How to Overcome Procrastination: 10 ways to increase productivity

How to Overcome Procrastination: 10 ways to increase productivity
Photo by Jeff Sheldon / Unsplash

Sick of feeling unproductive? I've got 10 tips that will help you beat procrastination and start smashing your goals.

Most productivity hacks are useless, but these 10 tips will genuinely help you overcome procrastination.

Procrastination is a productivity killer we all grapple with, but it's not unbeatable - here are ten ways to conquer it.

1. Set Clear Goals: The first step to combating procrastination is to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals can give your work a direction and make it more manageable.

Actionable Tip: Write down your goals and break them into smaller tasks. This makes them less daunting and easier to start.

Example: Instead of "I want to write more," a SMART goal would be "I will write 500 words every day for my blog post over the next two weeks

2. Prioritize Tasks: Understanding the importance and urgency of your tasks can help you decide where to focus your energy.

Actionable Tip: Use a prioritization matrix like the Eisenhower Box, which divides tasks into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not urgent or important.

Example: "Finish project report" might go in the "Urgent and Important" box, while "Reply to non-urgent emails" might go in the "Not Urgent but Important" box

3. Avoid Multitasking: While it may seem like you're getting more done, multitasking often results in lower quality work and more mistakes.

Example: Instead of checking emails throughout the day, set aside two distinct periods for this task.

Mistake to Avoid: Rather than juggling multiple tasks at once, concentrate on completing one task before moving on to the next.

4. Take Regular Breaks: Working non-stop can lead to mental fatigue and reduced productivity over time.

Actionable Tip: Follow the Pomodoro Technique, which suggests working for 25 minutes followed by a five-minute break. After four cycles, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

Example: After four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

5. Eliminate Distractions: Distractions can significantly reduce your productivity.

Actionable Tip: Create a dedicated workspace free from distractions. Turn off unnecessary notifications on your devices, and use tools or apps that block distracting websites.

Example: Use apps like "Freedom" or "StayFocusd" to block social media sites during work hours

6. Practice Time Management: Effective time management can significantly boost your productivity.

Actionable Tip: Use calendars or time management apps to schedule your tasks. Allocate specific time slots for different activities and stick to the plan.

Example: Google Calendar can be used to block out time for specific tasks or activities throughout the day.

7. Stay Organized: A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind. Keeping your physical and digital spaces organized can improve your focus and efficiency.

Actionable Tip: Regularly declutter your workspace and organize your files and documents in a systematic manner.

Example: Use a tool like Trello to manage and organize your tasks.

8. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Your physical health can significantly impact your mental stamina and productivity.

Actionable Tip: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, maintain a balanced diet, and ensure you get enough sleep. These habits can enhance your energy levels and overall productivity.

Example: Schedule a 30-minute workout into your daily routine, prepare a weekly meal plan with balanced nutrition, and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

9. Mindset Matters: Maintaining a positive and proactive mindset can motivate you to stay productive.

Actionable Tip: Practice mindfulness and positive affirmations daily. They can help reduce stress, improve focus, and foster a positive attitude towards your work.

Example: Start your day with a five-minute meditation session and repeat positive affirmations such as "I am capable and productive."

10. Reward Yourself: Giving yourself a reward when you complete a task can be a great motivator.

Actionable Tip: Treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a short break, a treat, or an episode of your favourite show, whenever you accomplish a task or reach a milestone. This can create a positive association with productivity and motivate you to maintain it.

Example: After completing a challenging task, reward yourself with a short relaxation break, a favourite treat, or an episode of a show you enjoy.

Overcoming procrastination is a gradual process, not an overnight change. Implement these tips into your routine, and watch your productivity soar.