Whether it’s cleaning out the basement, writing a report for school or work, or getting personal finances in order, nearly all of us have something lingering on our to-do list that we just keep pushing off. Below are five easy ways to stop procrastinating and improve your overall productivity.
1. Do It First. If you’re dreading it, do it first. There’s nothing worse than a lingering aura of dread over a task, so by tackling it head on, you eliminate both the project and the anxiety around it. The longer you wait, the worse you’ll likely feel. Plus, imagine your relief after completing the task.
2. Set Small Daily Goals. If it’s a larger task (like that big basement clean-out), set small daily goals to keep you on track. For instance, choose one small corner to clean every evening, working in 15-minute increments. After two weeks, the project will be off your shoulders and it will have felt like a smaller deal.
3. Ask for Accountability. An accountability partner is one of the best ways to slash procrastination and keep you on track—but choose carefully. You need to find someone not afraid to dole out a little tough love, and you need to be willing to accept it.
4. Remove Temptation. Do you know that social media or Netflix feeds your procrastination demon? Put your cellphone and remote control down and cut those things off completely until you can get your to-do list done.
5. Reward Yourself. Kids and dogs aren’t the only ones who love a treat for a trick! Choose an affordable, healthy reward, such as a massage or tickets to a play, to help keep you motivated to bump that item off your list. Or, if you’ve removed a few beloved temptations, simply adding them back in may seem reward enough.