"I'll do it later".
This phrase is one that practically all of us have uttered at multiple points of our lives. Perhaps we've been wanting to change this bad habit for a long while but were never successful, yet it's not surprising how procrastination interferes with the desire to stop procrastinating. If I told you that making some small changes today can eradicate your habit of constantly putting things off till later, would you take the challenge? If so, here are some simple steps you can follow:
1. Change your mindset
Some of the top reasons which people have indicated for procrastinating include feeling incompetent for the job or feeling that their procrastination habits are beyond salvation. If you belong to one of these groups, a change in mindset and attitude towards the tasks you have on hand is required. You need to overcome this psychological barrier before you can take the action necessary to change your procrastination habits, otherwise you'll find it much harder to internalise said changes.
2. Create a to-do list
When people procrastinate and their tasks accumulate, they tend to forget about the previous task assigned to them. The first step to overcoming this problem is to have the habit of making to-do lists; this will prevent you from missing out on old tasks. Furthermore, having a to-do list enables you to rank tasks based on their priority and plan your schedule accordingly. Make sure your lists are in a place that enjoys a high level of visibility so that they don't get missed!
3. Break down big tasks into smaller ones and create a timeline
The bigger the job, the greater the trepidation. Perhaps this is due to the fear of failure or seeming inadequate. To overcome this, break these big tasks down into smaller ones and specify a date for completion. Planning to complete small tasks systematically is less scary and also helps you to stay on track with your overall timeline.
4. Use the two-minute rule
People tend to put off doing minor tasks, thinking that they can easily complete them later. However, such a mindset only leads to a vicious cycle of procrastination. Psychologists have discovered a two-minute rule that is effective in addressing this – if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately. This habit can help you to check off many small tasks without significantly disrupting your current activity.
5. Having a trustworthy person you can be accountable to
Being accountable to someone can be very useful in your fight against procrastination. Ideally, you would want to choose someone whom you look up to and does not share the same problem of procrastinating. Having this trustworthy person by your side to check on your progress can help to keep you focused and prevent any unconscious deviation.
Yes – bad habits are easy to pick up and hard to forget. However, if you are willing to make these small changes, there's no reason why you won't be able to banish even the stickiest of habits. Procrastination can be an insidious presence, but it's nothing that a firm hand and solid mind can't take care of!