We joke about how often we put things off to the last minute, but the truth is that procrastination is a serious problem. Aside from severely hindering your productivity, it causes you to feel guilty and contributes to anxiety, having negative effects on your mental well-being. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make it easier to buckle down and get things done.
Set realistic mini-tasks for yourself. You have a massive report to write but you can’t seem to gather the willpower to start. The problem is that the task at hand seems too huge, too daunting, and you don’t know where to begin. Break up your task into a bunch of small, manageable mini-tasks, such as “outline the first section” or “write three pages.” Doesn’t seem so daunting now, does it? Instead of stressing out over how much left you have to do, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment with every mini-task you finish.
Make your mini-tasks concrete, and create a schedule of them. If one of your mini-tasks is “do research,” how will you know when it’s done? You may end up reading one paragraph and calling it quits. “Write two pages of notes” is a better goal because you’re sure to actually do a substantial amount of work. Similarly, give yourself deadlines. Dividing the work up into mini-tasks doesn’t do much good if you leave them all for the end anyway. Having “write two pages of notes before lunch” as a goal will ensure that you hold yourself accountable for the work.
Have others hold you accountable. Tell people about the tasks you’ve set yourself. They’ll ask how your project is going from time to time, and you’ll be more motivated to finish it if others know about it.
Reward yourself. Procrastination is largely a result of a feeling of inadequacy, a feeling that you’re not up to this task. To combat this tendency, train yourself to feel accomplished when you’ve made progress. Creating a schedule of concrete mini-tasks will help with this; every time you finish one, you’ll have a concrete quantity of work done that you can feel good about. Don’t feel bad if you don’t stick your schedule, though—that will just make you procrastinate more. Instead, just set a new deadline and keep working.
Fortunately, you don’t have to put off getting great medical attention when you need it, because Neighbors Emergency Center offers 24 hour emergency care in Houston and Austin. Our board certified physicians are no procrastinators, so there’s little to no waiting and you’ll be back on your feet in no time at all.