We all have those days where we have work to do, reviews to write, deadlines to make, homework to do …
The problem? We can’t get anything done!
We keep procrastinating and putting everything off, which only makes things worse because now you have even more things to do the next day and it’s all chaos and panic and self-destruction from there on out.
Do you want to stay happy and not be reduced to a puddle of stress?
No worries. I’ve got you covered. Here are my top ten tips for beating procrastination.
1. Make a To-Do List
This is so simple it’s almost ridiculous. Do you feel like you’ve got a million and one things to do? Do you think you’ll forget to do about a 107 of those things?
Well, there’s an easy solution: make a to-do list.
It’s a surefire way to remember everything you’re supposed to do. It also helps beat procristantion because there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to scratch off an item on your list.
There are several ways you can make a to-do list. You can use a pen and a piece of paper and simply write down everything you want or need to do that day.
Or, you can be a bit fancier and use pretty stationary (such as a bullet journal!) or an app. Since I’m too much of a perfectionist to keep a bullet journal (not to mention there’s not an artistic bone in my body) I usually opt for pen and paper or an app / tool.
Apps and tools I recommend: Todoist, Trello, and good old Google Calendar. I advise you to make different categories for each task. For example, I use Google Calendar and have categories such as Blogging, Writing, Work, Free Time, and a few others. Here’s a screenshot
2. Do the Easy Stuff First
This might seem counterintuitive, but I promise it works. If you have an essay or a book review to write but also have emails to answer, do the email first. Go for the tasks that are quick and easy first and build some momentum. Before you know it, you can scratch off several items on your to-do list and you can start on the harder stuff.
3. Break the Hard Tasks up into Tiny Parts
Speaking of, how to handle say “Learn French” or “Write 5 reviews and 2 blog posts” ? Obviously, these are tasks that will take a lot of time and effort or are simply too big and overwhelming to handle. To make sure you don’t bail out, try breaking up the big, scary tasks into small ones. Take babysteps.
Don’t say, “I want to learn French”. Instead, say, “I want to learn twenty new words today.” Don’t say “I need to write 5 review.” Instead, say, “I’m going to write one review.” (Tip: start with the one you’re most excited about! That’ll get the ball rolling)
4. Use the Pomodoro Technique
There are some days you just know you’re going to have to work or study all day to get things done and you’ll hardly have any free time. This might stop you from even doing one thing on your list, so you need a different approach.
Don’t think: “Oh, I’m going to be stuck at this desk the whole day and it’s going to suck.”
Think: “I’m going to work for 25 minutes and then I’ll take a break.”
This is the Pomodoro Technique. If 25 minutes is too challenging, start with 15. I’m telling you, this is a great time management technique. You know why? Because it tricks you into starting and chances are that once you’ve started, you won’t need a break every 15 or 25 minutes. You’ll be in the groove and getting A LOT work done.
5. Stay Away from the Internet
This doesn’t need any explanation. We all check Facebook or Instagram or Goodreads or watch cat videos. Basically, the internet is one giant distraction and it’s getting in your way of getting things done.
The solution? Turn off the internet and leave your phone on the other side of the room.
Pro Tip: Use StayFocusd. “StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.” It’s kind of evil but also genius.
6. Set a Goal and Tell Someone About It
This works great for me because I HATE FAILING as do most people. It’s the reason why I set up a Goodreads Challenge at the beginning of the year; I just knew it would motivate me to read more… and it has (I’ve almost reached my goal!)
This works for writing too. (Just think of NaNoWriMo)
And running. (Sign up for a race)
And literally everything else.
7. Treat Yo Self
Have you finished an item on your list?
Time for a reward!
This can be literally anything (5 minutes of Facebook, cake, 10 minutes of reading, cake …) but don’t go overboard. Don’t reward yourself for doing five minutes of work by taking 50 minutes off.
8. Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t done as much as you would’ve liked. Tomorrow is another day and you can try again. Feeling guilty will only increase your chances of procrastinating. So take it easy and start with renewed energy the next day!
9. Go Hardcore: Ask Yourself Why You’re Procrastinating
I’m not a psychiatrist, but it’s been proven that this works. If you ask yourself why you’re procrastinating, it might help you work through your issues and start doing the thing you’re avoiding doing.
(I hope that made sense)
For example, I know that I procrastinate writing because I’m afraid whatever I write will never be good enough. This stops me from writing in the first place, which is bad. The obvious solution is to…
10. Just Start!!
Stop doubting yourself. Stop being a perfectionist.
START and DO IT.
You got this.
Do you procrastinate? How do you get things done? Will you be using one of my tips? Let me know in the comments!