I’ll do it later
A fairly common thought for many. It is also not unusual to hear “I work better under pressure”, meaning I do the task at the last minute. Research now shows that not only do results get worse when you procrastinate, you also probably don’t feel good about putting things off.
A quick kick
When you decide to do something later rather than right away, something that feels hard or difficult to do, you usually end up feeling good in the moment. This in turn creates a habit of choosing what makes you feel good in the moment, procrastinating. But you’re aware that the task still has to be done and this means that you quickly start to feel stress and pressure. If you’re a “last minute person” unfortunately the result is often not as good as you wanted and the risk is that you will have to redo and do it right. Something that creates more stress, it ends up becoming a vicious cycle.
Create a new habit
Creating a new habit can be incredibly difficult, so it’s easy to procrastinate. The tip is therefore to take it in small steps and celebrate along the way. The small steps may look different for different people, but what they need to have in common is that they are easy to manage. And that way you create another habit, the habit of doing things right away and feeling good about it!
1, write a list of the most important things you need to do today, focus on one thing at a time. If the list gets too long and feels overwhelming, choose the thing that is absolutely most important and do it. Tomorrow you take the next thing on the list. Check off when it’s done and celebrate with something good, a good song or a walk.
2, set an alarm that beeps when you are allowed to take a break. This works best when you need to focus on something for a period of time but have a mind that easily wanders off. Again, start small, you can probably do 5 minutes of reading and then pat yourself on the back. Quite quickly you realize that you can increase the time and feel good.
3, be kind to yourself! It takes time to change a habit so don’t give up if you stumble along the way. Take a deep breath and try again!
Source: University of Calgary