Procrastination can be a very stressful character trait to have ~ stressful either to you or to those around you. Procrastination, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is essentially putting something that you know should / must be completed either altogether or until the deadline.
I used to procrastinate on my papers I had to write for college. Then, when it was the night before the due date (sometimes even hours before hand), I had to really crunch and get the paper completed and submitted (many times right before the deadline by minutes). There are always lots of reasons (excuses) why I didn’t get my papers completed (or started) when they were assigned. I tend to do some of my best work while under pressure, so it turned out well for me and I almost always (99.9% of the time) received extremely high scores on these ‘crunch-time’ papers. Procrastination, in this situation, was stressful for me. And I know that I’m the one that caused it.
Then, there’s the procrastination that affects those around you. If you’re married, then you’ve likely run into a few situations where you’ve asked your spouse to do something for you (i.e. mow the yard, put something up in the rafters for you, fix a fence, etc.). These are things that you see as needing to be completed in a timely manner; however, your spouse may not see the same urgency. So, he or she puts off the request (procrastinates) until either you do it yourself or he or she sees you doing it and then jumps in to complete the project. This type of procrastination affects those around you, and the procrastinator usually doesn’t understand what the big deal is that they haven’t gotten around to your request.
So, whether you are the procrastinator, or it is someone you know, here are a few tips to help overcome procrastination:
1. Be organized. It’s much more difficult to get motivated to do something if the items or documents you need are not organized, making more work for you.
2. Create your own deadlines. If it’s a school paper or even something you’ve been asked to do, set your own deadline. If the original deadline is two weeks from today, set your own deadline of one week from today.
3. Identify and utilize your most productive times. Everyone works better at different times of the day – some people are morning people (not me!) and some are night people. Figure out what time of day your motivation is highest and use that time to your advantage.
4. Start small. If you have a mile-long to-do list, start on the smaller projects first. You’ll notice that things are getting accomplished and you’ll be more motivated as the day goes on to continue accomplishing bigger tasks because it feels good.
5. Identify the best environment for you. Some people cannot work if there are any distractions (TV, music, kids, etc.). Others can’t work if there aren’t other distractions to drown out while working (this one is definitely me). And others don’t care either which way. Identify what type of environment words best for you and create that environment (during your most productive time of the day) and you’ll get lots more accomplished.
6. Develop a reward system. I know it sounds silly for an adult to have a reward system, but it really does help deter procrastination. Decide what you want your reward to be when you accomplish a specific task, such as a bottle of wine, a nice dinner out, a new outfit, etc. The bigger the project, the larger the reward should be, and vice versa. You’ll be much more motivated to accomplish the task if there’s a nice reward at the end.
7. Use technology. There are thousands of apps out there for Android and iPhone systems. Find an app that will help you track your task completion and watch as you get faster at accomplishing tasks.