The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Everyone’s dealt with procrastination before. To put it simply, it’s anytime you’ve put something off until later that you can—or should—deal with right away.
Our word for procrastinate comes from the Latin term procrastination, which actually means “for tomorrow.” Yes, people have been putting off tasks for thousands of years!
Some degree of procrastination is normal and might not really cause you any problems. But taken to extremes, procrastination can definitely get in the way of your success, which can ultimately weigh heavily on your mental health.
So, read on to learn more about procrastination, including how it can negatively impact you and ways that you can beat it.
Is Procrastination Getting in the Way of Your Success?
If you’re asking yourself this question, and even simply reading this article, the answer might well be “Yes, procrastination is limiting your success.”
But why? Well, procrastination keeps us from staying on top of things. After all, we can’t just push everything off indefinitely. Eventually, certain things must get done if we are to be functional members of society, good parents and partners, etc.
Whether you’re a mom or a worker (or both), chronic procrastination can keep you from thriving. Fortunately, there are a variety of helpful resources available online to help you understand and overcome procrastination, including the content curated by BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/procrastination/
How to Beat Procrastination?
Is it possible to beat procrastination? Yes! Here are four useful tips that you can start using right away to be more productive and, by consequence, less stressed.
Cut Your Schedule Some Slack
Do you find yourself taking on too much? If you don’t have enough time to reasonably get through your tasks for a day, you’ll necessarily have to push some things back. This can be quite the vicious cycle.
Instead, try to set yourself up for success by leaving yourself ample time each day to complete the tasks that you need to get done. And don’t forget to budget time for small breaks, lunch, transportation, etc.!
Break It Down
We all know how to make a to-do list, right? That’s not necessarily the hard part.
What matters most is how you make your to-do list. You need to set yourself up for success by avoiding a few things:
- Don’t put the hard stuff at the end, or you may be too tired to get to it by that time of day
- Don’t write out vague instructions but be precise instead
- Don’t be minimalistic but break things up into small chunks
And cross each task off when you’re done! You’ll start to love the feeling of accomplishment you get each time you do so.
Consider the Potential Consequences
We’ve all reaped the negative consequences of excessive procrastination. It’s normal to not always feel like doing something, but that’s part of life. If you focus on the potential consequences of procrastinating on whatever you need to do, that can help motivate you.
Take taxes, for example. Do you want to deal with an audit by the IRS? Of course not! Keep in mind that it’s always best to do a task right away if it’s a small one. That’s because all these different tasks take up space in the back of our mind, and if something comes to mind it’s always best if you can complete it right then and there (assuming it doesn’t take a long time).
Finally, be kind to yourself! Set up your schedule in a way that permits for you to reward yourself after you’ve completed your biggest task for the day. For example, you could plan on giving yourself a nice mini-break—maybe you listen to music or watch YouTube—after you’ve gotten that biggest task out of the way.
It’s also nice to give yourself something to look forward at the end of the day once you’ve completed everything on your to-do list.
Procrastination can be addictive. The problem is that it can then become a vicious cycle where your tasks just add up and add up until it all feels way too overwhelming.
Follow the above tips, however, and you’ll be on your way to limiting your procrastination to a reasonable level. Good luck!