Sunday, March 13, 2011

10 Ways to Snap Out of A Procrastination Funk

Ever find yourself just sitting there thinking of things you could do besides the actual work that need to be done?  I think we've all had moments where we knew the deadline was coming up, knew what needed to be done, knew it was important but yet just couldn't get ourselves to start.  There are plenty of reasons why could be that you're overstressed, overworked, or just a habitual procrastinator.  We hate ourselves after it get down to crunch time and we are scrambling to get our work done.  Try using these 10 guidelines to fix this bad habit.

1.  Stop Making Excuses and Rationalizations.  Stop that battle in your mind where you are wrestling with yourself to start and just start.  Don't try to push it off.  No more I'll just watch TV, browse the web, or chat with my friend for just ANOTHER 5 minutes and then I'll get started because that 5 minutes is going to turn into 10 then 30 and so on.  Who here has ever used the excuse "I work better when I'm under pressure" as the reason to procrastinate til the last second.
2.  Calm down and focus.  Starting is most often the hardest hurdle to get over.  So try to find somewhere without distractions and just focus on the task at hand.
3.  Plan out your schedule.  Often we have a lot of things to do, try to do them all at the same thing, and this leads to a lot of stress and feeling burnt out.  So use some form of a planner, personally I like to use Google calendar, to draw out your schedule and set apart how much time you want to devote to each task and focus solely on that task during that time frame.
4.  Work in order of difficulty.  Start with the things that will give you the most trouble first because that will be when you are most focused and have the most energy.  After knocking off the tough stuff the easier tasks will seem like a piece of cake.
5.  Make yourself accountable to others.  Tell your friends, parents, siblings what you need to get done and ask them if they can check in on you to make sure you are working on it.  Guilt tripping yourself can be a good way to get yourself started.
6.  Find a group of hard workers to work with.  If everyone around you is working their ass off you probably won't just sit there doing nothing.  So try to identify good people to hang around because it will definitely rub off on you.
7.  Break it down into small steps.  If the task seems to overwhelming try breaking it down into small parts.  Example:  If you have a term paper to write you could try breaking it down into 30 mins of brain storming, 30 mins for an outline, then allocate time to each paragraph, then proofreading, and etc.  Accomplishing these smaller goals will seem less overwhelming.
8.  Positive Motivation.  Try picturing how good you will feel when you get your final outcome.  If studying for a test, imagine what it will be like to ace it.  If it's going to the gym, imagine how great you'll look once you losing that 10 lbs or get that 6 pack, or whatever your goals are.  You get the picture.
9.  Conquer your fears.  Sometimes its just the worry of failing or looking stupid that freezes us.  Realize it's ok to make mistakes and that action will always be better than doing nothing.  You can't succeed without trying.
10.  Just do it.  There's a reason why Nike sells so many shoes, their awesome slogan is one of them.  It all boils down you just doing it.  Show some determination and discipline and just start whatever you need to get done.