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7 Tips To Avoid Procrastination And Boost Your Productivity

7 Tips To Avoid Procrastination And Boost Your Productivity

Procrastination, many people say, is bad. You waste time. Time which you would have been better spent finishing the project and then doing something you actually wanted to do later.

The problem is that the thing you need to be doing is boring or difficult, and that computer game/chat/origami puppet is a lot more fun. Here’s the thing: procrastination is bad, but understandable. Most tasks that we have to do: bookkeeping, reading papers, homework, a ten page letter to a client, are boring. But how can you avoid the trap of procrastination? If your attention fades, how can you refocus?

Still, there are ways and we have listed some of the best advice here:

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1. Set yourself a challenge

Set a timer and tell yourself that you have to focus on this task, and this task only for the next – whatever time you think you need. Promise yourself a reward/treat at the end. If that is too much pressure do, try easing yourself into it.

2. Make a schedule

Make a schedule in which you focus on the task for half an hour, then focus on something you enjoy for 15 minutes. Then, if that works, try to lengthen the time you focus on work with 10 minutes each week, until you can focus at-least two hours non stop. You can continue this to whatever stretch of time you want, but if you are planning to go beyond three hours in one, go take a screen break every fifteen minutes: look around the room, blink, change posture and refocus.

3. Make a list

Make a list of everything you want to do and try to get as much as possible ticked off in one day. Don’t try to get everything done in a rush, just make sure you are able to tick of at least three items each day. Place the list on your desk, so you’ll be reminded of it throughout the day. Start with the most difficult task, because that’s the one that probably started to make you procrastinate in the first place.

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4. Take a walk

Take a walk instead of replacing your work with other cyberspace things that still keep you in front of a screen. Staying inside in front of a computer doesn’t help you because you are, in many ways still doing the same thing: sitting in your work space, typing at your desk. Completely clear your mind with a no TV/Cyberspace break. If you don’t want to walk meditate or read a book.

5. Hide the distractions

Clear your desktop, put all the “fun” stuff in a map and put that in another map. Make as much maps as you need to make it less tempting to go for a “quick” Twitter/Facebook break. Put your phone in your closet or a drawer, this will also free you from some temptation.

6. Stop focusing on perfecting tiny details

Write your essay or whatever it is that needs doing in a rough version first and edit it later. With the big load done, the small load seems less of a challenge.

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7. Give yourself a treat

Reward yourself for every task you complete: give yourself a cookie or chocolate. You can also “bribe” yourself: promising that you can have something special if you finish your weekly tasks without getting distracted.

Conclusion:

So remember, procrastination can easily be avoided. You just need to:

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  • Challenge yourself
  • Focus
  • Clear your mind
  • Avoid distractions

If you do this, not only will your tasks get done much faster, you will also find that in the end you will have more free time to spend doing the things you like.

Featured photo credit: www.verywell.com via fthmb.tqn.com

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Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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