Procrastination is common to all. Everyone has done it, everyone will continue to do it. However, that should not be the case. Because of procrastination, people tend to end up putting off work all the time, be it big or small. It even leads to a drop in productivity and can become a bad habit very quickly due to the instant gratification you get from doing things while you procrastinate. Hence, knowing how to overcome procrastination is very important.
Studies show that amongst college students, around 85% procrastinate regularly and amongst working professionals, while this number drops, it is still a very high percentage of the population that procrastinates, although to different degrees.
In order to understand simple habits and approaches to overcome procrastination, keep reading below! Let’s various habits and techniques that you can use to eliminate and tackle procrastination in your life
Table of Contents
How to overcome procrastination?
- Find an accountability partner
- Eat the frog
- Think like a rhino
- Schedule procrastination time
Overcoming Procrastination Tip #1: Find an accountability partner
When you have someone holding you accountable for something, you are 65% more likely to complete it. This is why having an accountability partner is a great way to overcome procrastination! Make accountability a habit and not procrastination!
Whenever you want to get some work done, before you start itf, make it a habit to tell a friend or colleague this is what you plan to do and to check in with you at the end of the day. For example, if you need to study 1 chapter of your syllabus in the next hour, text a friend before starting and tell them to check in with you. This will motivate you to complete your work. You can even return the favour and be an accountability partner for them if they need one.
Or if you need to finish an important presentation at work, before starting ask a colleague to help review it at the end of the day.
As much as you can, make accountability your mantra and regularly use it to your advantage. If you’re aware someone is going to check up on you and ask you about work, you will have more drive to finish it as you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of them.
Overcoming Procrastination Tip #2: Eat the frog
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the entire day knowing that the worst thing that could happen to you all day long is probably over! Your “frog” is the task that you look forward to the least, find extra difficult or have no motivation to do at all. It’s the one that you are most likely to procrastinate on.
So start off your day with a simple habit of eating the frog first thing in the morning. On your to-do list, pick out the task that you are most likely to procrastinate on and just do it. It’s like swallowing a spoon of bitter medicine. You can keep staring at it and not put it in your mouth but eventually, you have to and it is going to be bitter. So it’s best to eat it as quickly as possible! It’s the same logic with your toughest task which is referred to as the frog. This is a great way to overcome procrastination!
And once you get that out of the way first thing in the morning, it changes your state of mind completely towards the rest of your day. Suddenly everything else doesn’t seem as difficult. And your motivation levels will also be higher because you’ve managed to do something difficult and challenging.
So try and make this a habit for yourself and see if it helps you. Start each morning thinking about your toughest task for the day and get it out of the way. Or you can even form a habit of making a to-do list for yourself each night for the following day and deciding what you’re going to do first thing in the morning. That way when you wake up and start working, you know exactly what you are going to focus on and there are fewer chances of procrastinating.
Overcoming Procrastination Tip #3: Schedule procrastination time
One way to look at procrastination is that it is very hard to stop procrastinating completely. The human brain is always going to want to find an easy way out sometimes and play tricks with us. Imagine this little monkey in your brain that always wants instant gratification and quick happiness. This monkey doesn’t want to work hard. So another effective habit to consider is to schedule procrastination time for yourself. That way you keep the monkey happy and also leave time for yourself to focus on your work satisfied.
You can also procrastinate without feeling guilty and creating the procrastination cycle in your head that we looked at previously in this journey.
There are two ways you can go about scheduling procrastination time for yourself. The first is taking a long break. Identify the time of the day you are most likely to procrastinate and from tomorrow, tell yourself that for half an hour or one hour around that time, you will allow yourself to procrastinate. And keep your monkey happy.
The other way to do it is to keep mixing up work and procrastination time. An example of this is the Pomodoro method that you may already be familiar with. It involves working in cycles of 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. And once you’ve been working for 2 hours, take a break of 30 minutes. This is an example of how you can mix up your work and breaks. And during your breaks, you can do whatever you want without feeling guilty.
Overcoming Procrastination Tip #4: Think like a rhino
The first mindset shift we’re going to explore is called thinking like a Rhino and this is based on Scott Alexander’s book Rhinoceros Success. Here’s a lesser-known fact about rhinos. They have extremely poor eyesight. So whenever they sense danger or want to take on another animal they see as a threat, they put all their energy into charging towards that target. Once they decide to charge, they run at extremely high speeds and don’t change their direction or focus for anything. And there’s no stopping them.
This is a great way to think about your work or goals as well. Once you set your mind to do something, think of yourself like a rhino charging at this goal with a single-minded focus. Approach it with all the energy you have and let nothing hold you back. No distractions, nothing else around you can hold you back till you’ve completed your charge and are done with your work.
And that’s what thinking like a rhino is in a nutshell. Developing this mindset helps you procrastinate less and be more productive. It allows you to take on a huge amount of work, daunting work and boring work, because your mindset is to charge head-on like a rhino and not stop until you’re done, thereby allowing you to overcome procrastination!
Take some time to reflect on why you procrastinate and use these simple tips to overcome procrastination! You can even meditate, find hacks to improve your focus and try the Pomodoro method to boost your productivity!
Evolve has a journey designed with life coaches and experts to help you overcome procrastination and become better at facing your fears. It’s an interactive virtual workshop you can try at home today! Evolve helps make your personal growth joyful and simple and helps you balance your stress, anxiety within minutes. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!
With over 300 articles published on Evolve. Jash is one of the most viewed writers on topics such as Sleep, Mindfulness and Stress. Drop a mail at Jash@evolveinc.in to connect with him.