5 Easy Tips for Curbing Procrastination
Procrastination is an insidious energy drain that will keep you from completing the goals you set for yourself. Are you dreaming about owning your own business? Maybe you want to find a more rewarding job for the New Year? Or are you thinking 2019 will be the year you finally write that novel you’ve been plotting in your mind? Thinking “I have plenty of time. No need to start now” or “I don’t know where to begin with this” creates a dangerous mindset that can make you stumble at the gate. Here are some quick tips for how to beat procrastination before it can rob you of your dreams.
Tip #1: Break big tasks into smaller bits
When you were in school and had a big research assignment, did you immediately set to work on the final paper? No, of course not! You may have started with questions, then found the information to answer those questions, then organized your thoughts before finally sitting down to write. The same goes for any task, especially those which can be more intimidating, such as job hunting.
Breaking the job-hunting process into component parts can help keep the list of “to-dos” from becoming overwhelming. For a job application, you will almost always need to provide an updated résumé, cover letter, and references. Taken as a whole, it’s a lot to tackle; however, generating or collecting each piece across a number of days will help you chip away at the mountain bit by bit. Utilizing a folder for your completed work will pull everything together, keep you organized, and allow you to access your information in moments.
Tip #2: Set things out the night before
Common advice for people who don’t like to go to the gym or who can’t drag themselves out of a warm bed to run in the cold is to sleep in workout gear. By preparing mindfully the night before, they eliminate one hurdle to starting or maintaining an exercise routine. In essence, don’t give yourself the excuse of being unprepared. Set out your meeting notes so you can review them before heading into the office. Iron or lay out the clothes you want to wear the next day. If your brain isn’t bogged down with making decisions in the morning, it is more likely to cooperate and spike your productivity. So, have your things ready the night before and go, go, go.
Tip #3: Wake up earlier
In combination with Tip #2, waking up earlier can boost your confidence and help you knock out several of your “must-do” tasks before you eat breakfast. Edison Research shows that only one in five people rise by 5:30 AM. Most wake up between six and seven o’clock. By pushing your alarm back by thirty to sixty minutes, you’ll give yourself extra time to clear the way toward a personal goal.
While the first hour after waking isn’t the best for high-brain activities (like writing a report or designing a résumé), it is great for crossing off things on your “to-do” list like putting away laundry, washing dishes, or preparing lunch. Getting these insignificant but necessary tasks out of the way will give you a sense of accomplishment and provide an “I can do this” feeling. Plus, by the time you are ready to sit down and attack the big stuff — like searching through job listings and sending in applications — you won’t be distracted by the small things.
Tip #4: Find an accountability partner
When we live in our own heads and map out our plans there, we alone are responsible for holding ourselves accountable. Expressing plans to a friend, spouse, or colleague can help solidify them. Even better? Setting up a “check-in” with that person — either once a week or a specific time on a certain day — gives you the chance to acknowledge your progress or take ownership for the lack of it and discuss how you can do better. Having to answer to someone is a good motivator. It works both ways, too, making this a great way to assist someone else with their goals while helping yourself.
Tip #5: Take action now
It’s the simplest tip, but the most important. If you find yourself on the couch, clicking over to the next episode of a show while thinking, “This isn’t getting anything done,” you’re absolutely right. Now is the time to stand up, stretch, and move on to a new task. Feeling stuck on how to start? Do the smallest, easiest, or most exciting part first. For instance, if you’re writing a cover letter, open up a blank document and write the date. Simple, but effective. You’ve completed the first step! Need a little assistance, check out our Career Services to see how we can help.
About the Author:
Tristina Marx is a blog contributor for Vision to Purpose providing self-help, business, and career-focused topics.
About Vision to Purpose:
Vision to Purpose is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, life, and business solutions.
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