All of us feel overwhelmed from time to time by the amount of work we have to do, but for people struggling with chronic procrastination, overcoming anything can seem impossible. In this blog post, we share several time-management strategies and other tips to help those suffering with procrastination regain control of their lives.
At BIPRI, we’re committed to helping people who struggle with brain performance issues achieve optimal health. We offer a variety of pharmacist-formulated supplements designed to support brain and neurological functioning, as well as brain wellness tools, personalized online programs, and more. Read on to learn tips for coping with procrastination in you or your child, then browse our products to begin your journey towards better brain and body health.
Break Big Tasks Down Into Smaller Ones
Every novel that was ever written began with a single word. Every painting began with a single brushstroke. When completing a task, it’s important to remember that nothing is done all at once. Every big achievement is actually just many smaller achievements put together. When confronting a large task, the easiest way to get started is to break it down into smaller steps.
Say you have a business report or school paper due at the end of the week. Instead of thinking that you have to compose the entire thing now, tell yourself you’re going to do the first sentence. Then the first paragraph. Mark a calendar to keep yourself on track. As long as you stick to your schedule, allowing yourself time to play catch-up if need be, you’ll find that completing the task that you once thought impossible did not, in fact, kill you after all.
Let Go of Perfection
Perfectionism begins with negative self-talk: “I’ll never do this correctly!” “I’m not good enough!” “No one will ever want to read this!” Stop. Instead of constantly berating yourself, which can make the task ahead of you seem more and more impossible, write down some positive affirmations. Good examples are: “I can do this!” “I’m going to feel great when I hand this in.” or even “I may not get this all done today, but I can write the first page.”
Positive self-talk is like a muscle; it needs to be exercised regularly to become strong The next time you catch yourself in the action of negative self-talk, take a moment to calm down, then replace those negative thoughts with something more positive. Remember that no one is perfect, and you don’t have to be either.
Create a Great Environment
Your environment plays a much bigger part in the quality and amount of work you produce than many people realize. If your work space is covered in dirty laundry and crusty coffee cups, it makes sense that you would want to get in and out of there as soon as possible. If you’re working from home, like many students and increasingly the workforce at large, then it’s essential that you do so in a space that you actually want to spend time in. You might want to decorate the room with some plants, which have been shown to lower stress and improve focus. Figure out whether you work better listening to music or in a completely noise-free space, and accommodate yourself with headphones or earplugs, accordingly. Create your haven according to whatever works best for you.
Unlike in the past, individuals struggling with procrastination today can harness the invaluable benefits of technology and the Internet to help them overcome procrastination. At the most basic level, most smartphones come with built-in timers, schedules, and notepads that you can use to create work timelines and priority lists and alert you to important tasks and deadlines.
In addition, there are plenty of free and low-cost apps available designed specifically to assist people struggling with inability to focus, poor memory, and other brain performance issues. For instance, Freedom is a web blocker that allows you to cut yourself off from social media and other distracting websites for a determined period of time. With 1-3-5 List, you can create simple priority lists that can help you figure out where to start a big project; you’ll choose one big thing, three medium things, and five little things to prioritize everyday. For visual learners, Mindly allows you to make mindmaps to structure your responsibilities and thoughts in an intuitive manner.
We also recommend trying out any app that uses the pomodoro technique. Named after the tomato-shaped timers found in many kitchens, the pomodoro technique works by dividing up large tasks into more manageable chunks, while allowing you to take small breaks in between. Here are the steps:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work on the task
- Take a five minute break
- Do this three more times
- Take a 25-minute break, then go back to step 1.
The only thing you need to do the pomodoro technique is your smart device’s built-in timer or even a regular kitchen timer if you want to go old-school. Several apps — such as Focus To-Do for your phone and TomatoTimer for your browser — can get the job done as well.
Beat Procrastination for Good With BIPRI
Procrastination doesn’t have to unravel your life. With the help of these techniques, in addition to the focus-boosting supplements and tools from BIPRI, we’re confident that you can beat procrastination once and for all.