We all want to decrease procrastination so that we can achieve more and be on time or ahead of schedule with our tasks. It is essential to be our most productive selves. I recently wrote about the reasons why we procrastinate tasks in order to identify the underlying causes of procrastination and which of these causes link to which tasks you do. This is helpful in figuring out how to decrease procrastination since we can figure out solutions or mitigators to each of the reasons. Make sure you are familiar with these reasons from my other post because it will help you understand the complementary tips in this post.
Make a Short High a Reward for a Long High:
It is a good idea to start your day off with a long high and then make a short high a reward for completing it, and repeat this throughout the day. You could write a list of long highs and a list of short highs and use these to plan out your day with long highs and then short highs. The short highs will be your breaks from working hard on your long highs, so you should spend less time doing them in comparison. This will ultimately decrease your procrastination because the sooner you complete the long high, the sooner you will get the reward of the short high.
If you still need help getting the motivation to do a long high first, then think about the difference in feelings between the two. For example, how much happier did you feel when you achieved a good result on a test you studied hard for in comparison to playing a game on your phone. Also, remember the nice feeling of having no tasks in the back of your mind. If you do the short high first, you can’t truly enjoy it until the long high in the back of your mind has been completed.
Seek Assistance for the Task if Needed:
When a task is too difficult, it is important to seek help for it rather than putting it off without addressing the problem. This could include getting a teacher to explain an assignment question to you or getting a friend to help you paint the walls of a room. Try to get this help at the earliest time possible so that you aren’t delaying the task too long. It is an important skill to be able to recognise when you need help for tasks and this will decrease the time between the task being created and the task being done.
Write Specific Tasks:
Specific tasks on your to-do list leave no room for ambiguity and don’t make the task seem massive. It can be as simple as writing ‘do maths exercise 4.1’ instead of ‘do maths homework’, but it makes all the difference. This may include breaking big tasks into multiple, specific tasks to make it seem less overwhelming. You will feel less inclined to procrastinate a task if you know exactly what needs to be done.
Remember that an Earlier Start Means More Time to Improve the Task:
This tip is for all the perfectionists, people with a fear of failure and people that do tasks last minute because they claim they work better under pressure. It is beneficial to remember that getting a head start allows you to do the task better. This includes more time to edit and refine, try different things to see what works the best and change your mind if needed.
This applies better when you have a deadline in place to work towards, so create one for a task if it doesn’t have one. A classic example is creating a large piece of writing as it requires lots of editing and possibly a few topic changes before you can reach the final product. By remembering this, you will be less likely to procrastinate since you want a lot of time to get close to perfection, to not fail it or just to do it to the best of your ability.
Get Someone to Hold you Accountable:
Sometimes your own willpower to do tasks isn’t enough, so you might need to get help from someone else. An example of this would be getting your parents to consistently check up on your progress with a task and getting you back on track if you’re procrastinating it. They may need to give you incentives for completing the task or disincentives for not working on the task, such as chocolate for doing it and no phone until you do it. This will definitely help to decrease procrastination as you will feel some external pressure to do the task and you will keep being directed back to the task.
Get Rid of Distractions:
Getting rid of distractions is essential to keeping you focused on the task at hand and less likely to procrastinate it by doing other things. Notifications from phones are the most common example of a distraction that makes you procrastinate. I like to use the forest app to stop my phone being a distraction as it kills the tree that you are growing if you leave the app. You could also declutter your study area so there is less temptation to focus on something else.
I wrote about setting a 10 minute timer for a task in my post on ‘Tips for Creating Good Habits‘. This works because it appears that 10 minutes of doing a task is easy and when the timer is up, you will most likely have gotten the momentum to keep working on the task. This works with decreasing procrastination as it is more ideal to start a task that only takes 10 minutes. For example, you decide to make a start on cleaning your very messy room with a 10 minute timer. Once you have cleaned for 10 minutes, you feel in the mood for cleaning and continue to work until the whole room is clean. You still have the option to stop after being productive for 10 minutes, but a lot of the time it will make you want to keep going.
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