Are you struggling with procrastination? If so, it’s time to take action. Fortunately, there are some surprisingly easy yet effective steps you can take to boost motivation and in turn productivity. Whether you’re a freelancer working from home, an employee with a flexible schedule, or a business owner, self-starting requires that you adopt ambitious work habits that aren’t always common in traditional office settings with set schedules and duties. Overcome the mental obstacles holding you back with these tips, ideas, and strategies for rising up against procrastination.
1) Divide Your Work Into Easily Digestible Portions
Starting a big project can be intimidating. If you feel overwhelmed, set an easily attainable goal, meet it, and then set another manageable plan. Breaking up your work into smaller chunks gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you’re done with that first phase that can motivate you to keep pushing forward. When it comes to being productive, accomplishing something is always better than nothing, even if you’re just barely getting your feet wet. Once you have some momentum going, continuing with your task feels much more realistic and feasible.
2) Plan Your Schedule In Advance
While it’s true inspiration can strike at random, sometimes you do need to designate specific times to get your work done — and stick to them. Be realistic with your scheduling, and always plan to complete a project before its deadline. Giving yourself some breathing room alleviates the stress associated with looming deadlines, making your work experience far more pleasant, which naturally boosts your productivity.
3) Create a Pleasant Work Environment
It may not always be possible to have a wonderful workday, but there are steps you can take to keep your personal morale as high as possible, even during stressful periods. For example, listening to uplifting music while you work is a great way to stay focused and keep your mood positive. Sip a cup of your favorite tea, and reward yourself with a nice snack or meal after you’ve reached one of your more immediate goals. Treat yourself well while you’re in work mode, and being productive becomes less of a chore. Your goal is to change the way you view work as a whole, so go ahead and splurge a little from time to time.
4) Remind Yourself of the Rewards
It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees when there’s work to be done. Whether you’re trying to grow your small business, save for an upcoming vacation, or simply pay the bills, there’s always a bigger reason why you do what you do. Keep your eyes on the prize and your momentum moving consistently forward and upward. Rewards don’t have to be physical or money-based. Sometimes just the feeling of accomplishing something is enough to get you excited about the next project. Work can be extremely fulfilling, so allow yourself to really enjoy those moments when you’re thriving. As you experience those highs more often, the lows become less frequent and work becomes more appealing.
5) Acknowledge and Overcome Psychological Barriers
Sometimes the best way to win against procrastination is to recognize and overcome its cause. When you find yourself procrastinating, think about the underlying reason behind your lack of motivation, and try to come up with a solution. For example, studies have shown that fear of failure is a common reason for procrastination. Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re not fulfilling your goals because you’re worried about failing, you can start working on building your confidence by reminding yourself of your past successes. Find the root of your procrastination, and then take action steps to eliminate those feelings, emotions, and thoughts holding you back.
6) Embrace a Healthier Lifestyle
Your personal life can bleed into your professional one. In order to reach your peak performance, you must feel good both mentally and physically. For instance, if you find yourself hitting the snooze on your alarm every morning, you may want to start going to bed earlier at night. If you feel weak or irritable during your workday, you may need to start your day with a healthy meal. Be aware of how you feel physically, and be proactive in finding solutions when you’re not operating at your highest capacity. You may be surprised by how far a healthy diet and regular exercise can go in reducing procrastination. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Proper hydration is a must.
7) Stay Organized
Tidiness and productivity go hand-in-hand. When you know exactly what’s in store for your day, week, and month, tackling individual projects becomes much easier. For example, if you have multiple projects due throughout the week, you may not realize that you have an especially busy workday approaching until that day arrives. If you have all of your work clearly laid out in front of you, you can prepare for busy workloads in advance and manage your time better. Write down all of your projects and goals immediately, including their due dates and requirements. Review that list regularly so you’re always on track.
It takes time to integrate new work habits into your life, so don’t get discouraged if you find yourself procrastinating. The most important aspect of overcoming procrastination is simply acknowledging that it exists in the first place. Being honest with yourself is a massive leap forward, and it’s often one of the most difficult steps to take. Take every day as it comes, and when you’re feeling a bit lazy, try to just force yourself to start. Once you take that initial step and begin working on something, continuing is the easy part.