How many times have you sat in the front of your lecture hall only to peer out and see that virtually everybody is on Facebook or Twitter on their laptops? How many of your coworkers are updating their Facebook statuses in the middle of a work meeting? Social media has reared its ugly head by contributing to a wave of procrastination in schools and the workplace. People spend countless hours poring through their friends’ vacation albums and following their ex’s every comment. Social media has become so ingrained in society that it remains as one of our biggest sources of procrastination.
Granted, social media is only one avenue that leads to Procrastination Boulevard, but it’s certainly one of the most popular. Television, convincing yourself that you’re “not in the proper mindset” to complete a task, and various other distractions (Oooh! Look! A squirrel!) can side-track you from getting things done.
As much as we’d all like to believe that we are completely dedicated to our jobs and responsibilities 100% of the time, the undeniable truth is that life will give us ways to put off what needs to be done. Procrastination will often get the best of us. Help celebrate National Fight Procrastination Day on September 6th by focusing on ways to limit the amount of distractions keeping you from accomplishing your goals.
By acknowledging and focusing on removing distracting behaviors, we are able to create a healthier atmosphere with improved skills in time management. This can be accomplished by completing goals ahead of schedule and avoiding the stress of last minute tasks.
Simple Steps to Stop Stalling
There are several easy steps we can take to overcome procrastination and improve our time management skills. The first is to keep a simple to-do list. For visual learners, simply seeing what needs to be done can be helpful in accomplishing goals. The second is to create a schedule for all necessary tasks and to make sure that each task is completed. The third is to rid yourself of distractions.
Make a list, check it twice: By making a list of tasks, you’ll be able to visual and prioritize what needs to be done, and in what order. When you compile a list of short term and long term tasks, separate each task depending on its importance and urgency. You can then organize this new task list into a scheduled to-do list for each day. Writing your to-do lists on colorful sticky notes to draw your attention to them, or a designated list pad or notebook may be helpful in keeping you on-track.
One task at a time: Take a look at the task list and complete each task one at a time until it is complete. This will yield a greater output of productivity throughout the day, allowing for more time to accomplish other tasks without the stress of rushed time constraints. Tasks with high importance and high urgency should be given the highest priority. Common short-term tasks that are routine can be completed in a systematic way. Long term tasks can be done gradually, as long as majority of the work is not put off until the last minute.
Stay on top of things: Sometimes you may face difficulty in finding the motivation to spend free time doing long term, critical tasks that do not need to be completed right away. These tasks tend to linger in the back of your mind until it’s finally critical to accomplish them, causing stress and anxiety. Often times, there may not be enough time to put a large dent in the long term, critical goals that need to be accomplished. You may find yourself putting it off until the very end. By putting an end to this behavior, you’ll not only display improved concentration on what needs to be done, but you’ll reduce that anxious feeling and impending doom of finishing a difficult and critical task at the very last second.
Keep track of your project completion over time. You’ll be able to look back and see all the great work you’ve finished. There’s something truly satisfying about crossing a task off your list and knowing you’ve gotten something done. You will be amazed at what you are truly capable of when you put your mind to something!
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