3 Ways to Prevent and Stop Procrastination
Procrastination can be a problem that everyone struggles with at some point, and not just in work, it can affect the day to day essentials we have to take care of in our personal lives.
According to the Association for Psychological Science, up to 20% of people might be ‘chronic procrastinators’. Not the label that we want to walk around with.
So what can we do?
We are going to look at a few tips that can help with procrastinating, even if you are not a ‘chronic procrastinator’.
1. Frustrate Your Procrastination
Open your eyes to see how procrastinating is affecting you as learned behaviour and make it frustrate you to the point where it stops you procrastinating.
If you’re focused just on trying to get yourself to feel good now, there’s a lot you can miss out on in terms of learning how to correct behavior and avoiding similar problems in the future” according to Fuschia Sirois of Bishop’s University. Learning to see procrastination as something that will negatively affect your life can teach you to simply avoid it.
- Association for Psychological Science
Here’s the simplified process:
I need to complete task 1
I don’t want to do task 1
I’m going to do task 2 instead
Feel bad about avoiding task 1
This is the normal process you will see with procrastinating, the key is to realise that pattern and make it frustrate you enough to break the habit. How you break the habit, comes down to your way of thinking and how you can frustrate it from you.
2. Understand Your Own Ability
When setting a deadline, it can be a common mistake to overestimate what we can accomplish.
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
- Bill Gates
Often, we can think that a task is simpler or quicker to complete. The initial estimate can fall apart due to a number of unforeseen problems such as our own abilities, how motivated we are and will be when working on the task.
What we can do to help with this is break down a task into smaller segments to work on, and setting deadlines for each. This way, if there is an issue, we will know ahead of time and be able to update those who need to know that there might be a delay.
3. Gamify Your Tasks
One of the solutions that can help is to set yourself up a reward for completing tasks. According to a post on the Next Web, the procrastinating comes from the brain protecting us against possible negative feelings. Where we can not immediately see the positive benefit from completing the task, our brain sees it as a negative and so procrastinates.
This is where the idea of rewarding people for doing good rather than punishing people for doing bad stems from. Providing yourself a small reward for completing a task or reaching a milestone within that task can help turn that negative feeling that stops us working the task, into a positive, making us want to jump onto the task.
We are all affected by procrastination at some point, whether in work or at home. There are ways of dealing with this though, some of which we have covered in this article. If it’s something you struggle with, it is worth looking into a method that best helps you push past it.
Let us know if you have any other ideas on preventing and stopping procrastination in the comments!