Procrastinating, Productivity levels, Time Management, Staying Motivated
WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 14 December 2016
6 Proven Strategies to Avoid Procrastination
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Jon Miller

As a broke college student, I would bet my life savings that you have procrastinated at least once in your lifetime. Personally, I have raced against the clock many more times than I would like to admit. 

Everyone is guilty of it, but trust me when I say that it is simple to avoid procrastination and start our paths towards being responsible human beings. Here are a few strategies to avoid procrastinating.

1. Break it Down

No, I don’t mean dancing. Some tasks may look too big to handle so they get pushed to the side. Instead of looking at the whole task, break it down into smaller sections so you have smaller goals that can be maintained more reasonably.

2. Find Somewhere Quiet

I can’t get anything done if I am in an environment where people are talking or there is a lot of noise; I get distracted and end up procrastinating. If you want to be productive, find somewhere quiet where you can focus on the task at hand.

3. Put The Phone Down

While trying to complete your task at hand, a simple text can turn into hours of scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or playing around with the Snapchat filters. To avoid the temptation, turn your phone on silent and place it somewhere away from yourself, that way there is one less distraction. Personally, I like to put my phone in airplane mode till my work is complete.

4. Schedule Time Blocks

Write out on a calendar or planner certain blocks of times in your day where the only thing you have planned for that time is to do your work. This will help you stick to your schedule to complete the necessary work.

If that still isn’t working for you, just invoke the 15-minute rule. What’s the 15-minute rule? It means that for the next 15 minutes, you have to work on that one task you have been putting off the whole week. I’m sure you have heard the saying that getting started is the hardest part of a task, well, 15 minutes, that's all it takes. Not 5 or 20, but 15. This amount of time gives you just enough to get started a build a bit of momentum ( who knows, you might just feel motivated enough to keep on going).

5. Start Early

If you know something is due in advance, start early! Starting early will decrease procrastination (and stress) because you have already begun, and beginning, is often the hardest part. By starting early you can do a little each day and before you know it, it will be done.

6. Find Out What Works Best For You

Everyone’s working style is different, which means you have to see what works best for you. Are you able to take mini-breaks throughout your work and regain focus when needed or do you have to sit down and do it all in one sitting? Knowing your personal style will lead to more success. Following these strategies will help you avoid procrastination and better manage your time. Remember, everyone has done it but it isn’t too late to stop procrastinating and kick it into gear. 7. Set Goals and Rewards for Yourself By setting goals and/or rewards, you have a greater incentive to reach mini points of success which will hep you to stay on task and feel more accomplished. To help you stay motivated and on task, make sure to reward yourself regularly. This is not to say that you get a prize after every page read but treat yourself to a small break or an extra gummy bear after 10 pages. Psychologist Alexander Rozental bases this reward system on the theory of learned diligence

"Instead of only rewarding ourselves at the end of a task, the trick is to also reward our progress along the way. This way, we shift focus from rewarding the final product to rewarding the performance itself. Through combining effort and rewards we can learn to associate work with something desirable."  

What are some of the ways you avoid procrastination? Leave your thoughts in a comment below! 

*Co-authored by Hannah Son