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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

More by this author

Dannii Cohen

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

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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