By: Maria D. : May 2020 :
Let me first start off by saying that I am a pro at crastination…a PRO.
Take this blog, for instance. For weeks now, I have been procrastinating on writing about how to stop procrastinating. (Ironic, I am the antithesis of my own blog topic.) It’s not for a lack of trying, mind you, I just keep getting sidetracked by shiny things. I keep reorganizing my desk. I keep staring at a blank page going uggggghhhh. I keep checking Facebook to see what I’ve missed in the past 10 minutes (awwww, look at how cute my friend’s new puppy is)…I digress.
But, instead of carrying on with the insanity any longer, I got my rear in gear—literally and figuratively—took my laptop from my desk to the couch, closed my browser windows, popped on some binaural beats, and promised myself when I got through writing, I could treat myself to a cookie. And, you know what? Making mini changes to my writing routine was exactly what I needed to break through the writer’s block (*ahem* procrastination, whatever) I had been battling. And, so I give to you a handful of my tried’n’true tips to stop the ProcrastINSANITY.
- Change the Scenery – Can’t get into the groove? A change of environment can do you good. Take yourself to a different room, a local coffee shop, or set up shop in the park. Even if you can’t work-work from anywhere (i.e., your desktop has you chained to your office/desk), taking a quick breather and stepping away from your usual workspace could help you get your groove back.
- Avoid Distractions – Turn off the tv, log off social media, try listening to ambient music or music without words to get you in the zone. If going all or nothing with technological sensory “deprivation” seems too extreme/difficult, set a 30-minute timer and bust your butt knowing you’re on the clock, and, it’ll be over soon.
- Start with General Filler – Staring at blank screen/page can be extremely overwhelming. Ward off anxiety and stress by finding a way to break your work into smaller chunks to make it more manageable. For example, if writing is what’s plaguing you, start typing out random thoughts, directions, and ideas; if you’re designing, toss up some color palettes or have a little fun doodling. Just getting something out there that you can see/focus your attention on can really open the floodgate of productivity and get you on your merry way to completion.
- Implement a Reward System and say NO to Participation Trophies – Attaching consequences to actions (or inactions) can serve as powerful motivators to get’r’done. When you reward yourself for actually COMPLETING a task vs giving it the ole college try and then giving up, you’ll increase your motivation and get things done quicker and more efficiently.
- Keep a Checklist at the Ready – There’s just something extremely gratifying about being able to physically cross something off a list. Instead of getting overwhelmed by focusing on everything you need to have done by a certain date, break your task list into bite-sized pieces with their own set deadlines and keep a printed copy by your side. Every time you complete a mini task, physically cross it off your list (I like to use a Sharpie because it reaaaaaaalllllly seals the deal that I’m done-done with a task).
In the end, everyone battles procrastination in their own way. There’s no one-specific reason people put off doing work and there’s no one-specific solution to combat ProcrastINSANITY. But hopefully if you’re struggling like I was, one/some/all of these tips can help you get back on track to completing a job well DONE.