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Beat procrastination

MIND OVER MATTER: Mentally moving past procrastination can help you feel more positive

HAVE YOU ever faced a situation where you need to finish an important task but
then find you end up thinking about the new series on Netflix that you watched last night? Or you find that instead of dealing with the task at hand you have to do the dishes? Or that you spend at least half an hour on Google looking up the latest celebrity gossip? Next thing you know, it’s the end of the day and the important task you aimed to complete remains unfinished.

For many people, procrastination is one of those things that seems like a mysterious force that stops them from do- ing what they really want to do with their lives and is impossible to overcome.

There are several reasons why people procrastinate. Among them are fear. When you feel anxious about a task that involves learning a new skill that seems beyond your capability it’s understandable to want to avoid dealing with it because the fear of failure can loom large. Not knowing where to start is another common problem among procrastinators.
This can make a task look overwhelming, so much so that it feels more comfortable not to do anything or do something you’re more familiar with.

While it is normal to a certain degree, it can be troubling if it is chronic enough that it gets in the way of your success.

Here are some simple procrastination tips to make it more difficult for you to procrastinate.

1. Face the problem
The first of thing to do to overcome procrastinating is to recognise that you are procrastinating.

The first step in solving the problem is to recognise that you have a problem.
2. Learn the causes
The second tip is to know what is causing your procrastination in the first place.

Are you disorganised or just feeling overwhelmed? Do you find the task unpleasant? Are you a perfectionist? Are you unable to make up your mind?

3. Get organised
It's important to use time-management tools such as schedules and stick to them.
Your goals must be time-bound.

Make to-do lists in priority order so that the importance of each task relative to the others is right in front of you where you can't ignore it.

Another effective tool that should be included is the urgent/important matrix popularised by Stephen Covey. This is a revolutionised to-do list.

Get a piece of paper and divide it into four quadrants. In the first quadrant, write down tasks that are urgent and important. In second quadrant, write the tasks that are important but not urgent. The third quadrant is for tasks that are urgent but not important. The last quadrant is for tasks that are not urgent and not important.

This is a good tool because it forces you to think of which quadrant each task falls. Ideally, you should be spending most of your time on quadrant one and quadrant two tasks.

4. Break down the tasks
This tip should help if you're feeling overwhelmed.

Break down the big tasks into several small chunks and schedule each one. Start with a couple of easy chunks just to get you started. This will build your confidence enough to let you move on to the more difficult chunks.

If you find yourself procrastinating because you find the task unpleasant, or you are a perfectionist, or you can't make up your mind, use these tips: Tell yourself that you need to do it anyway, so you might as well do it now.

Another way to get yourself motivated is thinking how your employer hired you to take charge of certain tasks that are important to the company. Guilt might just get you started.

Also, you know what they say about eating a bug first thing in the morning? The rest of the day will be a breeze.

5. Reward yourself
Promise to reward yourself, and really reward yourself when you finish the daunting task!
It can be chocolate or ice cream, a massage or a nice date with your partner.

If you make small promises to yourself and see them through, the tasks you hate won't be as difficult to start.

Instead of finding excuses that prevent you from doing your work, you'll find yourself looking forward to the little treat instead.

So, the next time you find yourself tempted to go on a coffee break to avoid starting an important project, try out these procrastination tips.

Procrastination is a habit that is difficult to overcome. Constantly putting off tasks that need to be done until a later time can have seriously negative effects on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Start taking more control of your life with these simple procrastination tips.

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