Are you a chronic procrastinator? If so, pivoting towards timely productivity is likely on the top of your New Year’s resolutions list for 2024.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we pull up our ‘sleeves’ and get to work on building better habits in the coming year.
While procrastination can be a gigantic hurdle to getting things done, the negative self-talk our mind tends to engage in, as a result, can be even more toxic. Our inner critic is likely to rage at us about our lack of motivation, organisation and planning, and make us feel hopeless, as we feel like we don’t measure up.
But there are several ways we can turn procrastination into performance, according to a December 2023 report in the US-based psychology news website Psychology Today. Here are some ways to tackle it:
1. Reflect on your patterns
According to the Psychology Today report, there are three kinds of procrastination – perfectionism, avoidance, and productive procrastination (where we end up doing other things that need to get done, while avoiding the bigger task that needs our most urgent attention). Which kind of procrastination resonates with you? Once you understand your pattern of behaviour, you’ll feel more empowered to decrease your delay tactics.
2. Break up big tasks into smaller ones
Procrastination is often associated with anxiety and a failure mentality. The best way to combat it is by breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. When you’re able to deal with one smaller task at a time, it creates a sense of progress and motivates you to keep going.
3. Game-ify boring tasks to get them done
Getting through mundane or boring tasks can be a whole lot easier if you have some music, a friend or a co-worker to accompany you. You can also liven things up by changing the order of tasks, switching locations for working, finding an accountability buddy or taking timed snack and movement breaks. Set realistic goals so that you can actually achieve them, and feel encouraged to continue.
4. Acknowledge your successes
Focus on what is going well, rather than what is not working. For instance, instead of saying “I’ll never finish this on time”, say “I’ve gotten started. I’ve found a credible source and read the article, now I can move on to…”. This positivity gives you the forward motion you need to meet your goal. The Psychology Today report states that the ideal positivity ratio should be three positives for every negative statement. By consciously patting yourself on the back for positive moments, you can pivot from disengagement to productivity.