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Tips and tricks to stop yourself from procrastinating

Tips and tricks to stop yourself from procrastinating

The first step in doing any task seems monumental. At least, that’s how it goes for me. As soon as I decide to start, something always pops up and stops me from doing it. Procrastinating is a never-ending cycle I can’t get out of. There are times when I forget what I should be doing and sometimes, I stay in bed, scrolling on my phone. Procrastination truly makes the worst out of all of us.

Here are several ways to avoid procrastinating and make the most out of your day.

1. Make sure your workstation is clean.

Nothing distracts me more than a stray hair strand on the floor or the coffee stains on my study desk. Clutter on the desk is clutter in the mind. Cleaning my workstation can help me concentrate and be more efficient with my time. A great start is simply picking up the trash or wiping down the surface of your table.

Your online workstation needs to be clean too. Organize the files on your screen as well so that when you do power your laptop or desktop, you’ll be greeted by an orderly and neat desktop.

Do something often enough and it will be a habit before you realize it. Plus, if you’re extra about it like me, you can splurge on organizational decor to make it look cute on top of being effective.

2. Have a drink or snack within reach.

I definitely do the traditional cop-out of getting out of my chair to go down and stay in the kitchen for a longer period than I should.

By having a drink and snack on hand, I will be able to stay near my desk and avoid pursuing distractions when working. I usually keep two different drinks, like a glass of cold water and a hot cup of tea. Something easy to chew while typing like nuts or chocolate is also nice when I can have them.

3. Take note of what you need to do and when you’ll do them.

When things pile up in the worst way, the more I feel defeatist and decide not to do them. Hence, the start of my procrastinating. I try to stay on top of what I need to do by listing them. Using the Notes app or an external app like Notion can help you easily see what you need to do for the day. You can also collaborate with others in Notion, especially with group-based tasks.

In my case, blocking the time where I completely focus on doing my tasks can inspire me to do them. I also employ the Pomodoro technique when I really need to finish a deadline. There are customizable Pomodoro timers online where you can put the tasks you’ll need to accomplish.

4. Listen to background music.

Sometimes, it’s our environment that doesn’t want to work with us when we need them to. Living with a lot of people in a small space can get overwhelming very quickly. Working and studying from home gets difficult when everyone in the family is working and studying from home.

When this happens and going outside to work in a cafe isn’t an option, I just listen to coffee shop background noise and try to get work done. There are many options online for background noise. There are websites like MyNoise and even three-hour-long Youtube videos curated by Candy Music Room and the like. Advertisements could be a distraction but also a respite from work, so it really depends on you if they’ll help or not.

5. Be accountable.

Being accountable sucks, especially if you’re the one who isn’t being accountable. Procrastinating is more likely to happen when you think no one can see you doing it. You can opt to join Discord servers where people anonymously put up the list they need to do online.

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I like to go old-fashioned and ask a sibling or a friend to check up on me every two hours to ask what I’ve done with my time. I also like to list a few reasons why I should be doing this instead of procrastinating. (It works half of the time!)

6. If all else fails, figure out why you’re procrastinating.

If you have tried doing these steps but still struggle with procrastinating, take a breath and pause.

You’re not a machine or a robot, so it’s natural to not want to work all the time even when your brain tells you to. Forcing yourself to do something would work, but I find that when I do so, my work quality devalues and I just feel resentment towards myself.

Of course, it is still possible that you have a habit of procrastinating, which is why it’s so easy to stay in the same routine. While procrastination does have a benefit to your productivity, sometimes it hinders your progress.

My advice is simple: start small but stay dedicated. You don’t have to do everything in one day. You can pick one and stick with it for at least a week. If it doesn’t help, let it go and pick another.

Procrastination usually happens more when you’re tired or uninspired, so make sure you don’t fall into the same rabbit hole over and over again by changing things up.

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