Minimize distractions, manage your time well, set priorities… Discover four keys to winning the battle against procrastination.
“I will do it later, I still have time, I am not motivated, I am tired…” Procrastination is “the tendency to put off until tomorrow, to postpone the tasks that one must accomplish”, according to the dictionary of the French Academy. It can occur in daily activities, at work, at school, but also in spiritual life, by constantly postponing the decision to pray or confess. Usually, after postponing an activity or prayer time, a feeling of guilt arises because of not having done what was planned. You then have to do what is necessary at the last minute, adding stress and even discouragement.
An anecdote from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games explains the impact that procrastination can have on one’s life: Gary Hall Jr, American, and Alexander Popov, Russian, were 20-year-old professional swimmers who had to challenge each other for the final of the 100m freestyle. Gary Hall Jr. had great swimming skills since his childhood, which he had strengthened through extensive training. However, during the last two years of preparation for the Olympics, confident in his innate talent, he had become undisciplined and often postponed his training.
Alexander Popov, on the other hand, despite having no innate swimming skills, was a consistent and disciplined person. He knew he had to train to perfect his swimming and be the best in his specialty. Who won the medal in 1996? Russian Alexander Popov. As this story shows, procrastination is often due to a lack of motivation, but also to poor time management or an overestimation of one’s abilities. To win the battle against procrastination, here are some tips:
1 MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS
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Turn off your cell phone notifications and find a quiet space so you can stay focused and get whatever you need to get done. However, don’t work in bed because, according to experts, the brain associates bed with sleep, so if you work in it, you will fall asleep and procrastinate again.
2 MANAGE YOUR TIME
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From the start of the day, you can organize your time and designate a specific time to complete each activity. Respecting this order and not procrastinating will be fundamental so that you can complete all your tasks. For example, you can implement techniques to achieve your goals, such as the Pomodoro method, which consists of doing an activity for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break, before starting again.
3 SET PRIORITIES
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Write down the most urgent tasks to do for the day on a list, then note what can wait and what you can delegate. By respecting your priorities, you will be sure to achieve your objectives quickly.
4 DON’T MAKE EXCUSES AND SET DEADLINES
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Having a time or deadline will help you get rid of all the excuses that prevent you from completing one task and moving forward on others, and especially the tendency toward perfectionism that makes you waste more time and get bogged down in details. Remember the story of young athletes: it is not enough to have talent, you must put it into practice to achieve your goals, in any area of life.