Don’t Fail Because You Can’t Start: 4 Ways to Stop Procrastinating
By Syed Balkhi
Do you often rush to get things done at the last minute to meet the deadline? Do you want to stop procrastinating so that you can end the frustration of the last minute rush?
If you’re fed up with procrastination, you’re not alone.
Although almost everybody puts off things to be done later, some do it more often than others. According to a study, 20 percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators who have constant problems finishing tasks. This can be debilitating and dangerous.
However, since procrastination is a psychological issue, it can be stopped by following some simple hacks. Let’s take a look at a few ways to stop procrastinating.
1. Time Blocking
It’s human nature to do more pleasurable, less urgent tasks in place of more critical, less pleasurable ones. One of the best ways to prevent that and increase your productivity is by using time-blocking.
Time blocking is a practice of dedicating a certain number of hours to just one task and blocking it off from other tasks. It is a perfect strategy to tackle procrastination and get things done in time.
To understand how you spend your time, you can track your work day using a time tracker tool like TimeDoctor or Rescue Time. Be honest with yourself and get clear around how you used to procrastinate your tasks.
Once you know how you spend your time on different tasks and what kind of tasks you used to procrastinate, you can plan your day accordingly. You might want to focus on your top priorities and creating hard boundaries to stop procrastination. Then, divide your tasks into 15-minute blocks, because it will allow you to set realistic deadlines without wasting time.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T goals
When you define your tasks and set achievable deadlines, your chances of delaying are much lower than they would be otherwise. You can break your tasks down into manageable steps, write them down, and make sure they meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria:
- Specific: Describe exactly what you plan to do. For example, instead of setting a vague goal like grow our audience, you can set a well-defined goal like grow our email list by 100% this year.
- Measurable: Setting a measurable goal with specific numbers, allows you to track your progress. In our previous example, grow by 100% makes the goal measurable.
- Achievable: Make sure your goal is attainable in the given time frame, and you have control over meeting it.
- Realistic: Be honest with yourself and ensure that your goals are realistic.
- Timely: Set a time frame for achieving your goals, and then break it down into short-term objectives.
Keep in mind that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Battling procrastination is better done when there are actionable goals to pursue.
3. Create a Distraction-Free Workspace
It’s too easy to get sidetracked at your desk and procrastinate on your professional responsibilities.
According to research, on average, office distractions take up to 2.1 hours per day, meaning it affects 28% of the total work time. Think of all you could do if you had two extra hours every day. Creating a distraction free work space is one of the best ways to stay focused and add a couple of hours to your workday.
Some of the ways to create a distraction-free workspace are:
- Keep your workspace just for work. Not only will it allows you to stay focused, but it will also create a highly productive mindset whenever you’re working.
- Position your desk away from the window, so you don’t get distracted by things happen on outside of your workspace.
- Figure out what keeps you distracted online. For example, if you check your email inbox too often, you need to limit it.
- You may also want to uninstall distracting apps from your computer that consumes much of your time.
4. Set Accountability Partners
As an entrepreneur, you won’t have superiors to keep you in line. While this is one of the pleasures of working for yourself, it also has a downside. To make sure you get things done without procrastinating, you can find an accountability partner, like a close friend or a colleague who is in the same industry, preferably who has a different personality from yours.
Now, your partner doesn’t have to be someone who does what you do, but the person just has to be committed to helping you succeed by avoiding procrastination.
You can share your goals with your partner, and get specific with them about the actions you will want to take to meet your goals. If you want to battle procrastination and get things done in time, you might want to consider having an accountability partner.
5. Trust Your Instincts and Start Now
Procrastination isn’t something you can afford to take lightly.
You can battle procrastination by figuring out what’s keeping you from taking action, and come up with measures to get over your fear. Start following the above tips today and make your first step to stop procrastination. As you master it, you can add more work hours to your day.
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