Boring Work and Hard Work Can Cause Procrastination (That Leads to No Work)
6 Techniques to Beat Procrastination
We all come under the spell of procrastination at some point in life, but the sooner we break out of it the better. To overcome procrastination, we must first understand what procrastination is and why we procrastinate.
What does it mean to procrastinate?
Knowingly putting off work rather than getting it done is all that procrastination is.
For procrastination to happen, there needs some work to be completed. Because if no task needs your time, focus, and energy then you are not procrastinating in the first place. You must be avoiding or ignoring some real work to be procrastinating.
Why do we procrastinate?
Now that you know you are avoiding work, the next thing to identify is why you are running away from it. There is always some trigger that welcomes procrastination.
According to Steven Kotler (an American author, journalist, and entrepreneur), there are two reasons why we procrastinate, either the challenge is too hard (that you become anxious about it) or is too boring (it’s banal that you find it un-exciting).
Either of these reasons shows up as a resistance to doing the work.
Whenever you find yourself procrastinating, instead of being annoyed by the voice inside your head (that keeps telling you, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING, YOU ARE USELESS, A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME), try to shut it down by shifting your focus on why you are avoiding the task at hand. There will be one of the two villains in the background stopping you from being the hero.
How to break the cycle of procrastination?
As you identify what is the reason behind your procrastination. Eliminate that by directing your focus towards the task or job in the following manner.
If the task is too hard for you, break it down into smaller chunks and work step by step from one mini task to the next. Also, you can set the mood by doing the easier activity first and then deal with difficult ones.
If the task is too mundane or boring, then try to add the element of excitement by adopting another technique to complete it or polish your skill through the boring task by increasing its difficulty level.
You may still feel the resistance as you get started, but keep working for 5–10 minutes. Because once you keep doing the task, it will start getting done. And those initial 5–10 minutes of resistance will transform into hours of consistent work.
Most of the time you only need a push towards the work. Your brain keeps pulling you away from work because you have given it the taste of distractions by compromising your discipline and now it’s hungry for more. This is the reason why a single day of procrastination can destroy months of hard work. same reason why writers fell off the wagon of writing consistently to not writing for days and weeks. I have been there and trust me it’s the most grossiest feeling. So don’t let your brain play bananas with your time by wasting it on things it finds interesting and not necessarily productive.
Foster Productivity with TEA-Method
To perform any task, you have to give it your time, energy, and focus. All these three when combined and directed towards any task, get work done.
So, to do any work:
first you need to give it your time.
second, you need to have the energy to get it done.
And third, it needs your focus at the specified time.
Remember these three elements have to be aligned at the same time for the magic to happen. If anyone of these elements is missing at the time of working on your task, no magic would happen. By that I mean the task would not be completed, even if it is, the quality would suffer.
Practical Tips to Beat Procrastination
Following are some very practical ways that you can try to fight procrastination.
1. Create a Work-Friendly Environment-
Workspace matters a lot when it comes to procrastination. Check for any distractions and eliminate them beforehand so that you feel fully attentive while doing the work.
Remember the more easily accessible are the things that distract you, the harder it will be for you to avoid them. Prevention is better than cure.
2. Reward Yourself-
One of the tricks to getting yourself to do the work and avoid procrastination is to always keep a reward for yourself at the end. It could be your favorite thing to eat, do, or enjoy. For example, you can reward yourself with your favorite food, play your favorite game or watch a season episode (in healthy portions, you don’t wanna go nuts here). Rewarding yourself makes the work exciting.
3. Play with Time Blocks-
It’s a practice of my own. You can create time blocks to divide them into work and play sessions.
Work block = Time to Work
Play block= TIme to Relax, Sleep, enjoy
Incorporate these time blocks into your schedule in an alternate manner i.e. work then relax, again work then enjoy and so on.
This way you will not feel overwhelmed (beforehand) or exhausted (at the end) by the amount of time or effort a particular task would require to complete. Avoid jumping into breaks before finishing your work block because it’s tempting. Also during breaks do something that refreshes you and re-energizes you for the next work block. The timing of these blocks would have to match your work habits or interest. For example, 30 minutes of work and 5 minutes break.
4. Hunt for Guilt-Free Enjoyment-
One of the indicators of procrastination is that when you are procrastinating, your mind keeps telling you what you should be doing rather than wasting your time. I call this a No-Gain situation because you are neither working nor are you truly enjoying your time.
Procrastination is always accompanied by guilt.
Whenever you feel like procrastinating, tell yourself that if you work and complete the task at hand then you can enjoy your free time more fully and without guilt, that too with satisfaction. You will be more joyful, what’s better than that for a reward.
5. Set the Mood for Work-
Setting your mood has to do with understanding yourself deeper and better. We are humans, sometimes it’s good to allow yourself some time to rest or relax, rather than just focusing on getting things done. Feeling overwhelmed can be an indicator that it’s time to de-stress and recharge. So, meditate if you will in such times, sleep or take a walk in nature. It’s going to help you clear your mental space, regain energy and enthusiasm when you get back to work. This way you can ditch exhaustion and burnout.
6. Create Accountability -
Making yourself answerable about your work can be a game-changer. Accountability can force you into work. It does not have to be that way but sometimes it’s needed. Ask a friend to check on your progress, or you can use a digital friend, I mean an app or software. Warning! Don’t get carried away with setting your accountability mechanism that you eventually start wasting your time rather than simply focusing on work.
So, whenever you feel like procrastinating, try these techniques to see what works best for you. Also, if you happen to find anything helpful, insightful, or interesting check out my articles.