How to stop procrastinating?
It's important to understand how to stop procrastinating or as commonly known as wasting time. Believe it or not, getting focused on your more important tasks is easier than getting distracted.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination can be easily defined as doing things that are not important over things that are important and/or urgent.
Why do we procrastinate?
If you have felt bad for procrastinating on your work hours, let us tell you that your behavior is shared for millions of workers worldwide.
Hold on! We’re not telling you that is OK to procrastinate.
Human beings, yes, like you and me, tend to ignore or relegate those tasks that make them feel uncomfortable with or threatened by.
Probably the most important fact is that usually it happens without us being aware. Why? Because procrastinating is triggered by our instincts which are managed by our subconscious mind.
To explain it a little better, let’s say that Bob is an executive admin. Bob really likes the part of his job that has to deal with calendar and time management, but doesn’t like the finance side of his job. When it is time to set his boss’ meetings and planning his/her agenda, Bob will be focused and probably will complete those task in a timely manner. BUT, when Bob has to do expense reports, his instincts will deviate him from starting because subconsciously he feels threatened by something that makes him feel uncomfortable.
This behavior is more common that you can imagine, and the most important thing, is workable and easy to overcome!
How to stop procrastinating? Or like we feel better to address it: How to stop wasting time?
If you consciously realize you’re procrastinating, don’t punish yourself. You will stress yourself and the more stressed you are, the most difficult it will be to focus and start your tasks. Feeling guilty and worried will drain you emotionally.
Create a “to do” list and start by the things that you don’t feel comfortable with. Let’s be honest if you don’t tackle those first, you will keep on burying them on your to do list. As soon as you are done with the tasks that make you feel uncomfortable, you’ll be able to work on the “ones you like“. IMPORTANT: we recommend not to include more than 5 tasks per day on your “to do” list.
Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is a lie! You can’t pay 100% attention at two things at the same time, therefore one will steal time and energy from the other. You’ll finish your “to do” list faster by tackling one task at a time, than putting effort in multiple tasks.
Keep your phone out of sight. With social media and A LOT of fun and cool apps, smartphones are procrastination best friends. We recommend to put your smartphone in your drawer, purse or wherever it won’t deviate your attention from your “to do” list.
Avoid music with lyrics. If you like to work listening to music, stick to instrumental music. Lyrics will distract you. We recommend relaxing or meditation music. It will be easier to be focused.
How to stop procrastinating with the 2 minute rule?
The Two-Minute Rule states that when you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. The objective is to make habits easy to start and to get used to.
People usually wonders how they will master the task with only 2 minutes or less per task. The trick is that at first we do not need to master the task itself, we need to master the habit of starting something. Those two minutes are simply a ritual for the beginning of a larger routine.
Some examples of converting larger routines into two minute routines can be:
- “Run five miles” = “Put on and tie my running sneakers.”
- “Read 10 pages before going to bed at night” = “Read one page.”
- “Do twenty minutes of yoga” = “Roll out my yoga mat.”
- “Do the dishes” = “Wash 3 glasses.”
- “Fold the laundry” = “Fold one t-shirt.”
The idea is to make your habits easy to achieve at the beginning. A new habit is not supposed to feel like a challenge. The actions afterwards can be challenging, but the first two minutes should be a piece of cake. You can usually find the gateway habits that will help you accomplish your desired outcome by mapping out your goals on a scale from “very easy” to “very hard.”