In the previous post, we tried to give you an idea of what procrastination is and how does it work. Now, as promised, we are going to focus on dealing with this nasty habit. It is extremely difficult for the master-procrastinator to simply stop getting distracted by all the environmental factors.
First of all, as it happens during any “fighting the addiction” program, we must admit that there is a problem. That we got this problem. That perhaps we are wasting too much of our precious time and receive nothing from it. Yes, once we realize that, we can move on to the next step.
On the internet, you will find hundreds of different articles that are supposed to help you with procrastinating. Well, lucky you, the author of this post is familiar with many of them (surprised? almost each one of us struggles with unproductiveness at some point during our life.) Therefore, I shall try to describe the tips that should help you take those smallest steps towards productivity. Only when you fully realize the scale of the problem, will you be able to fight it effectively.
1. Open Your Mind
Time is our most important resource. It is limited, it cannot be renewed, taken back, created. We can spend it doing great things that will stay in our mind until the end of our days, or we can mindlessly waste it. At the young age we tend to forget about it – or simply we are not aware. Thus, we spend our days having fun, meeting friends, sleeping till noon, etc. It is great to invest our time in activities that bring us joy and leave pleasant memories. However,
It is great to invest our time in activities that bring us joy and leave pleasant memories. However, if we suddenly realize that we’d just wasted our whole day (for example browsing the Internet) and we literally cannot remember a thing from it, then we start feeling depressed. Our first step towards winning with procrastination must be the total realization that time is pretty much the most precious thing we have. Once we are out of it, there is nothing left for us in this world.
The sooner we wake up to it, the better for us. It may sound drastic, even scary, but in fact, it is not. We have so much time to spend! All we have to do is use it properly, and act! Do not fear the risk of failing, because even a failure is better than inaction.
2. Check what you are doing.
Try to make a schedule of your day. Perform the daily activities as usual, but be more focused on what you are doing. Whenever you catch yourself procrastinating – browsing the web, watching tv, staring at the cat outside your window, or whatever it is that you are doing while trying to avoid your duties – check it on your list and write how many minutes were lost.
Then, next to the number of minutes, write down what was it that you were doing. At the end of the day (or maybe a week, that should make a greater impression) sum up the number of wasted minutes, and make a list of those activities that you categorized as completely unproductive.
It may not be a pleasant surprise when you see how many hours per week is being wasted on watching silly movies, taking unnecessary naps, scrolling your Facebook wall, playing with your smartphone, etc. But do not get discouraged by this. You just made a second, very important step towards self-improvement.
3. Get Your Mind Slowly but Steadily Under Control
Now you have the data that is essential in moving forward, and you can take a bigger step. But still pretty small. Take a look at your list – segregate the activities according to the amount of time you spend on them and focus. This is important. Choose one of them – it does not have to be the one that you spend the most time doing or the one that you like/hate the most. Best if you just pick a random one.
Once you have done this, think about it for a while. Does this activity has ANY positive influence on your life? Does it bring you joy, entertainment? Or is it simply a distraction, a bait that you catch. Like a fish getting entangled by the net, you are getting entangled by procrastination. Write down all the disadvantages of performing this certain activity, and try to remember them all.
4. What’s next?
Now, every day, before you start working, think about it – think how stupid it is for you to waste time on that dumb, unproductive action. Learn to hate it and keep that hatred in your head. Whenever your mind wanders off, and you will catch yourself performing this certain activity, concentrate, and remind yourself, that you actually hate doing it, and you should stop. Do it over and over again, until you won’t feel the need anymore.
This should not take more than a week. Then, you can get to another activity that you would like to stop doing, and repeat the process. Eliminate your bad habits one by one. Give yourself time, do not rush, do not get discouraged when you fail. Just try again. This is your brain and it is under your control. Practice your willpower.
After some time, you will notice the difference. Your bad habits will get replaced by those good ones. Your productivity will increase, and in the result, you will feel a lot better with yourself. Strengthen your willpower and defeat your inner demons =]