Procrastination is something most of us struggle with. Oftentimes, we postpone things despite knowing the fact that it would put us in a difficult situation in the future. Yet, with each passing day, procrastination only seems to gain momentum. Hence, leaving us powerless over it.
You know that you could do more if it wasn’t for procrastination. You will practise hard for that upcoming dance audition; write a few more pages of your book, daily; hit gym regularly; prepare well for that test, and so on. In simple words, you know that stopping procrastination will help live your life to its fullest potential. Nevertheless, we fall prey to it.
Despite reading a number of blogs, and binging YouTube videos on productivity, I constantly found myself procrastinating things. I would blankly stare at the wall clock, watch insta reels, read emails, see what’s trending on twitter, and do whatever I can to pass time, but start the task. To make things worse, I would constantly reassure myself that I would start the task in a couple of minutes, but end up wasting an hour or so. Time and again.
By the time I would return to the task, a great deal of time would have elapsed. Thinking about why I had wasted so much time, I’d again fiddle with the phone to get out of the guilt feeling. Once again I’d falsely reassure myself that I would return to the task in a couple of minutes. And waste another hour. This would go on and on. I seemed to have gotten stuck in an endless loop.
By the time I figured out a way to stop procrastination, I had wasted countless hours and days. Especially, precious days of my youth. And most of all, missed some of the golden opportunities in my life. (Which I don’t want to happen to you) However, better late than never, I saw how drastically my life changed once I learnt to stop procrastination. In this essay, I have mentioned a few of the techniques I followed to get rid of it.
Note: Since all these techniques have worked for me doesn’t mean they would work for you as well. You will have to try different techniques to see what works best for you. That’s me, staying on the safer side.
The Five-minute Rule
Now, the most important or tricky part of overcoming procrastination is the starting point of a task. This is where the real struggle lies. The way to overcome this is to simply tell yourself that you would sit for straight five minutes on the task.
Just five minutes.
Nothing less or more.
As you convince yourself to sit for that duration of time, you will see for yourself that you would cross well beyond that five minutes. And moreover, would often find yourself gaining the needed inspiration to get going and complete the task. This is what productivity coaches call the “five minute rule.”
This way of forcing yourself to stay on the task for just five straight minutes, will help you overcome the resistance to do the work, most of the time. When I said five straight minutes, I meant doing the work without any distractions and breaks. Like, keeping your phone in a different room or enabling silent mode, or turning off notifications in your computer.
No matter how gigantic or difficult a task might seem, It’d often turn out to be way easier than you think. And, simply doing work for five minutes will clear this unwanted stress away and reveal how easy the task is to you.
The Twenty five-minute Rule
As I said earlier, usually you will keep working well past five minutes. And in some cases, you would also complete the task at one go, to your surprise. But if you are like me, who accurately keeps track of the five minutes to its nano seconds so you can scroll through insta feeds, we have a plan B. This is an extended version of the first technique. “The twenty-five minute rule.”
It’s very simple. You are going to repeat what you exactly did in the previous technique. Only change here is that you would do it for extra twenty minutes. Following each 25-minute set would be a five-minute break. Repeat three continuous sets with an hour break at the end of the final set.
You would be amazed to see how much of your work gets done by following this 25-minute rule. To digress a bit, make sure your working space is clean, organized and smells good. Research has proven that being in a place that is unorganized and untidy causes stress in humans. We already have enough stress stimulators in our lives, don’t allow your workspace to be an extra one of them.
That said, no matter what techniques you follow, if you aren’t truly interested in a task, you would keep procrastinating. Honestly speaking, I am not going to act as though I have a solution for that.
Yet, I do believe that being clear about the purpose of a job, and how that job contributes to your future goals and life’s vision can help you to some extent.
And on that note, these are the two techniques I followed to get rid of procrastination. If you know of a better technique, please do let me know in the comments. Maybe, your tip could help someone change their life.