Are you one of those people who have two assignments, three exams, a board meeting on Wednesday, a wealth of household chores and financial maintenance to take care of but spent most of today on Facebook? It feels so much better to anything else than the mountain of work you’ve got to do, but the short term gain is not worth the added stress and reduced quality of your output. Procrastination is a bitter sweet friend that could be setting you back big time.
As many university and high school students are hitting exam time and workers are feeling the mid-year motivation dip let’s have a look at why we procrastinate and how to cut down.
Social Media and Devices
With today’s quick access to a multitude of social media for many it’s become a default routine to begin the day with checking their accounts, replying to messages and updating statuses before the often easy fall down the rabbit hole of the Internet. If you’ve got a lot to get done today avoid social media at all costs! Put the phone away or on silent, I’ve even known some friends to deactivate accounts during exam periods because the temptation is too difficult. Just say no!
Often tasks feel insurmountable. Fear of not being capable enough, not enough time or just the sheer size of the task and imagined pain it will cause leaves us putting things off as ‘tomorrow me’s problem’. Time management is a skill that requires learning and practice but will ultimately bring so much ease to life’s many stresses. Whenever possible start early and chip away at tasks in pieces. Use the time when you’re not busy to get ahead in projects so when unexpected tasks and delays arise you’re not left with no time and too much work to do. Breaking big projects down into smaller tasks to get achieved over the days or weeks also provides more manageable and achievable sized goals that will reduce the getting-started anxiety you might be feeling.
Do you suffer from the attention span of lovable Dory from Finding Nemo? When you’re doing a boring task it’s hard work to keep your mind from wandering and far more interesting things keep appearing out of nowhere. This problem is a lot about self-control, try to become aware of when you feel yourself getting distracted and gently refocus. Some studies show that human attention span on any one task is only about 20 minutes! Try setting yourself a schedule with regular breaks whether it be having a meal, a coffee, doing some exercise, or even watching an episode of a show. If you schedule regular intervals to allow yourself to change environment and relax you’ll come back refreshed to focus your mind. Physical activity in particular is important for your body and mind when you’ve got long hours behind a desk required. Like letting the kids out to play at recess and lunch, you need to expend some energy before you can focus.