Ever have one of those days where you cannot stop procrastinating? No matter what you do, you just can’t focus on your task?
Thousands of people struggle with procrastination daily. It is usually caused by the desire for pleasure over hard work. Who would choose to write a challenging article over doing nothing if both paid the same amount?
Laziness is not the only cause. Other causes include the lack of being organized, bad habits, and not planning your day accordingly.
So how do I stop procrastinating? How do I become more productive? One way to make productivity easier is to focus on the long-term benefits over the short-term benefits. I’ll explain what I mean below.
Long-term tasks can include getting your degree, applying for your first job, and making a living online. All of these things will benefit your future in some way and cannot be accomplished overnight. All small tasks related to completing these goals will have long-term benefits. Studying your current chapter in college, searching for jobs, and creating a brand new website all count as small tasks with long-term benefits.
Short-term benefits (or pleasures) include playing video games, eating a sugary snack, and watching a YouTube video. These pleasures will keep you entertained for a few minutes, but they will not add up in the long-term.
Becoming more productive is going to involve setting new habits and practicing to improve your productivity. You’ll have to strive towards your long-term goals and prioritize them over things that are not productive if you want to decrease procrastination. Productivity is a skill, and all skills can be improved with practice.
I’ve compiled a list of 11 tips to help boost your productivity. These are easy to implement and can be used today.
1. Set New Habits
Building new habits is probably one of the most important tips I’ll be able to provide. Introducing new habits into your life will enable you to get used to a routine and boost your productivity tremendously. Have something you need to do daily? Write it down on a calendar, your notepad, anywhere. Every task you check off will release the “happy” chemical (endorphins) in your brain. Do this enough times and you’ll slowly be able to rewrite your mind into wanting to be productive.
2. Block Your Access to Particular Sites
Are you an avid web surfer who spends a little too much time on social media and other counterproductive websites? A recent study has shown that the average user spends around 1.72 hours of their internet time on social media. This does not even count the time spent on the internet as a whole.
You can counter this by blocking your access to known websites that reduce your productivity. Programs such as Cold Turkey (Windows) and SelfControl (Mac) will allow you to block chosen sites for a certain amount of time. Yes, it is possible to unblock these programs, but it is usually not worth the trouble.
I personally use this method when writing blog posts. It helps keep me to stop procrastinating and push forward without getting sidetracked by social media. Also, make sure to turn off your phone and tablet or set them far away so that you do not get tempted to use them.
3. Plan Your Week
Planning your week can be an effective way to get more things done. What I do is list what needs to be done next week every Saturday. This helps tremendously with keeping things organized. Once the list is finished, do not delete the tasks. Keep yourself accountable, stop procrastinating, and get them done. Write them down on paper with a pen and hang them on the wall if you have to.
4. Correctly Manage Your Time and Create a Daily Plan
Properly managing your day can be an excellent habit to introduce into your plan. For instance, let’s say that you are a blogger. You can set aside a certain part of the day strictly for blogging. Get into the habit of blogging during this time each day. Habits usually take a few weeks to form, so imagine what you could accomplish with a routine plan!
5. Break up the Task into Steps
Maybe your task is to finish a big project. You can break up this task into a bunch of small tasks and check them off as you go. This will help break up what seemed like an overwhelming task into a bunch of simple tasks.
6. Don’t Try to Be Perfect
Striving to be perfect is fine, but stressing over it will do more harm than good. The critic in you will always try to find something wrong. Realize that you are not going to attain 100% perfection with whatever you are attempting to complete. Once you realized this, you’ll remove the anxiety of trying to be perfect and will get more things done.
It’s possible that the fear of failure may be preventing you from working on a task. Remember that even the most successful people in the world have made mistakes. If you have made mistakes, then make the effort to learn from them instead of wishing they never happened. Everyone who has reached success has learned from their past, and they wouldn’t be where they are today if they gave up and had not stopped procrastinating.
7. Take Breaks, but Keep Them Controlled
Taking small breaks will help prevent you from getting overwhelmed and tired. Doing one task for hours is possible, but you’ll eventually hit a plateau. To prevent this, set a timer for an hour or so, and then take a quick 15-30-minute break. Feel free to do whatever you want during this break. This will give you a chance to clear your mind and refocus. Keep repeating until the task at hand is finished.
8. Reward Yourself
Get in the habit of rewarding yourself every time you complete a big task. Rewards could include a small break to browse social media, your favourite food, or a breath of fresh air. Make sure you do not go overboard with your rewards; this could be very counterproductive!
Do you ever experience writer’s block and don’t quite know what to do next? Jotting down random ideas can be a great productivity booster. One thing to try is setting a timer for around 1-5 minutes and taking that time to write down as many ideas as you can. There are no limits to what you write. This can be a great way for getting your creative juices flowing!
10. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep and Workout
Make sure you are getting adequate sleep each night. Lack of sleep can make performing tasks even more difficult than they would be on a regular sleep schedule. You should also make sure you are working out for at least 30 minutes daily. This will help keep the blood flowing and prevent you from getting fatigued from staring at the computer screen all day.
11. Stop Procrastinating & Take Action
Take action now! Don’t wait for another day or another hour. This will only result in you pushing it back even more. Use a few of these tips daily and start getting into the habit of being productive and stop procrastinating. Like mentioned earlier, productivity is a skill. Work on improving that skill and success will come your way.