Procrastination is a very common symptom of anxiety. It’s a more mild form of avoidance and can be a pivotal point in whether your day is productive or not – there’s the same amount of hours in each day but sometimes we can get so much done and other days barely get out of a onesie (just me?) and it can often leave you feeling deflated and beaten. I’ve been trying to learn how to win my fight with procrastination, it’s an every day battle and sometimes I win but a lot of the times I still lose – but I also think I can be too hard on myself, not every day has to be a productive one and this is particularly difficult to master when you’re your own boss.
Uncompleted tasks waiting for your attention, you can either start them or not. If you’re looking for procrastination ideas, you could write a blog post on procrastinating (guilty! I actually started this yesterday, wrote this last sentence and then that’s as far as I got). I don’t write these posts because I’m superior, cured or ‘better than’ any of the things I post about…The things I’m writing about are all very much me currently!
Obviously time constraints are going to be key here – I’ve never been late with deadlines even as far back as University, college and school but I did always leave things until the last minute when there was no need, even with lots of planning and promising myself. Often, this can be put down to feeling worry and anxiety around the ideas of failing – something many of us can’t bear to think about. However, your approach in defining the task at hand can make all the difference so I’m going to write a few tips from that perspective:
What Do You Need To Do?
- Write a to-do list of the tasks or goals you’re wanting to complete. Particularly useful where I’m self employed, I actually have a monthly task list and then chunk that down to weekly and daily as I go. Don’t overload yourself (I used to do this) by putting weeks of work into the first week. Only list what is achievable in the time-frame – anything extra will be a bonus.
- Prioritise the tasks at hand so you can easily identify what is most important or urgent, that way you can start with these so you don’t end up stressed and fire-fighting later on.
- Break bigger tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
How Can You Achieve It?
- Worst first. Make sure your important, urgent or time-consuming tasks are the ones you start putting your energy into first. Everything else will seem easy in comparison! I always put off booking locations for shoots, it’s really hard work and ends up taking me ages so I just hate getting started on it. Having something booked is an important task to get completed though, so it’s something I should do sooner rather than later after flitting between unimportant jobs.
- Use momentum. Upon completing a task that you enjoyed or feel energised by, go straight into one you’ve been avoiding .
- Set time limits. If you’re easily overwhelmed or often find yourself working slowly, give yourself a time limit for each task before you move onto the next one – you can always go back to the first task later! If you’re finding the idea of something particularly laborious, just do it for five minutes. Five minutes is nothing, once the time is up, reconsider spending just another five minutes having a go at it and repeat until you feel you need to move on to something else.
- Pick a good time. Decide what time of day you’re most productive and use this time to get started – consider your environment too, avoid distractions and isolate yourself if necessary. Maybe leave the house and get your work down outside or in a local coffee shop if you need to get away from pottering about at home – I have a separate office at home so no work stuff ever enters my bedroom any more which is amazing.
- Schedule your week. If you made a timetable of your week, you’ll probably be surprised at how much free time you usually waste and these tasks can be split up amongst these time slots easily.
- Set reminders. If you’re someone that simply ends up forgetting everything you need to do, just set reminders on your phone or post-its where you won’t miss them, like by the kettle or fridge.
- Focus. If you struggle with this, try relaxation techniques to ‘reset’ before you begin.
- Treat yo’ self! Whether it be a cup of tea, ten minutes perusing social media or a nice dinner for bigger tasks, reward yourself for getting the jobs done.
Use this as a good excuse to GET STARTED!
Good luck – if you have any specific tips or strategies to avoid procrastinating then leave them in the comments below 🙂