Does procrastination correlate to unproductiveness? Or can they work simultaneously? “All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this negative trait work for you”, states John Perry. Making yourself aware of your procrastinating patterns, and using them to your advantage, can actually help you be more productive. Here are our tips:
Make a List
Oftentimes, we have a running list of tasks that need to be completed, yet feel overwhelmed in starting them. Why? Lack of structure and organization. The solution? Make a list. Once you put all your thoughts on paper you can see a visual of what needs to be done, which in turn will make the tasks seem more manageable and reduce your desire to procrastinate.
Swap Your Tasks
Once you’ve made a list of the tasks that you need to accomplish, organize them by complexity. Find your low-focus, tedious tasks that don’t require much thought and allot time for these tasks during a period when you feel procrastination hit. Doing this will allow you to be productive, just in a different way.
Exercising when you feeling the need to procrastinate may be the exact thing you need to refocus. According to a Harvard study, the benefits of regular exercise consist of “Improved concentration, a sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and lower stress”. Try incorporating some sort of exercise/walking into your routine to improve your focus. As little as ten minutes is all you need.
Clutter creates distractions, which ultimately can lead you to procrastinate. Organizing not only saves you time from rummaging through materials, folders on your desktop, etc., but it reduces stress and overwhelm as well. When your surroundings are organized, and orderly, you free your mind to focus on the tasks at hand. If you’re noticing you’re procrastinating, take 15 minutes to organize the space around you and then revisit your work.
Accountability improves company culture in the workplace, but it also improves performance individually. Being aware that your colleagues are relying on you and holding you accountable can increase your focus, engagement, and commitment.
Taking breaks is critical in improving concentration. A study demonstrated that “frequent-break-takers outshone the competition by getting more done with more focus during their working time.” The reason for this? Our brain “works in bursts of high activity that last about an hour, and then it switches to low activity for a while”. This means if we work in sync with these patterns, we are going to be more productive, feel less burnout, and procrastinate less, recharging when we need it.
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