If you have always wondered about how to stop procrastinating, here are the 10 best procrastination hacks to beat that unhappy habit of yours.
But first, let’s explore a few questions before letting out those hacks. Still, you may jump over to the last part of this post to read them.
The first thing to remember is that procrastination is a voluntary activity. It’s something that you do on purpose, and not something that happens by chance. You may define it as an intentional delay in taking action.
Procrastinators believe the time is always up against them, and they have to outpace it somehow. They’re often perfectionists who don’t finish until they find the perfect answer.
How To Stop Procrastinating: 10 Hacks To Overcome Your Procrastination Habit
All the best hacks in the world won’t make you get over your procrastination unless you take action.
Even if your monkey mind is telling you that these won’t work for you, please keep an open mind and give these a fair try. They won’t work unless you work. So, get going as soon as you finish this.
Here are 10 highly effective hacks to overcome your procrastination habit:
1. Acknowledge The Problem
• Recognize and admit that you have a problem with delaying things deliberately and needlessly. Know that it’s you who is subverting your own plans. This is the first step.
2. Start To Work On It Now
• Get started now. Whatsoever it is, you just get started on it. Don’t pass on yourself any chance to wait for a better mood or a better circumstance. No one has an assured future. Your body cells are dying, and new cells are being created all the time. Even your own brain treats your future self as a stranger.
3. Stop Overthinking It
• Do not overthink. Do not worry about how would you fare with the task or how will your final task look like. It will wear you out and whittle away your willpower. Read this in-depth article on how to stop overthinking.
4. Break it Down Into Mini-Tasks
• Break down your task into small bites. Fix timelines for completing each of these sub-tasks. And be kind to yourself, to forgive yourself when you fault on meeting a timeline.
5. Use The Pomodoro Technique
• Adopt the Pomodoro technique. It’s a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo, in which you specify a timer for 25 minutes (or more, or less), and keep your nose down at the task till the timer bell rings. This lets you work without distractions. When you’re done, take a break.
6. Make It Interesting
• Make the task interesting. At least make the most boring parts of it interesting by turning it into a game you’d enjoy. Ask for help on how can you make it interesting.
7. Remove Social Media Distractions
• Log out of your online social media accounts. Virtually everything that has a continuously updating feed, go ahead and disconnect from them. Mute your emails and smartphones too.
8. “You’re Not A Last-Minute Hero”
• Forget telling yourself that you work best under pressure. It’s a lie. In all your past experiences, all the jobs that you finished in the eleventh hour were results of not having them done when you had enough time, and not because you were given that small window of time.
9. Stop Trying To Multi-Task
• Don’t attempt to multitask. Plenty of us have got ourselves hooked to multitasking, a trendy, attractive, but fatally deceptive addiction. However, it’s a myth that multitasking makes you more productive.
You can’t achieve more by trying to do several things at once; believing otherwise is only an illusion.
Multitasking is shifting your attention back and forth from one task to another. This on-and-off focus-switching makes you inefficient, and lowers the quality of your work.
Devora Zack explains in her amazing book Singletasking: Get More Done-One Thing At A Time how doing one thing at a time decreases stress, enhances productivity, and creates higher-quality output.
10. Practice Mindfulness
• Practice mindfulness. It can help you observe the present moment non-judgmentally, without fear or anxiety. Once your anxiety about the present is gone, you find it easy to start working on your project. Mindfulness can help us overcome procrastination by paring down our instant gratification urges regulated by the brain’s limbic system.
As Dr. Timothy Pychyl says: “Really what we want to do is downregulate the limbic system and upregulate the prefrontal cortex. And mindfulness meditation is a path to that.”
3 Quick Hacks To Stop Procrastination
Just for you, our unhappy procrastinator, we pull out the three main key techniques from the ten above:
- Break tasks into small parts,
- Set a timer, and
- Begin right away.
How Does Procrastination Make You Unhappy?
- Procrastination can harm your relationships — personal and professional. If you’re habitually late at a date with your friend, or mostly show up late at office meetings, you are definitely causing yourself to settle into a quicksand of bad reputation. It will be an open secret that you do not care about other people in your life.
- Apart from the reason that procrastinators lose their social connections, which are our greatest source of happiness, they also suffer from regret. The regret comes in at a point when they recognize they can’t mend it by any Herculean means at all.
- Most chronic procrastinators become liars as well, cooking up elaborate excuses to justify their being late. Nevertheless, sooner than later, they start getting caught. Initially, people see through the lies and choose not to mention them. Later on, when they know they are hearing another lie, they show what they believe about it — with just a sly smile or a full-on verbal rap. Still, later, they stop caring about you and your work.
- Procrastinators have a strange relationship with time — they often believe that time is always up against them, and they have to outpace it somehow. This constant fight against time takes a toll on their energy and willpower.
9 Procrastination Hacks For A Zen Guy
- Attack your most important task.
- Create a “Do A Little Bit Now” habit.
- Set a deadline and tell others about it.
- Work for 10 minutes, and take a 2-minute break.
- Give yourself a reward for doing it for 10 minutes.
- Work for 30 minutes, then take a 10-minute break.
- Think about the task’s benefits and positive aspects.
- Remove all distractions from your work environment.
- Appoint or hire a taskmaster to force your throrugh the work.
Does Procrastination Make You Unhappy?
Yes, procrastination can make a person unhappy. Not while they are doing it, but usually later on. A chronic procrastination habit can reduce one’s overall happiness. Research shows one major reason for this is regret.
When you procrastinate, how does it impact your happiness? Find out here in this Lifehack article by the same author.
Dive into the following three highly helpful articles:
- Goal Setting: Set goals for yourself. Make these goals SMART or HARD.
- Growth Mindset: You can and should develop a growth mindset.
- 7 Steps To Change Any Habit (Using Psychology)
- Always Late To Every Meeting? A 5-Step Solution.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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