For so many of us, motivation is a precious commodity and hard to come by. The idea of being productive can be so appealing, but when it comes to the time to sit down and put those ideas into action, procrastination takes over. No matter how easy it is to acknowledge we should be working, they’re often just empty thoughts.
With that in mind, here are a couple of easy tips that aim to help you overcome procrastination and make a start on that ever-lengthening to-do list.
1. Start with knowing clearly the benefits of completing a certain job.
For example, getting that homework task done might mean free time for the rest of the afternoon. Or, tidying up your workspace could do wonders for your peace of mind and productivity.
You can do a quick cost-benefit analysis here: not doing that assignment now would mean you to stay up all night trying to complete it. Neglecting those essays you intended to finish today is basically pushing back at the bigger picture, so that you might never end up writing that book on you always wanted to write.
The key here is to be critical of yourself. If there is no real benefit of what you are doing, make sure you are not doing it for the sake of doing it. That is how time is wasted.
2. If stress makes you less productive, identify the root of it. Otherwise, utilize stress to your advantage!
Procrastination, stress, and motivation are abstract terms that Tim Urban personifies perfectly. For you, perhaps try to recognise whenever you are stressed. Take a second to then ask yourself constructive questions to get out of that situation. E.g.‘How can I realistically do X in Y amount of time?’ as opposed to ‘I can’t do it’. You know that stressing or anxiously overthinking doesn’t help, and you’re the only one with any power over your own brain, so control it! There is a phone app called Forest where you set yourself a timer, start it, your tree starts to grow, and when you leave the app (i.e. get distracted), your tree withers. There is something called “Self Control” which I realised I was naturally lacking and so I downloaded it onto my laptop, and blocked all the sites I wanted to for a set period of time.
It’s all about each individual’s method.
3. Learn from those who are at where you want to be.
They can be your personal heroes or people whom great quotes have been attributed to, relatable kids from your school or inspirational youth from across the globe. Read widely about people from all different fields, so that there will eventually be stories in which you see yourself. Those stories will really give you that moment of clarity – that’s exactly what I want to do. I mean, one of the most powerful advice shared on Woshi has been to not seek inspiration and “just get the job done.”