No human on earth escapes the plague of procrastination. We’re all wired to put things off but we also have the capacity to override that tendency. This weekend, pick one of the many ways to purge yourself of procrastination and start getting things done.
Remove Your Distractions
Procrastination is brought to you by distraction. While you can put something off without alternatives like Facebook, Twitter, video games, and any number of other things you’d rather do, they certainly make it a lot easier. While you should get into the habit of choosing to put off distractions rather than the task at hand, a few tools can help you do that when your willpower could stand to be a bit stronger.
Chrome users can turn to StayFocusd, and extension that blocks distracting sites. LeechBlock will get the job done on Firefox. Of course, there are several other options, some of which will even modify your hosts file so you can’t get to sites in any browser. But before you can start blocking anything, you need to figure out what’s distracting you the most. Set up RescueTime to track your activity and figure it out. Then you can use that information to eliminate distractions as much as possible.
Pick an Anti-Procrastination Plan
Everyone’s a little bit different, so some anti-procrastination plans work better for some than others. Personally, Seinfeld’s productivity trick fixed my procrastination problem, but it you have to be a little neurotic to actually enjoy it. A lot of people love the Pomodoro Technique (it’s our reader favorite), which uses a cyclical timer to help you focus on short bursts of work while providing frequent breaks as well. If a specific method just feels like too much, simply structuring and planning for procrastination can help you avoid it when you need to. Just don’t trust your instincts. Beating procrastination is often counter-intuitive.
Set Up a Reward System
Regardless of what tools or tricks might be able to help you, nothing will change if you don’t put in the effort to change. You can’t just flip a switch, wait, and stop wasting time. You have to wean yourself off of it. Set an allowance for how often you can engage in certain leisure activities and reward yourself if you succeed. There are lots of ways you can incentivize creating good habits, so just pick a reward that you’ll appreciate and if you meet your goals you get it. If not, you don’t. You need to have willpower, but incentives provide a little bit of encouragement.
Leisure activities, themselves, can be the reward. You may prefer to reward yourself with something like a cupcake or a new game you’ve wanted to by. As you go along, however, the rewards should decrease. Doing your work and feeling accomplished needs to be a reward in itself, or your entire system can fall apart the moment you accidentally drop your prized cupcake on the sidewalk. Implementing a reward system can help in the beginning, but eventually hard work needs to be its own reward.