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This Is How I Stop Procrastination.

This Is How I Stop Procrastination.

It can be hard to stay self-motivated when you’re facing your computer screen. Life gets in the way, and that new Netflix release can look awfully tempting compared to a strenuous session of work.

Time goes by, and before you know it, nothing has been done.

Ultimately, you’re the one who’s accountable for your own work. Even though getting things done can be tough when nobody’s there to push you, you can use a few techniques to get into the groove once again.

Try following these five tips and see if they get you going on what you should be doing:

1.Promise yourself a reward after doing a task

I like to treat myself to something nice, such as a snack or a TV show–but only after I’ve completed a certain amount of work. It’s not a pretty thought when you haven’t started, but it works.

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For example, if I need to write a blog post, I might set a small goal such as doing some basic brainstorming. Once I jot down a number of bullet points, then I can have a small break.

I sometimes find that I’m actually tired and could use a break. Other times, I end up becoming incredibly focused on the task at hand and forget about the break. Either way, I’ve made progress.

2. Break the task down

It’s easy to get excited in the beginning of a project and set big, lofty goals for ourselves. But once the hard work begins, our initial goal just seems too out of reach. We begin to falter. As a result, we give up or decide to do the work “later”.

Instead of setting an overly ambitious goal such as “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by the end of next week”, why not set a concrete, yet manageable goal just for the day? The truth is, we often set goals that require too many steps, overwhelming ourselves.

For example, I might just set one very simple goal. It could just be, “Open a Word document and write down the topic.” That’s it. Then, I might set another mini-goal, such as “Type in a few bullet points.”

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These tiny goals might not seem like much, but they challenge your resistance to getting started in the first place.

3.Warm up first

It can be hard to go straight from waking up and enjoying a nice breakfast to working right away. Why not do a warm-up first?

Doing work can be mentally taxing, especially if you’re still groggy. Instead, you could start off by doing a mental exercise to get you going. This could mean reading a book on self-development or psychology, or solving a Sudoku puzzle.

Physical exercises also do wonders when it comes to starting off the day right. A cardio workout helps you increase your energy and feeling ready to take on the day.

4.Stop analysis-paralysis

Have you ever thought of starting something, but thought that just reading one more article or watching one more video would provide a flash of insight? And then you ended up just reading about it, but not actually doing something.

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Hesitation is part of the process. It’s natural. But if you let it take hold, fear can keep you from starting at all.

Next time that happens, try this: Just let loose. Do something. Don’t get stuck on the idea of being perfect. Just try something out and improve as you go along. It can be intimidating, but also strangely liberating.

5.Think of what will happen if you DON’T get started

Studies have shown that people who procrastinate tend to have “myopia” when it comes to the future. That is, they only see the short-term rewards, but not the long-term effects of procrastination.

Playing a video game in the next hour is much more rewarding immediately than working on a goal, but damaging in the long run if you keep putting off what’s important.

If you find yourself in this situation, try this:

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Imagine the worst situation that will happen if you don’t do something productive.

For example, let’s say you’re at a job you hate and dream of running your own business. You get home tired from work. But instead of researching more into starting a venture, it’s easier to watch TV. Think of what will happen in 10 years. You’ll probably be stuck at the same old job, wondering what could have been if you had taken action earlier.

What is one technique you like to use to get un-stuck?

Featured photo credit: Eneas via flickr.com

More by this author

Melissa Chu

Founder of JumpstartYourDreamLife.com

6 Things Happy People Never Forget 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing If You Want To Be More Productive This Is How I Stop Procrastination. 7 Simple Tools to Make Your Blog Posts Even Better

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

So, what to do in free time?

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

1. Reading Files

Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

2. Clear out Inbox

Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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3. Phone Calls

Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

4. Make Money

This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

5. File

No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

6. Network

Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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7. Clear out Feeds

If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

8. Goal Time

Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

9. Update Finances

Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

10. Brainstorm Ideas

Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

11. Clear off Desk

Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

12. Exercise

Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

13. Take a Walk

This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

14. Follow up

Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

15. Meditate

You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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16. Research

This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

17. Outline

Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

18. Get Prepped

Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

19. Be Early

Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

20. Log

If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

More Inspirations on What To Do During Free Time

Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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