10 Procrastination Hacks: How To Beat That Unhappy Habit

procrastination hacks

Here are the 10 best procrastination hacks to beat that unhappy habit of yours. But 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.

Why Do You Procrastinate?

But why do you procrastinate, even when you know you should not be doing it?

  • Oftentimes, the reason is to procrastinate is that you feel you can always do it later. You believe that tomorrows come in unlimited supply. You spend the given time gathering data and preparing for the task at your hand. You might also feel that you don’t actually need all that time to finish the project. So, you keep sitting on it till the final minute.
  • Procrastinators delay doing things because they find the task uninspiring and boring. So they discover other interesting — but pointless and avoidable — things to do while pushing this important task into the background. Because doing those other things gives them instant gratification. This is the main culprit most of the times.
  • Procrastinators might also feel that they are inadequate for the responsibility they have been passed over. This lack of confidence in their own abilities has been often a reason for their procrastination. Moreover, they might also feel shy in asking for help.
  • Some procrastinators are known perfectionists. They will not say they have completed their task until they have found the most perfect solution for the work they have been assigned.
  • There can also be a fear of failure, or even a fear of success, holding them back from embarking on the task. The fear of failure is understandable by most of us — they are scared that the results they produce will go unappreciated and will downgrade some of their social prestige. The fear of success plays out in their heads as they might be saddled with more strenuous and complicated tasks once they finish the current project on time.

Some procrastinators are perfectionists. They don't finish until they find the most perfect answer. Click To Tweet

Is Being Always Late, Making You Unhappy?

Procrastination Making Girl Unhappy
Does procrastination really make you unhappy?

Yes. Not when you’re procrastinating, usually, but later. Your chronic procrastination habit can chip away your overall happiness. Indeed, procrastination more often than not leaves you unhappy in the end. Many people, and quite a few researchers, have found this to be true.

The Procrastination Research Group, run by Timothy A. Pychyl, Associate Professor of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and an international authority on procrastination, interviewed over 10,000 people in a survey, and found that 94% of them confessed that procrastination indeed takes away some piece of their happiness.

How Procrastination Makes 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 it. 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 too stop caring about you and your work.
  • Procrastinators have a strange relationship with time — they often believe time is always up against them, and they have to outpace it somehow. This constant fight against the time takes a toll on their energy and willpower.

Procrastinators believe time is always up against them, and they have to outpace it somehow. Click To Tweet

How To Overcome Your Unhappy Procrastination?

Remember, all the best hacks in the world won’t make you get off your seat and get over your procrastination unless you take action. These are highly effective strategies, but they don’t work unless you work. And right now, even if your monkey mind is telling you that these won’t work for you, please go ahead and give these a fair try.

10 Hacks To Beat Your Unhappy Procrastination Habit

1 •  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 •  Get started now. Whatsoever it is, just get started on it. Don’t pass on yourself any chance to wait for a better mood or a better circumstance. No one is assured a 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 •  Do not overthink. Do not worry about how will you fare with the task or how will your final task look like. It will wear you out and whittle away your willpower.

4 •  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 •  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 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 •  Log out of your online social media accounts. Virtually everything that has a continuously updating feed, disconnect from them. Mute your emails and smartphones too.

8 •  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 •  Don’t attempt to multitask. It’s a myth, because you can’t ever efficiently multitask. Multitasking is just shifting your attention from one task to another, back and forth.

10 •  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 in the short and smart video below, “Really what we want to do is downregulate the limbic system and upregulate the prefrontal cortex. And mindfulness meditation is a path to that.”

Forget telling yourself that you work best under pressure. It's a lie. It's always been a lie. Click To Tweet

Just for you, our unhappy procrastinator, we pull out the three main key techniques from above:

  1. break tasks into small parts,
  2. set a timer, and
  3. begin straightaway.

Final Words

Apart from the 10-hacks-cheat-sheet to beat procrastination above, three more science-proven techniques to get better of this unhappy habit of yours are:

  1. Goal Setting – Set goals for yourself. Make these goals SMART or HARD.
  2. Growth Mindset – You can and should develop a growth mindset.
  3. Acceptance and Commitment Tharapy (ACT) – This helps, as experts say.

And here’s a smart 3 min 41 sec video explaining the main cause of procrastination. Watch now.

√ A Courteous Call: If you enjoyed this, please share it on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn.

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