Procrastination can creep back in when we least expect it, even when we’ve been on a roll for a while, thinking that nothing could get in the way of how productive we are. If you’re anything like me, you tend to fall off the wagon more times than you climb back on, hoping that one day you’re going to wake up and maintain that productivity no matter the circumstances.
I used to tell myself that I was finding it challenging to work because I was incapable, that I lost my spark, and I wouldn’t be able to find my footing again long-term. My first step in overcoming my procrastination was to acknowledge that it’s not going to be easy. No matter how many times I’ve managed to regain my productive work ethic, something will always get in the way, making me have to decide what I want to prioritize.
I hated feeling defeated, feeling like I would never be as productive as I once was. Still, I knew that if I wanted to change my perspective and eliminate my procrastination urges completely; I would have to start underlining areas of my life that were in desperate need of a change.
The Five Steps to Overcoming Procrastination
1. It’s Time You Fix Your Sleep Schedule
This one was hard for me to grasp because I’m still trying to complete it myself. My sleep schedule has been getting worse over the last few months, and I’ve gotten into the habit of waking up far too late to get anything substantial done.
Every night that I would end up working late, I would tell myself that it’s because I have no choice but to finish the tasks and turn in my deadlines. You don’t want this to become a vicious cycle, so when the time might come where you will have to give yourself a breather. You’re going to get much better quality work done if you’re well-rested.
2. Find the Motivation to Get Back to Work
When I find that I’m wasting time or having trouble opening up my laptop to get back to work, I start to seek out something that will motivate me to start. I will read articles, listen to podcasts, or watch videos that will make me want to do the very same thing until I’m right back to work again as though I never left.
Sometimes, you have to be the one to give yourself the push, and you will see that you’ll start to maintain your productivity patterns more often when you realize that it’s not meant to be an easy feat. It is difficult to break out of bad habits, but it will all be worth it when you finally do. This is just something to help you along the way.
3. Give Yourself a Time to Finish the Workday
This is something new that I’ve been trying, especially when it comes to fixing my sleep schedule. I’ve gotten into the habit of procrastinating until I’m up writing in the wee hours of the morning when I should’ve been sleeping, knowing good and well that I’m a morning person at heart.
I’ve given myself a time to switch off and head to bed, whether I have the urge to continue working or not because rest is just as important as completing your tasks. When you finally get back on schedule, you will realize just how rewarding it will be to switch off for the day once you’ve gotten everything done.
4. Create a Realistic Schedule for Your Upcoming Work Session
I usually like to outline the next day before I go to bed in my phone’s calendar, so I can move things around if need be when I take it to the physical planner before I actually start my day. Having a place to start will always help when it comes to keeping the urge to procrastinate at bay, and it just might motivate you to get to work if you see everything laid out in steps for you to follow.
This has helped me stay on top of my writing and give me the energy and motivation I need to power through the toughest tasks, so I can end the day with the simplest ones, making me feel accomplished when the work session is finally complete.
5. Allow Yourself Time to Rest and Recuperate
This has been a common theme on this list, but I can’t stress this one enough. Listen to your body. Acknowledge when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or when you’re in desperate need of some time away from your computer to recuperate. You’re not expected to work like a machine, and sometimes there will be challenges along the way that make getting back to work that much more difficult, but you have to be able to tell when it’s time to relax for a bit.
By giving myself a strict start/end to my workday, I get those times to calm my mind, indulge in a few hobbies, or spend time with my family. It’s the little things that keep us going, and I find that I work much better when I get to take that time to myself every now and then. Allow yourself to rest when you need it, so you can get back up, and be as productive as you need to be to get it all done.
I hope these tips help you to overcome procrastination in your life so you can reach your goals.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let’s stay in touch.
Anisa Nasir is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and family. She’s the writer behind As She Writes.