The Art of Getting Things Done

 


Procrastination GIF
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What is procrastination and why do we do it?

According to Wikipedia, Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. So whenever we have something to do and we keep saying we’ll do it later, we are in fact procrastinating.
The human tendency to postpone their work is age-old and happens to quite literally everyone. From “I’ll do my homework tomorrow, mom” to “I’m sorry I missed the project deadline, I was hung up on something else”, procrastination is everywhere and the truth is that tomorrow never comes.
To explain how to overcome procrastination we must first understand a few reasons as to why we procrastinate.


Bored Work Day GIF By Ailujulia

Distraction

With the gargantuan increase in the usage of social media and smartphones, humans have grown accustomed to getting that frequent shot of serotonin that smartphones provide, which leads them astray and into a never-ending scroll of internet memes. This happens quite simply because most of us can’t focus on one task for a long time.

Lack of Prioritization

When we have many tasks at hand and we don’t know which one to get started on first, more often than not we end up doing none and while away our time.

Unable to manage time

We usually do things without looking at the time and end up wasting a lot of time on something that should’ve hardly taken much time at all. We end up feeling annoyed and stressed and end up procrastinating and doing any further work.

All the above reasons tend to make us believe that the root problem is time management but at every procrastination problem’s heart it usually boils down to us not being able to deal with our emotions.

“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl

A very common example of this is when we are about to sleep, we decide to make a list of things we want to accomplish the next day, “Hit the gym, Finish chores early, Be more productive” etc. but when we wake up the next day we do not do anything that we promised we would do. 

This is because we tricked our brains into believing that we would be more productive the next day and not procrastinate, thus providing a short-term relief which makes us feel better temporarily, but when we wake up our brain is reset and we go back to our old ways of postponing things. 

Benefits of getting things done

Procrastination might not seem like a big problem to you, but eventually, the work that you’ve been putting off will catch up to you and your lifestyle will be your bane.

Assuming you do finish your work on time then not only do you not have anything to worry about you have a multitude of benefits such as:

Increased self-control

You will be able to get things done even when you don’t feel like doing it, you have control over what you do and you don’t heed to the voice of procrastination.

You have more time on your hands

With you finishing your work ahead of schedule, you now have guilt-free extra time which you can spend on things you never used to be able to do before.

Quality of life improves

You won’t be worrying about that next deadline or submission, you’ve already taken care of it. Your mind is at rest, as a result, your stress levels drop and you enjoy life a lot more. Every breath of fresh air makes you feel good.

You saved yourself from the regret

Every time in the past when procrastination cost you something, you would have regretted not finishing it earlier, not doing what you could have. Now you can focus on getting even better.

We have one shot at this life, it’s always better to do what’s best rather than what feels the best.


Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash


How to overcome procrastination?

There are many techniques we can follow to stop procrastinating, I will enumerate a few of the methods I use to get things done.

Take that first step

Often we find that taking the initiative is very hard, but once we do it, the rest of the way is smooth sailing. We tend to think too much about the task at hand and have preconceptions about any possible hurdles. All this is unnecessary and we should start the work. Everything else will follow.

Cut yourself off from the distractions

If we cut the source of the distractions, we avert the possibility of us getting distracted mid-task and we increase focus. An example could be as simple as keeping your smartphone in the other room.

“Try to remove every, every, every roadblock,” said Gretchen Rubin.

Split the work into small tasks

By reducing the workload into manageable chunks, the motivation to finish it off quickly will increase, and we end up doing more than the required tasks and end up feeling fulfilled doing more than we set out to do. This is a sure-fire way of kicking out procrastination.

Planning and organizing

Make a list of things you want to do, and set out to make sure you do it. This brings about a sense of orderliness to our life and as a result, makes us think incrementally as to which task we need to complete, which brings us to the next task.

Focus on one task at a time

Make sure to take one task, and give it your all while doing it, this way you will make sure it is your best work and you will finish it in a much shorter timespan.

Don’t form a routine

In my experience, when we start getting accustomed to a particular routine, our brain tends to become comfortable with it, this leads to less productivity. Instead, try to change things up and do something in a different order to keep your brain sharp and not give any room for procrastination to creep in.

Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

Conclusion

Procrastination is not evil, it’s an unwanted companion. Try to minimize it, and your life will take a turn for the better.

With that being said, getting things done does not mean being a workaholic, do keep in mind that everybody deserves to take a break. So, when you’re feeling a bit burnt out, or when you feel yourself slipping back to the old ways, just take a break. 

You have control over your life. Give it your all.


Comments

  1. A really enjoyable read. Keep it up! :)

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  2. Beautifully written. More people need to read this and realise!

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