Procrastination is a common human tendency. One moment you feel motivated to finish all your tasks while the other moment the same tasks seem so overwhelming that you put them off, and then you might never finish it, or we can say, you might run out of time to finish it. The habit of procrastination is quite common that sometimes comes with a lot of problems such as losing opportunities, ruining career, inability to achieve ultimate goals in life, lowered self-esteem, increased stress, unhealthy lifestyle, and so much more.
As one of the most famous Indian mystic poet and saint of all times, Kabir Das had once commented on the habit of procrastination through his famous Doha (couplet), which goes like this –
“Kaal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab,
Pal me pralay hoyegi, bahuri karega kab”
This Doha means, “Finish tomorrow’s task today, and today’s tasks right now. When would you finish them if the next moment was the end of the world?” It suggests that the realization of the fickleness of time could make a ton of difference to avoid the dangerous consequences of procrastination. While the first step towards breaking the habit of procrastination is to believe in the power of now, one must consider that breaking a long-time conditioned habit requires smaller steps. So you don’t need to be harsh on yourself, or else it is going to harm you even more.
To break the habit of procrastination, follow these five simple ways:
1. Make Yourself Accountable
Out of all the things, the first most essential thing to get rid of procrastination is to make yourself mentally prepared that there would be consequences for you if you don’t finish the task. Take accountability for the repercussions. It could be a long-held presentation that you need to submit in your office, which, if not delivered timely, might affect your job. It could be your ultimate goal of starting up an enterprise, which, if not started as soon as possible, could ruin your career. Make yourself accountable for the tasks to avoid overwhelming consequences.
2. Break Bigger and Overwhelming Tasks into Smaller Chunks
One of the most common reasons why we procrastinate is how big and overwhelming the task is. Your presentation might require a lot of facts and statistics that are difficult to obtain. The idea behind the startup might be broad, and narrowing it down to a specific audience might be too much for you. If it is so, then break down the tasks into smaller chunks so that you could be somewhere near to your goal. After all, reaching somewhere is better than getting nowhere. Breaking down will make the big task easy to finish and will also not put much pressure on you.
Have sorted the task, what now? Let’s see what’s next.
3. Create a to-do list daily with specific deadlines
Breaking down a task into chunks has to be followed by an efficient schedule. Once you break it down, it is essential to organize the following days or months as per your to-do list with specific deadlines. Fit the small chunks in your daily routine and give yourself some tight deadlines for the completion of those tasks. For instance, allocate two hours for all the research for the facts and statistics for your presentation, or give yourself a goal to complete five slides in a day. Completing the small chunks in a specific deadline can make you more goal-oriented and hence kills the will to procrastinate.
4. Entice Yourself with a Reward
Tight deadlines are an effective way to motivate yourself to get through the task. However, at times, deadlines could look like going too harsh with yourself. So, entice yourself with some small rewards to get at the end of the day. Think of it like this – I would not enjoy my favorite snack until I finish five slides, or I would pamper myself with my favorite series on Netflix after the completion of the daily task. These rewards will give you another motivation for completing the tasks with efficacy.
5. See What Action You can take in Five Minutes
Whatever the task is, take out five minutes and try to figure out what action can be taken in those five minutes today so that it moves forward a bit. Set a timer and start working for five minutes to see where you would reach. Once you do the task for five minutes, you will see yourself getting somewhere, and there are chances that you will no longer find it overbearing.