Let’s talk about procrastination. We all do it, and we know it sabotages our plans and goals and gets us behind with things we need to do. But we still do it! Why is it so hard to stop procrastinating? If only there was an easy fix.
Unfortunately, procrastination isn’t something you can just eliminate in one day. Your habits will likely creep back in, and it can take a long time to change them through careful management. However, there are several quick and easy things you can do right away that will reduce your chance of procrastinating. This blog post is dedicated to sharing some of those things.
First, I will go through some of the reasons why people procrastinate. If you can recognise which apply to you, you may have a better idea of what things will work best to help you reduce procrastination.
Why do we procrastinate?
- To put off something that needs doing, because we think will be difficult or unpleasant.
- Because we succumb to distractions.
- Because we are tempted by instant gratification.
- When we have a lot on our minds or are worrying about something.
- When we have a lot to do and don’t know where to start.
- Because we don’t have a plan.
- Out of habit.
- Out of indecisiveness.
- Because we are tired or burnt out.
All of these points are probably true for each one of us from time to time! Procrastination is really a natural reaction to ordinary human experiences, so we shouldn’t feel guilty that we procrastinate. However, if we want to improve our productivity, it’s up to us to try to combat procrastination as much as we can.
10 Quick and Easy Things You Can Do Right Now To Reduce Procrastination
1. Delete games that you waste time on
I have several games downloaded on my phone. These are useful on certain occasions such as when I’m waiting for an appointment or I’m having a break, but there’s a fine line between using these games for relaxation or procrastination. Games can be very addictive and it’s tempting to spend hours playing them instead of getting on with more important things.
An easy way to reduce procrastination is to simply delete these games off your phone. Maybe keep one or two of your favourites for occasions when you need something to do, but try to choose ones that are not too addictive. Alternatively, you could hide the games in difficult-to-access folders on your phone or install an app that limits your access to them.
2. Delete or limit your use of social media apps
Similarly to games, it’s easy to procrastinate on social media apps such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. You could delete some of them off your phone so you can only access them on your computer. Otherwise, limit your use of them by installing an app or making them harder to find on your phone.
3. Unsubscribe from emails you never read
Do you get a ton of promotional emails that you delete without even reading them? Take the time to go through and unsubscribe from all the emails you don’t want to receive. Not only does this save you time deleting multiple emails, but it also helps reduce procrastination because you won’t get distracted by email notifications so often.
4. Turn off most notifications on your phone
Notifications can be the most distracting things, but 9 times out of 10 it’s not something that you needed to know about immediately. On my phone, the only notifications I have turned on are for text messaging, instant messaging and a few important apps like the NHS app. Everything else is turned off, even emails and social media because I can check those another time. Try turning off notifications for all but the most essential apps, and see if it helps you stop procrastinating.
When you are working on a task or project, you might choose to put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode or even airplane mode. This way, you won’t be distracted even by calls or messages.
5. Delete shortcuts on your browser
If you tend to procrastinate on social media sites, news sites or online games when you are using your computer, it’s a good idea to delete any shortcuts or remove them from the tabs bar in your browser. This way, you will be less tempted to check those sites because they won’t be in your face every time you open your browser.
6. Create a time management system to plan your days
I have managed my time in various different ways over the years but right now I like to organise my day into 45-minute blocks of working on my most important tasks, interspersed with breaks and shorter tasks. Setting up a time management system that works for you can help to combat indecision and not knowing what task to do next. It helps you to focus on one thing at a time, without worrying about everything else that needs doing, because you know it has all been factored into your system.
Related post: Setting ‘Micro Tasks’ for Improved Productivity
7. Write a to-do list
This is a quicker option if you don’t want to set up a whole time management system right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks, make a simple list of what you need to get done today, and work through it in order.
8. Set alarms
Alarms can be a useful tool to get you back on track if you have a tendency to procrastinate. Decide in advance what time you are going to work on a certain project or do a certain task. Then set an alarm and stick to it. Alternatively, you can just set regular alarms throughout the day reminding you not to procrastinate!
9. Declutter your workspace
They say a cluttered space means a cluttered mind. A cluttered mind in turn leads to procrastination! Personally, I find it so much easier to get on with things when my surroundings are tidy and organised. If you’re struggling to work without procrastinating, maybe go round and have a decluttering and tidying session in your workspace.
Related post: 8 Ways To Declutter Your Home By Going Digital
10. If something’s on your mind, sort it out first
Often, we procrastinate because something is on our mind. For example, there might be a conversation you need to have with a friend or family member. This may not be as urgent as, say, a presentation you need to write or some work you need to do for a deadline. But if you can’t stop thinking about the conversation, you’ll find it hard to focus on your work. Therefore, it’s best to go and do that thing first to get it off your mind.
Have you got procrastination under control?
I have by no means got good control over procrastination – in fact, I procrastinated several times whilst writing this post! However, I enjoyed sharing some of the things that have helped me to reduce procrastination overall, and I hope you’ve picked up some tips. I think reducing procrastination is a long-term goal and it can be gradually reduced over time, but it’s impossible to be perfect and never procrastinate. We are only human, after all!
Do you have any tips for reducing procrastination? Have you done any of the things mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below!