It’s like clockwork. Your presentation is due tomorrow and you haven’t even created the first slide. You’re stressed out because you’re running out of time, but instead of tackling it head on you convince yourself that if you stop to eat something you will be able to start immediately after. Or if you get a quick workout in, you will be able to concentrate better. Whatever your vice, whatever project you have to do, you’re not alone in the game of procrastination.
In our tech-savvy world, it is easy to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Why work out when you can scroll through Instagram for three hours? And how can you make dinner without going on Pinterest first? It is tough to stay focused with so many distractions, but here are some tips to avoid procrastination.
Making a Plan
We know what you are thinking. Getting started on any project is clearly the first step in beating procrastination but it’s not that simple. The reason why so many of us can’t start something is because we don’t know how to begin. Instead of getting stressed out, make a plan.
There are several different ways you can make a plan to get your work done, but the first thing to do is to throw out the idea of procrastination. Instead, try writing a to-do list of everything you need to get done. If it is a presentation that you have to create, your to-do list could be similar to this:
- Write Down Your Main Goal
- Draft Three Ways You’ll Accomplish This Goal
- Conduct Research to Support Ideas
- Create Visuals
And so on. Breaking your tasks into smaller steps can help change the dread of creating that presentation and help you visualize an outcome. With an outcome in mind, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
Block Out the Stress
Now that you have a plan in place you will be able to get started on the task at hand. However, you may still feel stressed about all the things at hand, so here are some tips to avoid distractions.
If you have an office space in your home, make sure to keep it free of televisions, games, magazines, etc. Keeping a simplistic office can help block out distractions and keep you focused. If you don’t have an office space, try going to the local library. A library can be a lot better than a coffee shop since it’s quieter, and there aren’t as many people going in and out. Having the right space to complete your task can help you stay focused and keep on track.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for you. It’s okay to occasionally procrastinate, but if you do it too often then you are just causing yourself more stress. Hold yourself accountable for what you need to do. Follow steps to get things done and know that once it is done, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders. However, if you need help staying accountable you can turn to technology. Post a status on Facebook or tweet the task you need to complete. Sharing your task with your friends might persuade you to actually finish it. You might receive some good advice as well. Another great way to make sure you get going is by rewarding yourself when its complete. Was there a new restaurant you wanted to try or an outfit you had your eye on recently? Go for it – you’ve earned it!