Do you tend to put off things you know you should be doing now? We have all been victims at some point in life. Often, it manifests when you have a task that seems unpleasant to you.
It could be working on your APA literature review, giving bad news or even practising a new skill. Recent research shows a link between the difficulty of a person in managing stress and procrastination. In that, we can blame it on task aversion.
Though you may procrastinate to avoid stress, in the long run, it culminates in a more stressful situation. You can prevent this by:
1. Start with the challenging tasks
Have you ever had a job that you can’t find the energy to start working on? This dread makes you creative in finding excuses why you shouldn’t do it. Rather than put off the task, every day, try doing it regularly.
Difficult tasks require more concentration and energy to complete. Do this when you are most alert, before or about 10 am. If you wait for the mid-afternoon, you are likely to postpone the task.
2. Create a Timetable
Schedules help us to distribute our time and use it effectively. It can also be in the form of a to-do-list. It will help you keep up to date with the tasks at hand before you forget to go through various literature review topics.
Purpose to stick to it. However, you also need to be flexible, in case something pops up that requires your immediate attention. Set aside time to relax, too.
3. Stop catastrophizing
It applies to those tasks that you tend to make a big deal out of. It’s one of the main reasons why we procrastinate. Since, we may deem the work tedious, painful or harsh.
One way to overcome this is to keep things in perspective. Develop a positive attitude towards the tasks you have. Believe that you can get through it.
4. Identify your triggers
Maybe you have been working on something, and you hear an email notification. It prompts you to look at the details. Before you know it, you are reading through and replying to emails, for the better part of your time.
Try to avoid the things that affect your discipline. If it’s hanging out with friends till late in the night, you can skip these meetings, once in a while. Cultivate discipline in yourself, to get things done.
5. Manage your Environment
Our surroundings affect our productivity. Temptations, such as your phone can distract you and lead to procrastination. Just having a phone nearby may diminish your attention, according to a particular study.
Create a conducive environment that allows you to work at your optimal level of productivity. It should be free from distractions, people or tom sawyer movies.
6. Reward Yourself
Having something to look forward to after completion of a task, will keep you motivated. Ensure that you enjoy this reward only if you what you set out, to do, and not anything less. Use your distractions as a source of motivation.
Say, you will only binge watch your favourite show on Netflix, after studying for a specified number of hours.
If you’ve worked from home, you can understand the importance of having other people who are as busy as you. It also applies to studies. Working with others can either be helpful or become a distraction.
Tap into the moral support and reassurance first, then when done, you can now catch up.
We tend to procrastinate when we consider a task as unbearable. To avoid this, change your attitude and just get started.