Managing procrastination can be a challenging task, especially during a global pandemic.
Most of us have been stuck at-home, which has limited our ability to travel, go out to eat, hang out with friends, and even go to the gym.
A typical weekend consists of online shopping, playing video games, home improvement, browsing the internet, and so on.
This constant stay-at-home routine plays a toll on energy levels, motivation, and the ability to get things done.
When I graduated college a few months ago, I didn’t have a plan to manage procrastination. In fact, I didn’t have a plan for much. My goal was to simply find a job and have an income source.
When I finally started my job, I knew the way I was living needed to change. I no longer had the luxury of waking up at 10am and figuring out what I was going to do with the day.
Over the past month, I have made it my goal to reduce procrastinating on things that I want to get done.
This goal of mine has not been easy, however the progression I have made so far has been clear.
Therefore, I wanted to dedicate this blog towards the things that I have done that have helped me limit procrastination.
**Side Note: This is advice that has helped me. This is not one-size fits all. Something that helps me may be totally ineffective towards limiting your procrastination. If there was a certain blueprint to follow it everybody could do it. Therefore, I urge you to use a system of trial and error to find out what helps you manage procrastination. It will take dedication and commitment, but it will pay off in the long run!
Anyways, if you are looking for a starting point, here are ten tips that I have followed:
1. Realize when you’re procrastinating:
Most of the time I was procrastinating, I barely recognized it. I would surf “Instagram explore” for an hour, with “boredom” being my lone excuse.
If you become aware of your procrastinating habits, you’ll become more inclined to fix those bad habits. After observing your procrastination habits, write them down and question why you should limit giving time to those activities.
2. Get your priorities straight:
“I don’t have time” is just an excuse for having other priorities.
So make a list. This list can be mental, but recognize what you can do to make time for something you want to get done. If it means giving up your Netflix hour every other night, then so be it!
3. Sleep before 11 and get up before 8:
A great book that goes further into detail about this is The 5am Club by Robin Sharma ($10). This book changed my perspective on the beauty of waking up early in the morning. Give it a read if you need a reason to start waking up early and how it can change your life.
4. Limit dopamine release:
Obviously make sure you are taking breaks, but do not spend the majority of your breaktime participating in high dopamine releasing activities.
I wrote a separate blog on dopamine a month ago, check it out here for more information about dopamine.
5. Stay fit:
Exercise at least 4-5 times a week.
This is something that you can see progress being made. Run for longer, lift more weight, defined abs, become more toned, etc. This helps eliminate the fog in your brain that is known for heightening procrastination.
6. Schedule your day the night before:
Prioritize what you want to finish first, second, third, so on. Write this down on paper, not on your phone. Put the list in your bathroom or on your closet door to ensure this is the first thing you see when you wake up.
7. Reward yourself:
This reward should be focused on improving your overall health or mindset. Or basically something that is benefiting you.
This reward should NOT be eating an unhealthy meal or watching three hours of Netflix (this isn’t sustainable).
Instead, if you like food, spend some time researching some good recipes you can make in the future that are healthy and tasty. This reward mixes an activity you like with a long-term benefit.
8. Give “temptation bundling” a try:
Temptation bundling is basically combining long-term benefits with short term satisfaction. This practice increases your utility by not wasting present time indulging in unproductive activities.
An example of temptation bundling is writing an article while watching TV.
If you cannot multitask, then possibly set time limits on unproductive activities.
Instead of saying “I’m going to the gym for an hour and then my reward will be Netflix”. Say “I’m going to have a really good workout at the gym, and then I’m going to watch two episodes of my current Netflix show”.
This changes your way of thinking, as you start to focus more on accomplishing a goal rather than the reward itself.
9. Don’t confuse taking a break with procrastination:
Working for eight hours straight with no breaks tends to lead to burnout. You’ll probably even start to resent that work after a while. Make sure you are taking adequate breaks to limit future procrastination spells.
10. Hold yourself accountable:
This is one thing that you decide how you are going to handle it. There are a variety of resources online that map out ways that you can hold yourself accountable.
There is no set way to avoid procrastination. In fact, you can do all ten of the tips I mentioned each day and still feel unmotivated. Simply put, that’s life.
However, the tips I listed above can set you up on a path to limit procrastination, and reduce certain activities that hold you back from accomplishing your life goals.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any tips that help you manage procrastination!