Procrastination is putting off a task or a project that we need to do. Even though we know we should be doing a task, our brains choose to do other ‘more fun’ option, like watching Netflix or going out with friends. Procrastination only sets us back, as we are avoiding tasks that will benefit us in the future, and also make the consequences much worse!
How can we overcome our procrastination?
Similar to push and pull factors of entrepreneurial motivation, we can use two mindsets to overcome procrastination.
When approaching the task, we can either choose to have short term pain for long term gain or have short term gain for long term pain.
If we decide to have endure short term pain in the present, we will benefit by having leisure in the long term. On the other hand, if we choose to have our leisure time now, in the short term, we will need to live with the long term consequences.
We can use these mindsets to overcome procrastination by making a choice whether we would rather go through a little bit of pain in the present and do our task. Or have our leisure time now and deal with the consequences in the long term.
Strategies we can use to overcome procrastination
Use a calendar
Using a calendar and scheduling a time to do the task, helps us set aside a time to work. Setting an amount of time to work on the task helps us to be productive as well, as we are giving ourselves a limited amount of time to work on the task.
In addition to this, we can use a strategy called chunking. This strategy requires breaking down a big task into multiple smaller ones. This can help us feel more productive and motivated, as we are getting through our tasks bit by bit, instead of being overwhelmed by one huge task!
Approach the task differently
We can also think about the task in a different way to make it seem more fun. We tend to work better on tasks that we are interested in. If a task seems boring, we aren’t going to be excited to start it. By thinking about the task in a more fun way, we are more motivated to do it and might even enjoy it!
A few ways to do this are;
- Have the mentality that you want to do the task, instead of thinking you have to
- Turn the task into a game
- Pretend you really enjoy the task
Set realistic goals
When creating goals, it’s important to make them SMART goals. Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and a set time, will help you stay on track with them, and effectively achieve. Goal setting is important to get right, as goals that are too challenging can leave you feeling discouraged, and goals that are too easy won’t feel enough of a challenge. Using the SMART goal acronym can help you to better set your goals and get the most out of them.
Make yourself accountable to others
It’s been proven that when you tell others about your goals and tasks, you are more likely to do them. This is because you’ve set an expectation for yourself, and you don’t want others to think you’ve given up or failed! Telling other people about your goals will motivate you to achieve them.
Remove distractions from your working environment
Turn off your mobile phone and minimize other technology distractions. Putting your phone in a different room or putting it on do not disturb can help you focus on your work better. Having your phone or television on while you work tempts your brain to choose the more fun option rather than do the work in front of you! Removing these distractions from your workspace helps reduce your procrastination and increases the amount of work you get done.
Don’t wait for the “perfect” time or result
Being a perfectionist means you are thinking with an all-or-nothing mindset. This isn’t a productive mindset to have, as unless the circumstances are “perfect” you won’t ever start your task. This also applies when working on your task. As your tasks won’t ever be finished until it’s “perfect” either. We can forever go back and improve our work to make it better, but it won’t ever be perfect, meaning we will never finish our task.
To summarise, we can use the following strategies to overcome procrastination and be more productive with our tasks:
- Short term pain for long term gain
- Short term gain for long term pain
- Use a calendar
- Approach the task differently
- Set realistic goals
- Make yourself accountable to others
- Remove distractions from your working environment
- Don’t wait for the “perfect” time or result