5 Ways to Beat Procrastination
We’re all aware of procrastination and how much of a productivity-killer it is - at least I sure am!
You feel like you’re not in the right mood to start a task, so you put it off by doing mindless activities like checking facebook, cleaning the area around you, or talking to a friend or coworker. Then, when you realise how much precious time has passed, you feel guilty for having wasted it, and you may feel a panic creeping up on you if there’s a deadline attached to it. This in turn makes you feel worse than you did to begin with, and you get stuck in a constant procrastination loop, which is a struggle to break out of!
A system that I’ve found works for me to finally break free from that procrastination loop, is to follow these steps:
1. Simplify It
When you look at a task or project in its entirety, you can easily be overwhelmed by the size of it, which can bring on doubts of how you’re going to accomplish it. The end result can seem inconceivable.
In order to make the task at hand feel more feasible, you need to break it down into smaller, much more doable steps!
As an example: for a project where you need to create a poster for a book, you could break it down into the following steps:
Gather the following information:
What is the environment? Is it interior or exterior?
What characters or objects need to be included in it?
What’s the overall feeling, emotion, or story that is to be portrayed?
Once you know what needs to be in it, and what story you need to tell, then you can start to think about the composition, and set yourself a smaller tasks, such as:
Complete 3-5 thumbnails of different compositions (each broken up into their own task).
Once the chosen composition is locked down, then you can start breaking the process it down, in whatever way you may work. As an example:
Block down colours/tones.
Block in main shadows and highlights.
Flesh out the colours.
Suddenly, when you’ve broken down the project into smaller tasks, the process of getting from start to finish is clear and feels much more obtainable!
2. Work in the Right Environment
It’s important to work in an environment with as little distractions as possible. This can mean turning off or staying away from television, phones, electronics, messy or loud places, and friends, family or coworkers. Different people can tolerate different environments and levels of distractions in order to work productively - you just need to figure out what environment works best for you, and then enforce discipline to stay away from environments that don’t.
3. Be Mindful and Kind to Yourself
The way you talk to yourself can make or break you. Thinking negatively towards yourself can drastically hinder your productivity and make the entire process painful. If you then get to the finished product and dislike it, you’ve just primed yourself for more negative self-talk, and it’ll be even harder to get started on the next project.
You’re more likely to get started by forgiving yourself for your previous procrastinating rather than beating yourself up about it, and the process is likely to be a lot smoother if you insert positive thoughts into your head like “This is Simple, This is Easy, This is Fun”. Thinking positively can completely transform your perspective on a task, and even your whole life!
4. JUST START
Sometimes, the hardest part is just getting yourself to start, like when you’re looking at a blank canvas and you’re unsure of where to make that first stroke.
But then as soon as you put those first strokes down onto paper, your mood completely shifts. You feel good about having started, and you’ll often find it’s then easier to focus. The ball starts rolling and suddenly the process isn’t so difficult!
5. Enjoy the small victories
Every time you accomplish a task you feel more motivated and confident, and moving forward is easier.
I like to start a task by breaking it up into many smaller ones so that I can start ticking them off faster. Each time I tick one off it’s a small victory, and I feel accomplished!
So if you give yourself positive self-talk, set yourself down in a productive environment, break your task down into several smaller ones, JUST START, and celebrate the accomplishments of completing even the smallest of tasks, your mood will start improving quickly, and you’ll find yourself breaking out of that procrastination loop!!!