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Beat Procrastination: Effective Strategies to Stay Productive!

Strategies to Beat Procrastination

Do you find yourself constantly putting off tasks, telling yourself you’ll get to them “later,” only to end up in a stressful last-minute rush? You’re not alone. Procrastination is a common challenge that affects many of us, hindering our productivity and causing unnecessary stress.

Whether it’s due to fear of failure, perfectionism, or simply not knowing where to start, the habit of delaying tasks can have a significant impact on our personal and professional lives. But the good news is that it’s possible to overcome procrastination. In this guide, we’ll explore practical and actionable strategies to beat procrastination, boost your productivity, and achieve your goals with confidence. Get ready to transform the way you work and live by mastering the art of getting things done.

20% of Adults are Chronic Procrastinators

Strategies to Beat Procrastination

According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago and author of “Still Procrastinating?: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done,” approximately 20% of adults fall into the category of chronic procrastinators.

Procrastinating vs. Being a Chronic Procrastinator

“Everyone engages in procrastination, but not all individuals are chronic procrastinators,” Ferrari told the Washington Post. According to him, chronic procrastination is not simply due to laziness; it is a more complex issue.

The Definition of Procrastination

According to Fuschia Sirois, a professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield in England, procrastination is described as the voluntary, unnecessary delay of an important task, despite knowing you’ll be worse off for doing so.

An Irrational Behaviour

At face value, procrastination may seem irrational, as Sirois pointed out in an interview with The Washington Post. The question raised was: Why would someone delay a task until the last minute, experience high levels of stress, and ultimately deliver subpar results?

An Inability to Manage Negative Emotions

Sirois explained that the issue stems from difficulties in controlling emotions and handling negative feelings related to a specific task. She mentioned that we typically don’t put off enjoyable activities. Tasks are often postponed when they are perceived as challenging, unenjoyable, or stressful.

Overwhelming Anxiety

When a task seems particularly daunting or causes a lot of anxiety, it’s usually simpler to just steer clear of it.

Low Self-esteem

Another reason individuals delay tasks, according to Sirois, is due to low self-esteem. One might wonder: “I may never get this right,” or, “What will my boss think if I make a mistake?”

The Dangers of Procrastinating

No matter what kind of procrastinator you may be, repeatedly delaying tasks can have negative effects on your mental and physical well-being, according to experts. Individuals who frequently delay tasks experience elevated stress levels and more frequent health issues compared to those who do not procrastinate.

Depression, Anxiety and Low Life Satisfaction

Research indicates that mental health implications may involve general psychological distress, low life satisfaction (especially related to work and income), as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Headaches, Insomnia and Colds

People who delay tasks are at a higher risk of headaches, insomnia, and digestive problems, and they are also more prone to catching the flu and colds, as per data from PubMed.

Procrastinators Often Delay Medical Checkups

The link to health issues is primarily due to stress, but another reason is that individuals who procrastinate tend to postpone necessary medical care, like routine check-ups, as stated by PubMed.

Sleep Problems

Putting things off is linked to sleep issues, like getting less sleep and a higher chance of experiencing insomnia and feeling sleepy during the day, as reported by ScienceDirect.

“Revenge Bedtime Procrastination”

Many individuals participate in “revenge bedtime procrastination,” a behavior where they delay going to bed in order to have time for personal activities, as found by psychologist Fuschia Sirois and other researchers.

Procrastinating is Also Linked to Heart Problems

In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Sirois discovered that individuals with heart disease tended to identify themselves as procrastinators more often than those who were healthy.

People Who Procrastinate are Less Likely to Treat their Sickness

The study found that individuals who tend to delay tasks were less inclined to address their health conditions, like modifying their diet or engaging in physical activity, if they had hypertension or heart disease.

Overcoming Procrastination

For all the reasons mentioned earlier, addressing a tendency to stall can enhance our mental and physical health. According to experts, there are multiple methods to tackle procrastination.

Practice Self-compassion

People who procrastinate tend to be tough on themselves. They may experience guilt for disappointing others or be shocked by their own lack of speed. Research by Sirois suggests a link between procrastination and limited self-compassion.

Accept Yourself with Compassion

“I acknowledge that I made a mistake and could have started earlier, but there’s no need to be too hard on myself,” the expert said. Remind yourself that many people have procrastinated before and many will in the future.

Self-compassion Boosts Drive, Research Finds

Based on a study from 2015 on self-compassion, affect, and health-promoting behaviors conducted by East Tennessee State University, it was found that self-compassion does not lead to laziness. Contrary to that, it boosts individuals’ drive to enhance themselves.

Add Meaning to Tasks

According to Sirois, a great way to overcome procrastination is by finding meaning in the task at hand. Please explain the significance to you: Completing the task on time can benefit others or prevent negative consequences like late fees or poor grades.

How will the Task Help You Grow or be Happy?

Consider how finishing it will contribute to your personal development or joy. Experts suggest that by doing so, you will feel more connected to the task and be less likely to procrastinate.

Start Small

When faced with a large task, we can feel so overwhelmed that we end up unable to take action, as psychologist Joseph Ferrari explained to The Washington Post. It can be beneficial to break down a task into smaller parts and, of course, begin working on it.

Getting Started

“Once you begin and make even a small amount of progress on your task, there’s a high likelihood you’ll continue,” Ferrari states.

Carefully Select Which Task to Do First

There are individuals who prefer to tackle the most unpleasant tasks first, while others find motivation by starting with smaller tasks, according to Gretchen Rubin, the author of “Better Than Before,” a book that offers guidance on overcoming procrastination.

A Matter of Personal Preference

When individuals achieve small, manageable tasks, they gain the confidence to tackle larger ones. It really depends on what you prefer and understanding yourself. She also mentioned that sometimes people procrastinate by doing other tasks before tackling the most challenging one of the day.

A Place that’s Interruption-free

Find a quiet place without any distractions. Interruptions are a common occurrence in our daily lives – whether it’s from our phones, family members, noisy pets, the television, or any other source. According to Rubin, once you’re interrupted, it becomes significantly more challenging to get back to the task you were working on.

Reward Yourself

When faced with a sink full of dirty dishes and a favorite TV show about to start, Ferrari suggested making a deal with yourself: only allow yourself to watch the show after doing the dishes. According to him, this concept can be applied to a wide range of situations that you’re procrastinating on.

An Anti-procrastination Café

In Tokyo, a unique solution has been proposed with the Manuscript Writing Cafe. This cafe, which opened in April, aims to provide a peaceful environment for writers, editors, proofreaders, video producers, or manga artists who find it challenging to work at home or in the office.

People Enter with a Goal and Stay Until It’s Done

According to The Guardian, admittance requirements include committing to a specific writing objective and realizing that stopping in a fit of pique is out of the question until the task at hand is finished.

All the Costumers have Finished their Work

At the cafe, the price is 150 Japanese yen ($1.15) for the initial 30 minutes and 300 yen per hour thereafter. Despite some individuals lingering past the official closing time, they have all managed to complete their tasks eventually, according to the proprietor, Takuya Kawai, as reported by The Guardian.

Continuous Tea and Coffee Refills

The cozy cafe offers unlimited self-service refills of tea and coffee, high-speed wifi, docking ports, and tall chairs that promote good posture.

People Set a Deadline for their Aim

Please provide your name, writing goals, and the deadline for completion. They can also request Kawai to remind them about their progress. Customers who request the “mild” option will be inquired about their experience when they settle the bill at the end of the session.

Some People Work Better Under Pressure

Those who require more discipline may find the owner standing behind them from time to time, but he claims he does not judge what’s on their laptop screen.

Curbing Procrastination is Possible

We can start taking action now, without having to rely on the emergence of anti-procrastination coffee spots like the one in Tokyo. It is possible to overcome procrastination by putting in the effort and being kinder to ourselves when we struggle.


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