We’ve all suffered from procrastination at some point – it’s a habit that sees us stuck in a rut, postponing an important project, or leaving a piece of work to the last minute.
While procrastination is sometimes connected to a lack of discipline, we usually avoid doing something when we feel out of our depth and are fearful of failure. Sometimes procrastination can also be caused by low-energy levels which can be linked to stress or fatigue. Ultimately, there are many reasons why procrastination gets the better of so many of us.
If you find yourself struggling with getting stuck into a new challenge, or finishing it in a timely manner, the following top tips should help to pave a proactive way forward:
Be positive: telling yourself “I can’t do this” or “it’s too hard” will undermine your confidence from the outset. Changing the way we talk to ourselves is an important way to boost our confidence – simply starting a new challenge with “I will be able to finish this” sets the right tone. It’s about being kind to yourself at a time when you’re feeling most stressed.
Just do it: the first few minutes of a task are always the hardest and sometimes it takes just one idea or a few sentences to find your stride. Breaking up your study sessions into 10 minute bursts and mapping out a list of ‘to dos’ for your project plan can be very helpful. Reward yourself with little breaks – get up and walk around or stretch.
Switch off your technology: social media and cellphones are a significant part of all of our lives, but when it comes to study and completing assignments, they present too much of a distraction. Switch them off while studying so you’re not tempted to check messages or scroll through status updates – you can always turn your technology back on during breaks.
Healthy body, healthy mind: When starting a new project, or entering an intensive phase of study, it’s the simple things that are the most significant – good hydration, a balanced diet, regular exercise and taking time to clear the mind are all positive steps towards boosting productivity.
Celebrate the wins: many of us find it hard to give ourselves a pat on the back, but recognising milestones – big and small – is important. Whether you finish a chapter or complete an assignment, every step is one that deserves recognition.