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Pro-Active Steps to Prevent Procrastination

Pro-Active Steps to Prevent Procrastination

One of the biggest obstacles to completing all the tasks required during any day is procrastination – in other words, avoidance of any task that doesn’t appeal by doing other non-essential tasks instead. Most of us don’t even realize when we are procrastinating but a failure to regularly complete what should be an average amount of work during the day is an indication that procrastination is at work somewhere in our day. Once we are aware that this is a possibility, it’s usually quite easy to identify the tasks which are being avoided, and the “time fillers” being used to legitimately fill the time so that we are unable to do the things we want to ignore. Unfortunately, ignoring them doesn’t make them disappear; it just makes them become more of a priority the next day.

There are several key issues which make us avoid certain jobs and by identifying the tasks that we really avoid, and the ways in which we can make them more enjoyable, we can start to take control of the procrastination issue so that we can benefit from the success in completing what we need to accomplish each day. Some of these issues, with possible solutions, are as follows:


Time Taking Projects

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Issue:
These are projects which take up one line in our daily work schedule but which we know are going to take at least half a day or more to complete, and so instead of doing them we use the time to do five or six other less important tasks and feel we have done more! Of course, the project doesn’t go away, it just sits there until it becomes urgent and increases our stress level as it has to be done so quickly!

Solution:
Instead of giving the task only one line in the “to do” list, itemize each part of the project so that instead of one task, it becomes a series of tasks. It will take the same length of time, but at least it feels as if we have done something with our day.

Tasks We Hate

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Issue:
These are the projects which for some reason or other we just hate to do. They can be complex tasks such as comparative analysis, or simple ones such as filing the daily sales reports. Whatever they are, we put them off as long as possible for no other reason than we just don’t like doing them.

Solution:
Put jobs that are disliked at the top of the “to do” list so that they are over and done with in the first part of the morning, and the rest of the day can be spent doing more pleasant tasks.

Needing Perfection/Fear of Failure

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Issue:
These tasks are the ones where we want to make a good impression, or there is something crucial resting on how well we do our job. We avoid doing them because we fear that our work won’t be good enough and we will fail in some way.

Solution:
Think about what the worst thing that could happen would be if the project wasn’t perfect, but instead was a good as we can possibly make it. Then allocate a set amount of time each day to work on the project, allowing plenty of time to edit/review before the deadline. Realizing that it’s possible to perfect something to the point at which it starts to lose the original focus is another way of knowing when to let go of a project instead of keeping it on the list for yet another day instead of finishing it and sending it to the outbox.

One of the best ways of overcoming procrastination however is effective time management. This means identifying which scheduling tools work best for us, and making sure that we clearly identify and prioritize each task that we need to do each day. Keeping the above solutions in mind, we need to organize each working day so that our procrastination issues are dealt with and we end each day knowing that tomorrow is a day when we start a new set of tasks without having to deal with the ones we didn’t want to do today!

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Katie-Anne Gustafsson spent many years in business administration before becoming a WAHM where she learned many of the organisational skills and tools she needs to effectively balance the demands for her daily life.

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Leon Ho

Founder of Lifehack

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Published on July 15, 2019

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

6. Walk as Much as You Can 

Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

9. Practice Self Care 

Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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10. Embrace Learning 

You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

So start making your life better — today!

Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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