5 Tips to stop procrastinating - My Motivation Advice
Hi my name is Tara and I'm a procrastinator.
Are you reading this and procrastinating on getting something done. Go do the thing!
Or is it not that easy? Sometimes getting started is the toughest part, so today I thought I'd share my top 5 tips that (usually) work to help to get over the procrastination hump.
1. You're never going feel like doing it "later" or "tomorrow", so just do it now
If you're waiting for motivation to hit let's face the facts, usually later comes and you still don't really feel like getting it done. Motivation levels normally go up and down, but you can't always rely on them to kick in when you need to. I think this thought process has been the biggest help for me this year in getting things done. Particularly things like chores or flossing (I'm glad my dentist doesn't read this lol) which aren't much fun so I often say I'll do tomorrow, then days go past. Lately telling myself, "you probably won't feel like it tomorrow too, so might as well do it now" has really helped with getting things done. Better yet getting something done can lead to a boost in motivation, the more you do the more motivated you can feel.
2. Break it down & take a small step today
Sometimes I find the amount of work I know needs to go into big tasks really daunting and anxiety inducing so I just avoid it completely. This isn't so much a conscious decision as my brain going "i need to do that thing", "ahh", "watching this video/show makes me feel better" then hours later I'm still not started. One way I found to break this cycle is to break down the task into bite size pieces. Sometimes these might be something very small almost silly, like print out images, but thinking to myself "I'll just do this small thing" often leads me to ticking off a couple more parts too. And if I only get that small thing done, that's great too and I'm one step towards finishing.
3. Keep organised and set mini deadlines
Whether you use a beautiful bullet journal, ical, or an excel spreadsheet, I find keeping organised a key part of the preventing procrastination journey. Using the pieces of the task from tip 2, put them into your preferred planning tool spread out between now and your deadline. These mini deadlines mean that you'll hopefully keep on track to completing the project on time and put the time in rather than leaving it to the last minute. Don't have a deadline? Setting yourself one and scheduling it in means it won't stay on the "I'll get around to it one day" list forever. I must say one of my favourite parts of this step is the satisfying feeling of ticking/crossing things off that to do list.
4. Make plans with others
Sharing your plan or achievement can help motivate you to get started and can give you some encouragement and external support as you go or finish. Something I've been trying to do more of this semester, particularly with uni work, is to organise to meet with my classmates to work on assignments. It doesn't always work out when we end up chatting haha, but knowing you've made a plan to meet up and get some work done means you aren't relying entirely on internal motivation to get your foot in the library or computer studio. This has worked in the past for me with gym buddies, I'm much more likely to show up if I have a plan to meet someone vs plans to work out by myself.
5. Put yourself in your version of a productive environment
Okay this could lead to procrastinating when a deadline is near. No your room doesn't have to be tidy to finish writing the essay due tomorrow, but it does help right? If there is time to quickly have a clean up sometimes that quick tidy can create an environment you're much happier to get working in. Maybe you find you're more productive in a cafe environment with a good coffee in hand, so go there. Maybe the quiet library is more your jam, try creating a routine so that the places you do more work in are places you go to. I know for me I find it hard to keep/get working while on the couch in my apartment so I schedule heading into uni for set days in the holidays and time not in class. Another thing I do to get in the groove is to play some music I'm enjoying at the moment, dishes to your version of motivating music is a lot more enjoyable haha.
I can't say I'm at a point where never procrastinate any more. Some days are definitely easier than others and it is something that takes practice if you've been at it a long time like me. But next time you feel the familiar "I can do it later" thought, even if its something small, give one of these a go and see if you can get it done.