Are you having a problem finishing a task like cleaning your room for example? You’re probably in the habit of procrastinating. There’s a way to break this habit and we’ll show it to you in a while.
It turns out ignoring the problem won’t let it go away, and before you know it, you now have a mountain of garbage in your room. Before you get buried by unfinished tasks because of habitual procrastination, it’s time to do something about it.
Your biggest enemy may not be cleaning the room. It may be planning a big event, developing an app or taking that first step to launching your website. Because these tasks can be time-consuming, your mind knows enough not to want to get started because you might never get to see the end of it. You’d rather spend time on your lifelong dream, finishing a 10,000-word novel. But you should not forget doing the small things even as you pursue your big dreams.
So here are 6 tips on how to stop procrastinating on the tasks that you need to finish.
While we’ve always learned that breaking down a task into baby steps is the secret to getting things done, the problem is it doesn’t work for many people. Instead of proceeding with baby steps to finish a task, cut down your time into baby chunks.
One thing that stands in the way of getting things done is the belief that one small task will take up all the time you have. This doesn’t have to happen if you put a strict time limit on doing one task. The time limit should be short enough that your mind wouldn’t fight the idea. For example, put in 15 minutes a day.
It may even be a challenge to convince yourself that you don’t have an extra 15 minutes to get started on an important task. So by putting in 15 minutes every day to do something, you’re actually making progress.
Every day that you put in 15 minutes may seem like a small thing, but before you realize, you’re actually making big strides toward your goal—whether it’s about cleaning the room or clearing the clutter in the garage.
Use a timer, so that when the beep sounds, you know that the time is up.
Sometimes it’s tempting to keep going even when the timer has gone off. Don’t do that! Your mind won’t trust you the next time if you break that 15-minute promise to stick to the schedule. Even if you’re so eager to finish cleaning the room, when the alarm goes off, put all the cleaning materials away and get up.
Sometimes it’s much better if you stop while you’re in the middle of getting something done. Because once you reach a breaking point, you’ll find it much easier to put things off in the future. However, by stopping in the middle of the task, you’re psyching up your brain to continue where you left off the previous day.
Sometimes your mind will be too lazy to get started—after all, it’s just 15 minutes. However, you’ll have to kick it to get it going! Plan to put in your 15 minutes and give yourself a reward for your accomplishment, or even punish yourself when you start to feel lazy. For instance, not allowing yourself to watch ESPN at primetime if you don’t complete the 15-minute task.
By doing this, you’re able to get a balance between what you need to accomplish and the little luxuries you afford yourself. This way, you don’t feel bad about cleaning the room because you know you’ll have a small reward to look forward to.
Every day, make sure you put in the 15 minutes that you promised yourself you’d do. Getting things done becomes encouraging when you see how you’re progressing. If it helps, keep a little calendar and mark each day that you put in 15 minutes to slowly take out the rubbish in your room. Your mind will soon get used to checking the calendar and anticipate the check marks for every day that you rendered 15 minutes of cleaning the room.
Because 15 minutes is a very short time—heck, we can get all dressed up for work in 15 minutes if we want to!—it can be easy to dismiss it and carry it over to the next day when you’re feeling lazy. Don’t do that! By putting things off, that makes the next day a 30-minute chore, and your mind won’t want to deal with a lot of work that long.
So what to do if you missed your 15 minutes? Shrug it off and wait for the next day to put in your 15 minutes.
When you’ve finished the task, go off and celebrate! Your room is sparkling clean now! Invite some friends and pop up a bottle of wine (just don’t mess up the room again). Do a marathon of video game or DVD movies. The idea is to reward yourself for getting something done, so that next time, there’s something to look forward to.
It’s easy to put off doing the big tasks because your mind thinks getting the work done will take the entire day. But by dividing the work into smaller chunks of time, you’re able to accomplish something every day. Give it a few days and you’ll soon be seeing a lot of progress.
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