Updated: Jun 27
The problem is that we are programmed to procrastinate. In general, we all tend to struggle with tasks that promise future upside as compared to an immediate gain. The pleasure of eating an ice cream now or sleeping one extra hour is much more than getting fit and active over the course of a few years.
However, the costs of procrastination are often considerable. Evidence suggests that the habit of leaving things until the last minute generally results in low-quality work performance and reduced well-being.
So why when so many problems arise out of Procrastination do we still indulge in it? And how do we deal with it?
Here are 5 powerful and easy ways to kill the habit of procrastination:
1. Cultivate Self Discipline
Children almost always finish their homework, eat meals that are right for them and sleep at a fixed time. They live under a structure and follow a discipline to be able to make the best and achieve the most from their day. Over the course of time, as we grow older we tend to develop a rebellious attitude towards this structure. As life throws challenges at us we become laid back and tend to let go of the most important teaching of our youth, which is self-discipline.
Self Discipline is the only skill required to master any other skill.
People with a higher degree of self-discipline spend less time debating whether or not to indulge in behaviors that are detrimental to their growth and are able to take action more easily.
You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish by simply following this rule.
2. Two-Minute Rule
If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now. It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. For example, sending out that email, cleaning up the clutter on your desk, making that courtesy customer call to take feedback and so on.
Can all of our goals be accomplished in 2 min? Obviously not. But the two-minute rule works for bigger goals as well, because every task can be started in two minutes or less. Allow me to explain.
Want to eat healthier? Just eat one piece of fruit (Two-Minute Rule)
Want to make reading a habit? Just read the first page of a new book (Two-Minute Rule)
Want to never miss a workout? just get your sports shoes on and get out the door (Two-Minute Rule).
Taking the first step will often inspire you to go all the way.
3. Stop Lying to Yourself
We often tell lies to ourselves. Such as, "I'll feel like doing this more tomorrow." Or "I work best under pressure" Or “I am too busy”.
Now, most of you may think that “I’ll do this tomorrow” is a perfectly fair and justifiable statement, especially when you’re busy. However, the truth is that when you’ve been delaying on a task/goal, chances are that you’ll continue delaying it unless you make some dramatic shift in your environment. While delaying a task by a day doesn’t make much of a difference in the long run, the problem isn’t the one day you’re delaying the task by — it’s the number of “one day’s” you have been delaying it for.
There will be days when you will not be in the highest spirits, days when you are racing against time and days when you will be too exhausted to take action and that’s all right. Just don’t lie to yourself about it. Accept that you’re not doing what needs to be done today because of a valid reason and be sure to commit yourself to assign a time when you would complete it.
Never postpone a task more than once of its assigned timelines.
4. Measure the Downside of Inaction
When we plan to make certain improvements in our lives, we usually spend a good amount of time thinking about how we will benefit from the positive action. This can be motivating but often not enough to last all along.
While we might weigh the pros and cons of doing something new, we far less often consider the pros and cons of not doing that thing. Understanding what inaction could cost you is another way of motivating yourself to stay focused on the task.
5. Live Clutter-Free
Well, clutter and procrastination are best friends. When you procrastinate on throwing things away or not putting things where they belong, you end up with clutter. Clutter is a lifelong upward battle that is only made worse by the habit of procrastination and vice versa.
All of us have experienced those annoying moments when you are running late and you can’t seem to find that one important item. Clutter at your work desk, wardrobe or any other place of everyday use can cause you much more anxiety and pressure than you are prepared to deal with, leading to a never-ending cycle of chaos and procrastination.
“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination” - Christina Scalise
A clutter-free environment at the home and office will help you to avoid any procrastination. You will be surprised how much better, more enthusiastic and energetic you will feel to get things done.