How to beat procrastination: which type of procrastinator are you?
I really need to get that task done, but first I’m going rearrange my sock drawer. We all procrastinate, but why? And how can you stop stop procrastinating to be more productive?
We love to procrastinate. Putting off those big tasks until we’ve crossed something less pressing off our to-do list. You’re not alone, procrastinator - 88% of us admit to procrastinating for at least 1 hour a day.
Tonnes of reasons, depending on the task at hand. It could be the fear of failure, the dread of the process or because it has to be perfect. Some researchers say procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. Procrastinating for a short period of time whilst the task is in the back of your mind, can actually generate more creative thoughts. But that tends not the case for the most of us.
- Fear of failure - you’d rather not do it, than do it badly
- The task is boring - you don’t believe in its value or the process is uncomfortable
- You work better under pressure - leaving it to the last minute will get better results
- The task is too hard - you have to learn how to do it first, or you’re not confident in your ability
- You’re surrounded by distractions - Slack, BBC news, or that group chat keeps popping up
Procrastination is a killer of productivity and is said to waste 55 days a year for the average worker. Yikes. There are 5 different types of procrastinator:
It has to be perfect, or it’s not done. You obsess over the minor details or the process being executed perfectly. The fear of doing the task to a low standard (usually to your own unreachable standards) means you’d rather not do it.
You work better when you have a strict deadline, so you’ll leave things to the last minute so you can focus better. You end up rushing, feeling stressed and promising “next time I’ll start this earlier”.
You enjoy the process of planning for a task, or love the novelty of a new one. You’re highly creative but you struggle in following through and tick it off to-do list.
Life is for living and that dreaded task can wait because this YouTube video is much more interesting. You find the task boring or uncomfortable to complete so you’d rather do something more interesting.
You find it hard to prioritise tasks, so fill your calendar with things everything and anything to fill your time. You’re postponing tasks because you don’t know which is best to tackle first.
Whatever type of avoider you are, there’s plenty of habits to build that can help you overcome task-avoiding.
The Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes of uninterrupted work. When the timer goes off, reward yourself with something for 5 minutes. Try using the Promodor web timer instead of your phone.
Set up your workspace without distractions. Turn off notifications, leave your phone in another room and turn off the TV. Close all your tabs that you don’t open or even copy and paste information from an email chain into a document. Better yet, take total tech free time on a digital detox.
If you work better to deadlines, set one for yourself and stick to it. Even better, set that deadline in a public setting. Add it to a shared calendar or tell your colleague you’ll deliver the first draft by a certain date.
We say this a lot at Unplugged. Just do it. Done is better than perfect. It’s also better for your stress and anxiety levels. Procrastinating makes us stressed, and stress isn’t good for our health. Work out what type of tasks you’re procrastinating on, then talk to your future self and acknowledge how much better you’ll feel about getting it done.
Unplugged is a digital detox experience that kickstarts your journey on reducing your digital dependency and improving your mental wellbeing. With off-grid cabins only 1-2 hours from city life, you can lock your phone away and switch off for a 3 nights digital detox to make you more productive, happier and creative. Book your digital detox here.
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