How to Turn Procrastination into Productivity

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How to Turn Procrastination into Productivity

Claire Wathen, Staff Writer

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Do you ever put off important tasks until the last minute? Don’t worry, if you have problems with procrastination, you aren’t the only one; avoiding work is something almost every person has done at some point in their life. Procrastination is not necessarily a lack of willpower or self-control; many people put off their responsibilities because they are anxious about the outcome or are afraid of not doing their tasks correctly. Luckily, you can avoid run-ins with this bad habit using a few simple techniques.

To keep yourself from procrastinating without realizing you are doing so, set reminders for yourself. For example, if you are putting things off or procrastinating, an alarm can remind you that there is urgent work that needs to be done. Once you have been reminded of your responsibility, it will be harder to fall back into unconscious procrastination. For people who are consciously procrastinating, it will be harder to get themselves on-track. One way to set yourself on-task in this situation is to “bribe” yourself into doing work. By breaking your assignment or task into parts and setting a goal to finish each section one at a time, with small rewards in between, you can keep yourself focused and less vulnerable to distraction.

When a deadline for a project or assignment is weeks away, many people use it as an excuse to put things off until the very last minute. Statements such as “I’ll work on it tomorrow” or “I’ve got weeks to do this,” quickly create a procrastination spiral that results in a frantic scramble to complete something days or moments before it is due. Set goals and complete parts of the project every day. Working on each part of a task bit by bit makes you less susceptible to procrastination than if you try to take it on as a whole. For example, if you work on the research part of a project one day, then plan it the next day, then build it in the next, you will be more productive and feel more satisfied with your work.

If procrastination is a constant cause of stress in your life, staying on-track and focused is not easy to do. Temptations and distractions may be drawing your attention away from your work. Maybe you are avoiding even starting your work at all. Either way, remind yourself of what needs to be done, work on separate parts instead of taking on a whole and avoiding using seemingly distant deadlines to put things off can help you break the bad habit of procrastination. Once you have found the technique that works for you, you can begin to turn procrastination into productivity.  

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