10 Tips to Avoid Procrastination


1. Break tasks down into smaller pieces. Focusing on smaller tasks helps you avoid overwhelming feelings of completing the task.

2. Set a timer. Try setting a timer for 10-15 minute intervals. This can help retain focus on the task at hand. Take a small break in between to refresh. For example, if you are writing a paper, setting a timer allows you to remain focused on the task for the specified length of time.

3. Tune out digital distractions. It is tempting to check social media. Apps such as Self Control block access to social media websites for specific periods of time to eliminate the distraction.

4. Keep a “to-do” list. It is helpful to have a physical list in front of you. Keeping a list helps you envision and keep track of the tasks to be completed.

5. Reflect on the feelings that occur once the task is finished. Hitting a goal releases chemicals in the brain that contribute to pleasure. Finishing a task brings a sense of relief and euphoria. The release of these chemicals will lift your spirits.

6. Embrace imperfection. One of the reasons we procrastinate is to avoid difficult tasks and decisions. Just get started. Once you begin a task, you should find that you have more motivation to complete it.

7. Think about the concrete steps needed to complete a task. When you begin a task, it is often easier to think about the concrete steps you need to take to complete the task. This can help you begin the task, as it gives you a plan.

8. Avoid over-thinking. Doubt and over-thinking contribute to procrastination. It may be useful to be mindful of the time and energy we are putting our thoughts, rather than completing the task.

9. Forgive yourself. It is easy to be hard on yourself when a task takes too long, or is difficult. Forgiving yourself helps you break out of the cycle of procrastination.

10. Become self-aware. Acknowledge your feelings, and think about why you are feeling that way. This follows a path of self-rationalization. Once you acknowledge impulses to stop working on a task, you will find that the urge passes.

 

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