involved project, defining what your goal is and what success looks like is critical to getting started. In some cases procrastination isn’t about not wanting to do a task — it’s simply not knowing where to begin or what to do.
2. Dump Distractions
Life can quickly intrude, making it difficult to stick to tasks. While some emergencies or urgent situations could disrupt what you are focusing on, keep everyday distractions to a minimum. Turn off the phone (or at least turn the ringer off), don’t check your email or socials and avoid launching any new project while you are trying to complete the one you are focusing on. You’ll be far more productive if you can focus on the task at hand and complete it.
3. Take Baby Steps
A task can seem overwhelming if it is too large or lacks focus. “Clean the kitchen” sounds like an easy thing to do, but if you’ve just cooked a big meal or haven’t tidied up lately it can be tough to know where to begin. Break big things down into smaller steps and you’ll be more likely to meet your goal. Some smaller steps for the kitchen task above might include;
- Throw away all trash
- Put away leftovers
- Put dishes into the dishwasher
- Clean countertops
Each of these steps will move you towards your overall goal — and listing out specifically what needs to be done also makes it easy to see your progress. You’ll find it easier to stick to any task, even a simple one like this, if you break it into manageable steps.
4. Spot your Most Productive Times
Make the most of the best hours of your day, If you are a night owl, then projects that require your attention and focus may be easiest to complete later in the day, when you feel fully alert and awake. For morning people, the best time to get things done is likely right after breakfast. Your peak time of focus and attention is uniquely yours, and identifying when you are most productive allows you to best allocate your time.
Take a few days to really tune into the time of day when you seem to get the most stuff done. Chances are you’ll discover you are most productive at a specific part of the day. Use this info to make sure tasks that require your full attention and brain power are getting the attention they deserve.
Focusing on the things you want to achieve will help you get past any procrastination and roadblocks. Once you begin to see progress, tackling tasks at the right time, with the right amount of focus will help you eliminate procrastination for good.