Either working or preparing for your final exams, procrastination might be a significant barrier in achieving your desired goals. Dealing with procrastination and finally getting rid of it, it's a long-term process. There are several books, articles and podcasts describing the best way to do it. To make it simpler and shorter, we have chosen a couple of tips, which you can implement immediately to start coping with procrastination.
First of all, if you are the kind of a person who tries to do everything unorganized and at the last moment, invest time in getting your time management in order. It doesn't matter if you use post-it-notes for writing down things to do with their deadlines or download an app on your phone. Find what suits you best and use the method to get your tasks in order. With a clear overview of what you should do, it's much easier to deal with procrastination.
Write a List of Achievable To-Dos.
Writing down a list of achievable tasks isn't usually as easy as it sounds. Without experience and reasonable estimates, you might end up very quickly writing down either too many things (and get stressed) or fewer things (and feel that you weren't that productive). Finding out the right balance needs some time and training. First of all, try to set time-boxed and achievable tasks. What does it mean? Well, instead of telling yourself to prepare the "content plan", create, e.g. a task "do the keyword analysis today", which is included in the general assignment "content plan". It's more specific and not that vague as the overall task.
Focus on What You Do.
Turn off your mobile notifications, sign off from any social media and ideally mute your phone. These distractions take up too much of your attention every single day. Besides, set a specific time range you will devote to your assignment and don't jump to other tasks. It's especially tempting when you work from home to start doing some housework (see more challenges of working from home). However, you have to stay focused on your work. The rest will wait.
Do Your Work in a Comfortable Environment.
A distracting workspace won't help you to focus. Always try to find a place that will foster your productivity. When working in an open office, one of the solutions to get rid of the surrounding distractions is to listen to music. If you can't concentrate when listening to music, noise-cancelling headphones might also be a great gadget to grab. A home office also brings some distractions (family members or roommates). If the home environment doesn't allow you to find a calm place to work, also try music or the noise-cancelling headphones.
You need regular breaks more than you even think! When you have a lot to do, it's natural to overwork yourself. Avoid this by taking frequent breaks. How often depends mainly on you, but on average, you should take a short break every 60 - 90 minutes. The pauses can be anything from doing a couple of push-ups, going for a short walk, making a cup of tea or else. Find what suits you most. The breaks will prevent you from sinking into work much and getting a fresh perspective on your tasks. Don't underestimate them!
Following these points will help you start coping with procrastination. However, your energy and self-discipline will be more than needed. Don't get discouraged by initial failure, clench your fists and deal with procrastination forever. And what's your procrastination cure?