Friday, November 20, 2020

How To Avoid Procrastination

How To Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, procrastination is not a new term for us anymore. In this age of technology, many of us do struggle with procrastination. No matter how rich we are, no matter how successful we are, no matter the fame we have been able to achieve all our life, we all have procrastinated in our lives and for that matter we still continue to do so.

It’s not something new that has emerged recently in our lives. Ten thousand years ago the ancient Greek followers had a term for it as well 

AKRASIA - It’s the act against our better judgement by doing one thing even though we know we should be doing something else. 

It’s more prevalent in todays society as we live in a world of more critics and distractions as compared to the previous generations. Some of us are so used to the act of procrastination that there are times when we must be doing it, but still not consciously aware of it. It’s been over a month I have been procrastinating myself over writing this topic as it is quite a detailed one, however understanding and using some of the below mentioned methods, I was able to overcome procrastination and get this topic going.

  1. Understanding Motivation: Whenever we have spoken about motivation, it’s always been more about the action. We have always been told that we have to be motivated to start a particular task, we don’t really like doing. However, this is a myth. Motivation is not the cause of the action but the result of the action. Successful completion of any action leads to motivation. 

  1. Understanding Momentum: Have you ever tried to push a car that is broken down along the road? The first push is always tedious until it gets into motion. However, once you have it rolling, it gains momentum making the task easier as compared to when you started it. The only thing that kills momentum is resistance. In this case it could be a rough road. On normal days, we face resistance in the form of social media, going through social feeds etc. Once we understand the importance of momentum in our task, we can easily avoid or ignore the resistance.

  1. 2 Minute Rule: The 2-minute rule implies that if we have a task in hand that will not take us more than 2 minutes to complete it, get it done right away. Procrastinating over simple tasks that can give instant gratification is a big NO. 

  1. 5 Minute Rule: The 5-minute rule suggests to take a 5-minute break between long tasks that covers a major part of your day. This may not be applicable to each one of us. Some of us prefer taking timely breaks to re-energize ourselves while some of us prefer the continuous method and continue the task until completed and then take a break. Either which ways the rule benefits us during the usual work days. 

  1. Mind Motivation Rule:  No matter what our working hours are, we either tend to hit the afternoon slump or have that haze in our minds throughout the night. Having a cup of coffee, 5-minute exercise, just a quick stretch or a walk inside our own very apartment could help us in getting rid of it.

  1. Small Steps, Tiny Habits: The small steps that our parents forced us to take when we were young have turned into tiny habits as of today. E.g. Brushing your teeth, having a cup of coffee, early morning shower, yoga etc. These habits no more require motivation to get them done nor do they take up much of our time today. Similarly, breaking down a complex task into simple steps could help us build a good habit.

  1. Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique focuses on keeping the task in hand small. They will not only take less time, but also reduce the stress and confirm the completion of the task.

  1. Set the bar low: When we are working on any task that is relatively new to us,  we should set our goal lower than we are capable off. This technique may come across negative to some of us as we are more about moving past the threshold. However, if the task is new this will only help us in achieving our goal faster and boost motivation thus resulting in spending less time procrastinating about how complex the task really is at the moment.

  1. Increase Value: Rewarding ourselves post completion of any task not only increases the value of the task in our mind, but also increases the value of our efforts. Instant gratification always results in better productivity.

  1. Parkinson’s Law: Parkinson’s Law speaks about getting the work done more efficiently. E.g. If a task may take 2 hours of our time, try or find ways to get it done in one hour and see how it helps us in getting things done faster.

  1. Be Deliberate: Make conscious decisions on how to go about completing the task in hand before starting with the task itself. Avoid unnecessary distractions that could affect our productivity while we are at our work.

  1. Zeigarnik Effect: Have you ever wondered how a waiter/waitress manages to remember all the orders of the tables assigned to them during the rush hour for lunch or dinner? Dr Zeigarnik was curious to know this fact and she found out that the orders were retained by the waitresses only until the order was delivered to their table and not post that. Quite a smart way to put it across.

  1. Maintain To-Do List: Maintaining a TO-DO list will help our mind avoid wandering during our tasks that are not important and keep our schedule structured, systematic and on course for a successful completion.

  1. Find Solitude: While there are a few who thrive in chaos, there are most of us who prefer our own den of solitude to get the job done. If you are a person who does not like much disturbance around while working, finding such a place at your house or creating that working environment for yourself can be beneficial.

  1. Self-worth: Self Compassion is the key to self-worth. We should be kind to ourselves. Silence the inner critic within ourselves and get to work. Avoid being delusional about the tasks to be done. If we have to get the task done one day or the other, might as well get it done today and now. At the end of the day it’s important that we acknowledge the task we have completed today to understand how worthy we really are in the world of today.

So far, we have always seen procrastination as the issue causing agent in our lives. However, it’s not exactly the whole truth. It’s the stress that is the main concern and by procrastinating you are giving yourself a break. However, we should always know where to draw the line and not prolong the effect of procrastination in our lives and bring it to a standstill. Understanding the positive aspect of it is important. Talking to yourself and more often forgiving yourself is equally important. The trick is always in getting started and finishing strong.

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Written by Jaison Noronha
Idea Source : Personal Experiences & Google