Many of us have a tendency to put off tasks for later – and that later never really arrives. In the long run, procrastination can take a steep toll on our potential, finances, relationships and even our health. A single act of procrastination can lead to a vicious cycle that keeps you procrastinating seemingly forever. If you often find yourself trapped in this cycle, just follow these strategies to get working efficiently again.
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Finish off difficult tasks first
Create a to-do list every morning or every night before you go to bed. Be sure to prioritise all the challenging and time-consuming tasks, and don’t forget to assign a deadline for each task. Setting a deadline for each task ensures that you don’t have the time to procrastinate. Finishing off the most daunting tasks right at the beginning eases up your schedule, and you’ll find yourself being more relaxed as the day goes on.
Divide your work into smaller segments
Taking on a huge project is always overwhelming, and especially so if it is accompanied by a tight deadline. In such a situation, it helps to take one step at a time by breaking your task into smaller sub-tasks. If needed, you can also delegate some of your work to others while you handle your share. For example, say you have been asked to create an annual marketing plan for your startup. You can begin by researching upcoming events scheduled for the year. Once you have a list of events, drafting a tentative marketing plan won’t take much of your time.
Set a mid-day alarm
Have you ever spent a whole day fiddling with insignificant things only to realise that you have accomplished nothing you planned for the day? If you have, you’re not the only one. All of us have been guilty of this at some point in our lives. But there’s a very simple solution to help you avoid this. All you need to do is set an alarm on your tablet, phone or computer. Make a habit of adding reminders for important tasks. This way, when the ringer goes off, you’ll know what you’re supposed to do next. If you had planned something else already, re-plan your schedule according to the reminder and work towards finishing off the high priority work first.
Develop a reward program
Nothing encourages us to work more than the prospect of being rewarded for our efforts. You can organise your own reward system to keep yourself motivated to achieve your goals for the day. Treat yourself to a reward at each step as you go along. The idea is to keep your reward system alluring enough so that your mind is forced to put its best effort to accomplish the goal.
Though it often feels impossible to most chronic procrastinators, always remember that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Work towards ending procrastination today, and move forward in a direction that inspires you. To quote Will Rogers, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory)