We all procrastinate.
There. I said it. It is an invisible power that keeps lurking around in our heads and is impossible to escape if it sits too comfortably in there.
Tim Urban, the well-known writer- blogger claims that each one of us procrastinates, but some are good at managing it, unlike most of us.
This article is for those who are struggling in these horrifying times to get work done…and in time.
Procrastination is the best of our options to opt-out from, but we do it anyway. The closest example is right here. It’s me. I was supposed to post one article per week starting from 2021. It’s almost May now.
I remember how I was working only on my client projects because I was bound to getting those done in time. I was excited to reset my calendar for 2021 but had zero will.
So without any further procrastinating about procrastination. I would want to mention signs to check if you are on the same path and to realise earlier that you should stop right then and there. I hope that we all will benefit from this article in some or another way.
Signs to Look Out For
1. You Don’t Have a Clear, Well-Defined Deadline for Your Project
We all tend to avoid pain. In hindsight, we never realise what skipping that exercise can do long term. We procrastinate to avoid pain but we know very well that when we finish the same task that was sitting up on our table consuming space, we realise that the task was not that difficult, we made it look difficult in our heads.
Short term thinking leads to immediate rewards but you may suffer in long term.
2. You Want Instant Gratification
Short term thinking leads to a false sense of gratification that can lead us to regrets and anxiety in the long term. Our instant gratification monkey is always in a restless state and it wants easy and short term wins.
3. You Are Constantly Stressed and Anxious About Work
This happens due to constantly thinking about working on your goal rather than putting the work into action.
According to James Clear, actually working is easier than thinking to get the work done. Thinking constantly builds up stress that we could have eliminated in the first place by taking action.
4. You Think That You Have Time
Thinking that we have time in our hands has become normal especially during these tough times. We think that we have time, every day anyway looks similar in the lockdown. But when we look back, a year has passed already.
We don’t have any distinctive memory because most of the time, we thought to ourselves that the task that I am about to do now can be done the next day as it is the same as today.
5. You Know WHAT You Want to Get Done but You Don’t Know HOW to Get It Done
We always feel we don’t know enough. And hence delay the start. When the truth is we will only know once we start – Ankur Warikoo
If you know WHAT to work on and if you don’t know HOW to get there, there are chances that you are going to delay things and put them on hold.
Tackling Procrastination the Right Way
If you think that you can relate to at least 3 of the signs, then here is what I came up with after going through multiple reliable sources. I refer to them and constantly remind myself not to delay my work any further.
1. Set a Clear Purpose for Your Project
For example, if you want to start food blogging while pursuing your higher studies, chalk out a plan of action. Important note: It does not have to be perfect. You can iterate it at any point.
2. Break Your Goals Into Actionable Tasks
Make your new habit so easy you can’t say no
– Leo Babauta
3. Be Specific With the Actionable Tasks
4. Break Them Further in Terms of To-Dos and Block Time for Those Actionable Tasks
Actionable task: Write an article
- Create an outline
- Keyword research
- Write a bad draft without editing
- Polish, structure and edit the draft
- Search for the related post image from Unsplash
- Work on titles and subtitles that are not clickbaity but are interesting enough
- Recheck the completed article and rectify errors if there are any
- Publish the article at 9 am ET
5. Last but Most Important: Leave Things Undone for the Next Session
After publishing the article, you can then set a context for the next article so that you know what to work on in your next session.
Improve one thing, by one percent. Do it again tomorrow – James Clear
We all procrastinate, while knowing when procrastinating is worth your time and when it can be dangerous, you should also want to carefully take the risk. Having a planned task and setting mini-deadlines help as we then know if we are running behind schedule in the short run instead of running late for the major deadline.
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