By Althea Fernandes
Procrastination is sometimes a habit that we can’t seem to shake. We know that it’s not helpful and, in fact, it can hold us back from achieving goals or getting things done on time. But knowing this doesn’t always stop us from procrastinating!
Analyze your procrastination habit
To overcome a procrastination habit, you first need to identify it. This can be difficult because we often don’t recognize that we are procrastinating until after the fact.
Here are some signs that you may be procrastinating:
- You’re not feeling motivated.
- You’re avoiding a task.
- You are making excuses for why you shouldn’t be doing the task right now (for example: “I’ll do it later when I’m more prepared”).
- You try to distract yourself with something else instead of completing your work (for example: surfing Facebook instead of writing an essay).
So, now that you’ve identified you have a habit of procrastination, here are some ways to overcome it.
Create a plan to tackle the task
For example, if your goal is to write a report for work and your procrastinating behaviour is checking Facebook every 10 minutes, figure out how long it will take you to finish this task and then time block that activity into your calendar. Use a timer when you start the task and stop when it goes off. Repeat this every time you’ve scheduled this task. Make sure there are no distractions around when doing tasks that require concentration (for example, turning off music). When setting up these reminders and scheduling, be sure they’re realistic so they motivate you. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making them too challenging or ambitious!
Keep track of what works and what doesn’t
There are many different ways to do this:
- Keep a journal where you write down all the times when you overcame procrastination. This will help keep your motivation high and remind you of how far you have come in overcoming this bad habit.
- Use a calendar to mark off days when no procrastination occurred (or if it did occur, use stickers or stars). Seeing all those blank squares can be very motivating!
- Make an “I Did It!” list with items such as “I completed my homework” or “I started writing my paper before dinner.” Then check them off once they’re done! This is especially good for younger children who don’t have much experience checking things off lists yet. It gives them something tangible instead of just being told “good job!”
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you’re struggling with procrastination and want to change your habits, I recommend trying the steps outlined above. Keep in mind that it can take time and practice before they become automatic, but it’s worth the effort! Remember, your mental health matters.