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8 Steps To Get Yourself Away From Procrastination

8 Steps To Get Yourself Away From Procrastination

For many of us, the stresses and strains of life, in general, can be too much to handle. There is simply so much to think about along the way that getting to where you want to be can be hard work. Procrastination, as ever, becomes a significant problem along the way and can leave you chasing your tail a little bit. Getting away from handling a heavy workload is tough as that massive scale can make you only take on small increments as time goes on.

It’s not always an indicator of your ability – or lack of – but usually of an ability to stay focused and committed to getting the job done. When this happens, you need to be able to move heaven and earth to get yourself moving towards dropping procrastination from your life of problems for good. If you need help in breaking free of the grip of procrastination and never getting anything done, then this should offer the perfect solutions to you by making sure that you try and;

1. Set The Right Goals

The first thing you need to think about is setting the right goals. You might be looking at the end-game as the “right” goal. But, this is the wrong way to look at things. Instead, you need to look and find the best way for you to start building towards the goal. It’s not always about getting to the endgame, but making progress towards that. If you need to look at the goal in smaller increments, then it can help you stop procrastinating as the task feels less gargantuan in size. To minimize procrastination time, set yourself a deadline of 48hrs to work out what the right goals are.

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2. Identify The Motivating Factors 

When we have a motivation to continue to push on even when we feel tired, it can make procrastination a lot easier to overcome. However, this takes a lot of hard work and self-determination to manage, so it will take a considerable amount of work on your end to get to this point. Take a half day or half night and work out what is driving you, why it’s driving you, and how you can make the most of that situation in the near future. Just having a reason which motivates you can be so useful to ensuring that things actually get done.

3. Create a Concrete Action Plan for the Final Goal

How are you going to achieve what you intended to? Do you have a concrete plan for doing so? If not, you need one. When you don’t know how to go about something, it’s a lot harder to actually convince yourself to try and do it. To avoid this problem, you just need to start taking a few hours per day to work out the path to success. Break it down into a small army of minor tasks that can be achieved on an hourly or daily basis. This keeps you moving towards the grand endgame, which is so incredibly useful to understand.

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4. Create a To-Do List for the Day

Now we have a plan to work with and will be able to start moving towards something fresh and innovative in our lives, we need to start looking at building a To-Do list. Making a serious to-do list to follow is as important as seeing through all your objectives. Start by simply creating something that follows the Why, How and When pattern above. In no time at all, this will be built up with a structured list of tasks that can pay massive dividends when you are trying to start moving the project towards overall completion.

5. Set the Timer

How will you go about dealing with the procrastination side of things? You need to have a start date and a start time. Set strict deadlines that fit in with your personal and professional life and ensure that you adhere to them. Meeting targets in this fashion is great for your confidence and for helping you improve as an individual, in the long run, so make sure that you always consider this in your unique battle against procrastination.

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6. Commit Yourself to the Plan

It is essential to follow a schedule in order to be fully accountable to your process and move forward towards progress. When you have clarity, a plan, and a way of going about that plan it becomes so much easier to manage and prepare yourself to do the job that you are being asked to carry out. Remember that avoiding tasks because you could not remember you had to do them, is also called procrastination!

7. Find Supporters

You need to be able to shut off that voice in your head that tells you to come back tomorrow, and the best way to do that is with all of the above. To get the help that you need with self-discipline, find some supporters. Share your goals and plans with people who you know will support and motivate you. It is important that you find the right cheerleaders as the wrong ones will actually pull you down and demotivate you.

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8. Keep on Trying

As always, improving on any areas of your life is not an easy task. Make sure that even if you sometimes fail (even more often than you expected) you should keep on trying, no matter what. Be strong and accomplish your objectives. Remember, do not procrastinate!

Featured photo credit: www.neednudge.com via neednudge.com

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Carles Sabarich

Carles aspires to encourage people to live actively and take charge of their lives.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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