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How to deal with procrastination (ways that really work!)


What is procrastination?

According to Verywell Mind, procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. In a nutshell, putting off tasks we don't enjoy is a common daily occurrence.

Procrastination is typically not a sign of serious underlying condition, unless otherwise diagnosed by psychologists. Procrastination is a common behavior in people with ADHD.
For most cases, the root cause of procrastination is anxiety - not laziness. Some people fear what might happen if a task isn't done perfectly, while some are afraid that the task will never be completed in time, so why even bother starting?

Sounds familiar? It sure does for me. In fact, my mantra is: Everything will fall into place! Well, I realize this may not be the case all the time...

What are the situations that lead to procrastination?

The following are a few examples of situations that leads me to procrastination.
No. 1 - Overestimating how much time I have left to perform a certain task, thinking that I can finish it at the last minute. In other words, the habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done.
No. 2 - Delaying one task in favor of working on another because lacking the initiative to get started on tasks that I don't want to do. Sometimes, it's as simple as I don't have the mood to do the task that I don't like to do.

No. 3 - Underestimating how long certain tasks will take to complete. This is like an indirect outcome of overestimating how much time I need to complete a task.

No. 4 - Waiting for the right moment while needing some time to think about or plan how to complete the task.

How do I deal with procrastination?

If you did a quick Google search, there are many ways to overcome procrastination.
After some trials and errors for the past one year or so, here are some ways that work for me when I want to deal with the habit of procrastination.
1. Admit the fact that I procrastinate. Yes, it's a character flaw but it's not something to be ashamed of as long as I do something about it. I think it's brave to admit and take action to face it and fix it.
2. Categorize tasks into different priorities. Some people use the Eisenhower Matrix. I just use the simplified categorization method by labeling the priorities as high, medium, or low and I also make a to-do list.

3. Decide on a task to be done. Typically, the high-priority tasks should be prioritized. This is still something I'm working on. I tend to choose to do what I'm comfortable doing. Well, getting started on something is better than nothing!

4. If a high priority task is too huge to handle, break it into a few smaller tasks. It's less daunting and more encouraging when a small task is completed.

5. Be realistic with targets. Sometimes, I may even set as low as completing 1 task per day and acknowledge that as progress!

6. Take regular breaks but be aware of distractions. This is the hardest because my time-outs are also a source of distraction. So I need to catch myself early and pay attention to any thoughts of procrastination and do my best to resist the urge.

I think I need to start doing no.7, i.e. when finishing an item on my to-do list on time, congratulate myself and reward myself by indulging in something fun.

 Feel free to share with how do you deal with procrastination in the comment section!
To know more about other productivity tips, read my article about time management and concentration improvement tips for work productivity.

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