A PRACTICAL WAY TO ELIMINATE PROCRASTINATION FROM THE WORK SCHEDULE
Procrastination is a problem that most of us grapple with. Here are some practical steps to help us overcome it.
Let's put on some jazz and prepare to see our lives through a black-white filter because we are going to do some detective work.
When do we procrastinate, what do we procrastinate with? Is it the same every time? Does it differ?
Let’s write a list of distractions, observe, and note. We should try to miss nothing in our scrutiny, and be brutally honest.
Next, we prepare a list of our tasks.
What are the three tasks that we have procrastinated on, that if they were to get done, we would be able to go to sleep feeling like the day has been a productive one? We will list at least those top three.
Remember that list of distractions we made? We are going to be calling them ‘Rewards’. We will now do these only if we complete our work, not otherwise. Split them into Rewards and Big Rewards (or some other term). Big Rewards would include items that take a lot of time, such as gaming for more than an hour, watching a movie, reading fiction for more than an hour, and so on. ‘More than an hour' is our key phrase here.
Now, for the tasks we listed, we attach a reward to each.
Ideally, Big Rewards should be set for weekends or finishing large batches of tasks, the amount being suited to individual needs, but for a ballpark figure, we could start with three intensive tasks and then a Big Reward.
After finishing these tasks, the rewards can be utilized. They are things we do for a job well done and NOT BEFORE.
Remove/block all noted distractions and pick a task to engage in.
For example, if our smartphone is our go-to for distraction, we’ll keep it away in a cupboard or elsewhere where we can't easily reach it.
Set a timer for 25 minutes (25 is ideal, but we may go higher, or lower).
For this stretch, our goal is to focus entirely on our chosen task.
Doesn't matter if a monkey somehow finds the way to the roof of our 10th-floor apartment, we have one job, stay on task. On the other hand, we definitely should not be ignoring fires or earthquakes, we aren't advocating fanatical task completion at the risk of actual harm!
Once the timer hits zero, get up. Even if we feel like we can keep going, it is recommended getting up as we are seeking to build a particular routine and system here, certain triggers and specific actions, leading to the creation of a habit.
Utilizing our reward for a period of 5 minutes to 15 minutes is ideal. Keeping it below 30 minutes is ideal, so as to not approach the Big Reward threshold. We would recommend ten minutes on average, and each reward can have a unique duration.
Repeat till the workday ends.*
We can utilize our distractions to our advantage and use them as rewards for setting up the actions we desire more of in our lives, and over time, these behaviours will become rewarding in and of themselves. The urge to procrastinate will lessen, and work may even start to seem inviting.
Work may seem like play.
We must take a day at a time, and not expect to knock sixers or home runs every single time, and keep at it. Now we are going to go have a treat of our own.