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15 Useful Tips To Defeat Procrastination, Once And For All

15 Useful Tips To Defeat Procrastination, Once And For All

Do you procrastinate at home, work or school? Are you tired of wasting time and want to get things done once and for all? Whether we care to admit it or not, we all procrastinate from time to time. It’s just a part of human nature!

Fortunately, there are ways to defeat the beat of procrastination. These fifteen tips will help you get started in the right direction.

1. Request an external deadline.

Do you do you work better when you’re working under a deadline? Even if you do set deadlines for yourself, you might find it’s not enough to help you get things done. Why not switch things around and ask for an external deadline instead? If you’re working with others, ask when you need to complete a task or project. If you’re working alone, ask a close friend or family member to set an arbitrary deadline. This way, you have a deadline and can be held accountable for your actions.

2. Break away from people who are bad influences on you.

Hanging out with people who help you procrastinate, or otherwise distract you from your responsibilities can be tricky. You may voluntarily want to spend time with these people, but you may find it’s harder to get things done when you hang out with them or when they are around. Consider limiting your time spend around these people when you need to accomplish tasks, when you are under deadline, or when you are otherwise finding it difficult to focus on your work.

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3. Update your work materials or equipment.

An old computer that takes forever to load, a pair of scissors that makes cutting paper a chore, a broken garage door… You might not realize it, but your reluctance in using a particular piece of equipment, might be preventing you from finishing your work. Think about it for a moment. Do you tend to avoid particular tasks or chores because you absolutely cannot stand using a particular tool or piece of equipment? Try either updating, sharpening or replacing this obstacle so you can get on with your work.

4. Eliminate distractions in your immediate environment.

Do you know what distracts you as you work or when you are procrastinating? You might always find something to do such as checking Facebook or Pinterest, watching television, checking your emails and so on. Sounds familiar? Reduce temptation as you work by purposefully eliminating or reducing distractions. In the examples above, you could disconnect from the Internet, log off of your accounts and email, or try working in a completely different environment.

5. Work together with a friend or colleague.

If you’re having trouble sitting down so you can actually get your work done, try working side by side with a friend or colleague. You can schedule a time to work and each bring a piece of work which you’re having a difficult time completing. Sometimes all you need to get your work done is a bit of companionship and the knowledge that someone else is working on something they don’t particularly want to work on either.

6. Change your environment.

Are you a bit too comfortable when you work from home or at your office? Maybe things are the other way around and you are wholly uncomfortable. Perhaps things are a bit too noisy, too quiet, too cold or too hot for your taste. If this is the case you might want to shake things up with a change in scenery or in your immediate environment. You could try working in a coffee shop, in a local park, in a library or another area of your home or office.

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7. Promise something before you create it.

Perhaps you’ve been meaning to write a blogging tutorial, deliver a motivational speech to your weekly volunteer group or a basket of home-baked treats for a charity bake sale. Instead of letting things drag on any further, make a promise to deliver something before you actually start working on it. This not only sets a deadline, but also holds you accountable in front of others. There’s nothing left for you to do but get to work.

8. Get outside the front door.

Sometimes all you need to get moving with your work is to simply get your body moving. All you have to do is turn your attention from your mind to your body, and put your body into action. Let’s say you have to run some errands. Instead of fussing about it, you could just put on your shoes and coat, pick up your bag or purse, gather up any related items you’ll need, open the front the door and step outside. It would be silly for you to turn around at this point in time as you’re now literally one step closer to completing your task.

9. Choose three simple tasks to work on right now.

Are you overwhelmed with a large project? Instead of procrastinating any further, spring into action by breaking your work down into smaller, more manageable tasks. What project do you have going on right now that seems to be overwhelming? What three small tasks could you do right now? These really can be simple things, such as placing a phone call, doing a quick bit of research online, or making sure you have the right materials to begin your project.

10. Learn a new skill.

When was the last time you learned a new skill to help you with your work? For example, you might be procrastinating when it comes to working on your company’s website because you don’t know anything about SEO. Educating yourself about something, even the smallest bit of information, can make you feel more competent…and also knowledgeable. It’s always okay to feel a bit scared or unsure when you’re working on something new, but you shouldn’t let it prevent you from getting your work done.

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11. Set aside a specific amount of time to do something.

This is an oldie but a goodie: set a deadline for your work. Let’s say you have a personal project you’d like to complete, such as putting together your family tree. However, you never seem to get around to do it. You could take action by setting a final deadline for the project and entering in specific amounts of time in your calendar for you to do your research.

12. Layout all the tools you’ll need to begin.

Get a jump on your work by pulling out all the materials or tools you’ll need to work on a particular project or task. Once you take everything out and set everything up, there’s nothing left for you to do but to begin. When it comes to finally baking a cake for your Aunt’s Mary’s birthday, simply pull out the flour, eggs, butter, sugar, baking soda and powder, preheat the oven, grease the cake pans and get baking. You’ve already put in so much work getting things ready, you might as well finish the task at hand.

13. Figure out why you’re procrastinating.

Do you know why you’re procrastinating? You might feel lazy, bored, scared and unsure of yourself or any other number of emotions. However, it’s quite different when you actually identify the thing that is the source of your procrastination. Be honest with yourself. What do you feel? Why are avoiding your work? Once you hone in on the issue at hand, you can better find a solution that is tailored to helping you solve your problem.

14. Attack your work first thing in the morning.

Make the most out of your mornings and take on any particularly troublesome work first thing. You’ll be freshly rested, energized and ready to take on the day and can channel this energy into finally achieving that which you’ve been putting off for week after week. Once you’re done, you’ll have your entire day ahead of you, free and clear.

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15. Just do it!

Sometimes in life you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do. Don’t think twice about the tasks or work you need to complete. Tell yourself, “I’m going to do this,” get your materials ready, take a deep breath and dive right in. You’ll feel a lot better knowing you triumphed against procrastination and finished what you set out do.

How do you know when you start to procrastinate at work, home or school? What task or item are you looking forward to finally crossing off your to-do list? Leave a comment below.

Learn how to complete any overwhelming project effectively with these tips here.

Featured photo credit: katie ruth via compfight.com

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Rashelle Isip

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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