Procrastination When WFH: 9 Non-Standard Secrets From a Freelancer
Chances are, you are reading this article on how to beat procrastination instead of working on an important task. Am I right? You just keep looking for an explanation why you are constantly distracted by all sorts of things that have nothing to do with your work. Yes, this is procrastination.
Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease or disorder. It’s just a habit of putting off unfinished tasks until the last moment. It can be managed. I am sure that you have already tried to handle it many times. You’ve read numerous tips from the Internet, such as planning the day, dividing big tasks into small steps, starting with the most difficult tasks, leaving easy ones for later, etc.
However, it looks like you have not succeeded because you’re still reading. So I decided to share some tips that helped me. Some of them may seem unusual to you, and some may even contradict each other, but they work. Just try them and choose the methods that are right for you.
1. Enjoy the process
Sometimes it is difficult to dive into work if you only care about the result. Try to find positive aspects in each task you have to deal with. You can combine cleaning with some fitness or turn cooking dinner into a creative process. Or just look at talking to unpleasant clients as it is self-control training.
When you focus on the process, and not just the outcome, which is delayed and not guaranteed, it becomes much easier. Moreover, when you are in a good mood, you cope with tasks faster, and the result is always better. And even if it is not, at least you had your share of fun.
2. Not just a task, but a challenge
There are no magic spells that will force us to focus all our attention on solving a planned task without being distracted or procrastinated. But, just like in previous advice, it is within our power to change our attitude towards what we do.
Imagine that the task assigned to you is not a duty but a challenge. After getting it done, you will make one more step up in your professionalism. This will energize you.
3. Be kind to yourself
Perhaps this sounds like bad advice if you already surf the Internet for hours instead of working. But in fact, people who procrastinate have below-average self-compassion.
Moreover, people who are already worried about the existing tasks do not need additional negative emotions. Those who have forgiven themselves for procrastinating are more likely to start work earlier the next time than those who could not forgive themselves and move on.
Don’t try to be superhuman. Here’s a secret: no one does 100% of their tasks daily. We all get lazy at times and put things off. Everyone has breakdowns.
4. Motivate yourself
Motivation is the shield of a procrastination fighter. Constantly remind yourself not only that you need to sit down for a particular task, but also why it is necessary. Do not say: “I have to.” Say: “This is my choice, because…”
Also, use visualization. Imagine what you would get after the successful completion of the task. Just imagine that uplifting mood you would have. Remember to praise and reward yourself for completing tasks. No one would reward you better than yourself.
5. Turn your laziness into creativity
Procrastination sometimes makes us being more creative and more productive, as a result. Instead of postponing important tasks, try to find new solutions and useful tricks to get things done faster.
For example, I figured out how macros work, and now I do some routine work faster. Creating macros was so exciting! And then I wanted to get to work as soon as possible to start using them. The desire to do your job effectively, combined with your laziness, will help awaken creativity in you that you never knew existed.
6. Overlapping work
After you’ve completed one task, don’t rush to take a break right away. Before you do, start something new. If you plan to wash dishes, put them in the sink. If you are going to write an article, open the text application and write the first sentence.
When the work has begun, it is more difficult for us to forget about it and be distracted by something else — especially if we have done something that can no longer be ignored. It is difficult to keep on scrolling social media when there is a vacuum cleaner in the middle of the room looking straight at you.
7. Do it or go to bed
While procrastinating, we tend to do insignificant things instead of things that really need to be done. You know: cleaning the kitchen instead of writing a diploma or washing a cat instead of sending out a resume.
It is important to listen to yourself instead of trying to do at least something. Don’t try to calm your conscience by being distracted by unnecessary things. The rule is: do what you have to do or do nothing. Just go to bed. If you are really tired, you will lie down and have a rest. If it is procrastination, you would not be able to lie for a long time just staring at the ceiling.
8. Add some color
Clean your desktop, get rid of things that distract you. Use red and blue elements in your workspace. Research data published in Science Daily shows that red enhances attention to detail, while blue boosts creativity. These two colors not only improve brain performance but are also pleasing to the eye.
However, other colors helped me — white and green. I just felt better and worked more productive when I was surrounded by them. So don’t be afraid to experiment. Look for your own aesthetics.
9. Follow your calling
If you choose a job to your liking, it will never be a burden to you. So just think about why you do not want to work. Maybe your calling is somewhere else, and it might be worth changing jobs. If you wish, you can even learn a new specialty remotely. At least, it is worth a try.
Try these methods to find those that best suit your lifestyle and resonate with the reasons for your procrastination. Combine the methods. Print them out and put them somewhere you can always see them. Remember, the most important thing in fighting procrastination is to understand that it prevents you from living a better life. Feel it, and you would want to leave procrastination behind.