The deadline is coming but you prefer to spend your time on social media-scrolling, video-watching, blog-surfing, and many other less-necessary activities. You know that you have to finish your job but you abandon it instead. When the deadline is near, you start to panic and wish that you would finish it earlier. You finally do it under big pressure and end up, the result is not as you’ve expected. It’s all too late to redo it!
The sad thing is, this kind of loop will most likely repeat in the future time. You can’t resist the temptation of being a procrastinator because it feels comforting in the first place (even you actually know how the result will be). Anyway, it depends on you whether you want to cut the loop off or not. In case you do, here are some tips to make you stop procrastinating and start progressing instead.
Set clear objectives
You have to know what has to be done or finished. You can make a list of “what-to-do” on your planner or calendar to make you easier to track. Yet, avoiding writing the big plan or the big picture of your job is a must. You better start writing the simple goal that you think you can finish in near time, or, in short, make your big plan of your task as detailed as possible. For instance, instead of writing “I’m gonna finish reading this whole book”, you can write “I’m gonna finish chapter 8 of this book.”
A wise man once said, “many a little makes a mickle”. Means that, by doing it step by step, in the end, you won’t be aware that the big plan of your task is actually finished. Don’t ever underestimate small progress, because progress is still progress no matter how small it is. Also, writing a big plan will only give you big pressure because your brain sees it as a burden rather than a task that can be finished little by little. You don’t want to get an additional headache in finishing your job, do you?
Know the deadline
The common thing that makes people get things undone is by frequently telling “I’ll finish this next week” or “I’ll complete that three weeks from now”. The truth is, ‘next week’ and ‘three weeks from now’ are not specific enough to make your ass get up off your couch. The most effective way to make yourself on-time in doing your work is by setting the deadline as specific as possible. For example, you can write: “I’m gonna finish writing this article by Wednesday 6, 2020 at 1 pm”. The more specific, the more your lazy soul will be “haunted”.
Additionally, you better set your own deadline a couple days of hours before the actual deadline. This is to give you extra time just in case something unexpected happens. Better safe than sorry! Or you can ask help from others, like your friends, agency, or professionals. Because doing something with more than two hands is much easier.
Tackle hard stuff first
Mark Twain once said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” No, you are not suggested to eat frogs to be productive. What Twin tries to say is, by doing the least-liked or the most difficult thing first, the other following things will get easier. This is actually still debatable since many people think that by starting doing the easiest task first, we can create such a momentum that leads us through the hardest ones.
Research proves that people who can finish the hardest stuff first are more productive and achieve more, compared to those who do the easy task first. This is very reasonable because, logically, if we can finish the hard task first, our mood is enhancing. There will be a feeling of relief because we succeed in finishing something that we think we can’t finish in the first place. Consequently, once the mood is raised, our optimism will follow. The combination between these two, believe it or not, will be such good “assets” in finishing your other following tasks that are way easier.
Doing many things within one time sounds more effective and saving time. The fact is it is not. Research conducted by Stanford University shows that multitasking makes people less productive than doing one particular thing at a time. It is not efficient either. Multitasking will make your result unsatisfying because your brain naturally is able to focus on one thing at a time. That is why, once you try to do two or more jobs all at once, your brain will lack the capacity to do all jobs successfully.
The most awful thing is, multitasking can even cause damage in the area of your brain that is related to cognitive skills. It can lower your IQ scores. This is based on a study done by the University of London. If you find no effectiveness in monotasking, just remember that you are potentially being dumber if you dare to take a risk on doing the multitask. If your IQ score is as equal as Einstein’s, then maybe it’s really not a big deal.
Self-rewarding is not only done whenever you achieve something big and remarkable. You need to appreciate your hard work even after finishing your daily or weekly job that is considered as less-significant. Scientifically speaking, receiving a reward can release dopamine within our body. Means that, we will get a sense of pleasure. Well, who doesn’t like receiving a gift anyway? This is so normal. It is natural for humans to expect something in return after performing a particular action. The reward is the exchange for the effort you give.
As a note, the form of the reward here does not have to be in the form of a trophy or other kind of pricey stuff. Give yourself a gift that is related to your personal interest, or something you can’t enjoy for a long time. You can reward yourself by giving one full day to watch the series you’ve been abandoning. Turn off the handphone, cut off any form of interruption and focus on yourself and your favorite series. Enjoy your me-time because you deserve it.
Procrastination will come without us expecting it. It appears all of a sudden to drain our motivation and energy. Therefore, it is important for us to know its symptoms and prepare for the worst by doing several tips above. Get more think-tank about self-improvement here. Thank you for reading, if you find this article helpful, make sure to share it.
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