Procrastination can kill motivation to accomplish your goals. If you struggle to accomplish a task until the last minute, you aren’t alone. In the past, I use to avoid things I needed to do until the very last minute. Whether it was a project that was due or an activity that I had to complete, I thought I worked better under pressure. I was wrong.
I realized that I became more stressed and anxious when I waited. Even though I completed the task, the stress I experienced took a toll on my body. Through the years, I began to use the following three things to stop procrastinating and am now more productive than ever.
1. Make it visual
When I have to do a task whether it’s a step towards accomplishing a goal or it’s on my to-do list, I write it down immediately. Writing down what action you need to take has many benefits, but the biggest is that it makes it visual. When I can see what I need to do, it makes it more of a priority for me.
There are many ways of making the task visual such as:
- Writing it on a note pad and keeping it in front of you
- Emailing yourself what you need to do will serve as a reminder
- Placing the visual reminder on your fridge which you pass often
I keep a stack of legal pads in my office, so I can quickly grab one and write out the task I need to do. I then place it on the floor by my desk or on my coffee table, which makes it hard to avoid. If there are many things on the list, marking them off makes me feel productive.
2. Take action at the moment
When you think of something that you need to do, take action right at that moment. Take advantage of the motivation you have at this time. You are inspired and motivated even though you may not recognize the feeling. Capitalize on this feeling by acting immediately.
Even if you can’t complete the task, you can take a step towards it. Taking steps will help you feel like you are productive and this will motivate you to continue forward.
I’m currently working on a new online course, and it feels daunting to finish because I have many small steps left to complete. Every time I look at my list I take action at the moment by completing at least one task if not many. The feeling of being effective leads me to want to tackle another step.
3. Schedule more time than needed
I’m sure that if something gets scheduled on your calendar then it is important to you. Doing this serves as a reminder of an event and helps you remain committed to an obligation. If I don’t put a task that needs completion on my calendar, then it rarely gets finished.
I put the task on my calendar regardless of how small it is. From cleaning and organizing my office to going to the grocery store, it is helpful to schedule it in my calendar just as I would a client appointment. Even though the importance of a client appointment doesn’t compare to organizing my office, they both need to be accomplished, so they get scheduled.
I also realized that I underestimated how much time I would need to accomplish a task. For example, I would schedule 30 minutes to edit an article when it would take an hour. I would then beat myself up for it taking longer than I thought. So I started overestimating time I would need. This allowed me to finish a task and have time leftover.
As with most things in life, what you give attention to is what will get completed. You are already using a calendar every day so why not use it to help you get more accomplished and stop procrastinating. By making your task visual, taking action at the moment, and scheduling more time than you may need you will be able to overcome your struggle with procrastination like I did.
A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.