7 certain ways to be more productive and beat procrastination

Procrastination is often a result of disorganisation or laziness. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, procrastination can stem from the fear of failing or the fear of succeeding. There is also the case of being a perfectionist – when we think things need to be done perfectly, we sometimes avoid doing them at all.

The worst thing about procrastinating is that even when we sit and do other things rather than our work, our anxiety increases, and we experience feelings of shame and guilt making it impossible to enjoy anything until the task we know we have to do, is done. No matter what your reason is, here are a few ways to help you kick procrastination and become more productive instead.

Sift through your to-do list and tick off the most important tasks first

The to-do list is the best anti-procrastination tool you have. For one thing, you can have all your tasks and due dates in one place which helps to determine what is a priority. Make it a rule to start the most important tasks first. Sometimes it may seem easier to do the smaller tasks first, but that wouldn’t be ideal time management. It’s also helpful to create an estimated time in which the task or project can be completed. This way, you create an expectation in your mind to follow and guide you. It also feels really great to tick off a task you’ve completed!

Get any challenges started before lunch

Research suggests that on average people are most productive in the morning hours, specifically 11 am. We also become less productive after lunch and even less so after 4 pm. So, it’s a good idea to face your challenges early as this is when you will get more done. If you know you’ll need more time, set out a plan configured of steps of what needs to happen next. This will help in making sure you continue on and have a clear path of what to do.

Let go of perfectionism 

When we want things to be perfect we often spend more time than necessary on small tasks that are part of a bigger project. We can also put off tasks until the ‘perfect moment’. But the perfect moment is now. There is no such thing as completely perfect, but logically speaking the earlier we complete a task the more time we have to refine it and improve the work. This means that if we put off certain tasks or projects, we’ll often end up with a mediocre outcome, or a piece of work that was due yesterday.

Don’t overwork – take adequate and frequent breaks

Some people prefer to power through their day, doing as much as they can. This often runs people down quickly. By the end of the week that person’s productivity would have likely plummeted. Going for a short walk, grabbing a snack/drink, or doing a ten-minute meditation will be enough to refresh you so you can continue your work with a clear and focused mind. (Note: This does not mean a Facebook break!)

Let people help you

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate ask for help or depending on your position, delegate. Often companies organise personnel into teams, a team is there to help each other succeed so that the business succeeds too. Having help relieves stress and makes all tasks seem achievable.

Don’t overpromise

Don’t say yes to everything just because you’d like to please everybody. Only take on what you know you can. When you have too much work, the easiest option is to put everything off. Make sure your to-do list is manageable and that everything on it is of absolute necessity.

Self-motivate by setting goals and planning rewards

After achieving your goals, let yourself read that article you wanted to (when procrastinating), or take a nice coffee break, or catch up on personal tasks. Make sure there is something to look forward to at the end of a project. This helps to motivate completion. It’s better enjoying some time to yourself when you know you’ve finished all you needed to do. There will be no guilt or shame and definitely no anxiety because you will have worked hard (or rather, smart) for it.