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  • The Improvement Artist Team

Top 3 Ways To Overcome Procrastination Habits

Updated: Jan 8

Introduction


Procrastination or the art of putting off until tomorrow is one of the most difficult habits to overcome and master. It is something that many of us face and struggle with on a day to day basis and even highly successful people will likely still have to deal with procrastination some days. Procrastination in its simplest form is a bad habit and should be treated and overcome like giving up any other bad habit.



If a habit is causing problems that effect your day to day life then it is considered a problem. There are many services and information available in which people can treat their bad habits and overcome habits. Overcoming a bad habit such as procrastination will never be an easy process. We have created our own list of ways to help you get on the journey of a procrastination free life. But like anything it is not easy, it is up to you to implement a strategy for change. Start small and you will reap the rewards over time.


Let’s get into the blog, here is our Top 3 Ways To Overcome Procrastination Habits.



1- Change The Routine Of A Bad Habit


The first step to overcoming procrastinating desires is to delve deep into the structure of a bad habit and replace it with a new, better habit. Once you develop a habit, the neurological patterns remain inside your head and your brain does not understand whether the habit is a good one or bad one.


In essence, habits can never be fully eradicated but they can be changed. If you are able to change the routine of a habit then it can trick your brain to still receive the same reward but by performing a new routine. Eventually new routines can be created and in turn better habits.


The Habit Loop


The habit loop consists of three stages. The reminder/cue, the routine and the reward. If we take smoking as an example the cue for this habit would be a pack of cigarettes or lighter. The brain then recognises the same pattern it has performed over and over again which in this case would be smoking the cigarette, this is the routine. Finally the brain receives either a mental, physical or emotional reward from the routine. The cycle then repeats over and over again. This is why most people fail when they start a new diet or try to give up smoking. If you do not change the routine of the bad habit then it will be very difficult to eliminate the bad habit and the habit continues.


The way in which to succeed in breaking a bad habit is to first note down all of the cues, routines and rewards for the particular habit. Procrastination is a more complex habit so everyone may have slightly different habit loops but if you can recognise your own habit loop then it will become much easier to change. For some people the cue may be their phone or TV, the routine would be opening their phone and scrolling through social media and the reward would be a dopamine release. In this case to eradicate the habit they would need to change the routine to something more productive like reading, writing or finishing a project. Starting small is key, if were able to change the routine to something at least enjoyable but productive at the same time then through time a new habit will form and it will be easier to build from there.


Bad habits can always be changed and that’s all procrastination is. Changing the habit loop for a specific habit can not only be applied for procrastination but to any other poor habits. It takes some mental willpower to start applying a new routine, but slowly and surely after some time the benefits will start to show and after some consistency eventually a new habit will form.



2. Turn off electronics




A classic time killer, mobile phones and other electronic devices are probably the most common distractions in todays world. Using electronics, mobile phones and social media is fine in moderation but when it starts to take over the time that should be used for the things you know you should be doing then it becomes a problem, a bad habit that needs to be changed.


It may sounds simple but it is usually the simple things that are the most effective. If you know that you have a project to finish or there is work to be done then turn off your phone, it is as simple as that. If you turn off your phone before you start to work and even place your phone on the other side of the room or completely out of the way then the urge to use your phone will slowly subside and you can finish your work in peace. If you are able to get into the habit of turning off your phone even maybe 30 minutes- 1 hour before you start work then you will have no option but to be productive.


Completely eliminating use of your phone or electronics is not even necessary, it is all about balance and moderation. If you are able to find the right balance then you will free up time to do what you need to do. Start by turning off your phone before you start anything productive or creative, this will soon become a habit just like anything else. If you are able to implement small increments of self-discipline and persistence just like this simple method then over time it will become easier.



3. Create goals / To do list




For some people having things in writing means that it has to be done regardless. It helps some people regain structure and complete tasks throughout the day. Productive people and successful people all seem to have one major thing in common and that is creating goals and to-do lists. There is something so satisfying about ticking off all completed tasks or goals at the end of the day. It gives a sense of completion, and for some people this is the fuel they need to get stuff done and not procrastinate. When a goal or a task is completed and ticked off it is almost like a little reward in the brain. For people who already make to-do lists or have goals then ‘missing the deadline’ or missing out on a small tick can almost feel like failure.


Setting up goals for yourself gives you something to work towards. It helps you to be more organised and give you more of a structure to tasks and your day. Setting out short term and long term goals really helps you to see desires more clearly, it also makes the difficult or impossible tasks seem more possible and achievable. For instance, If you managed to set yourself 10 small goals to reach in 3 months then even if you managed to complete 70-80% of what you set yourself then it is still a victory as achieving some goals is better than achieving no goals.


So how does all of this link to procrastination? Creating goals and to-do lists gives a ‘why’ to do something and it gives you something to work towards. If you are consistently working on goals then you're on the right path to achieving the end result. Having goals helps give structure to some people, having a goal with a deadline to meet will help procrastinating thoughts pass and will give you a ‘why’ or a reason to get work done.


Summary

Start structuring your day and writing goals and small achievable tasks to be completed so that you do not end up being bored and you have something to work towards, breaking down your larger tasks into many smaller tasks makes the process much more easier and enjoyable. Keep distractions well away such as any mobile phones, social media and electronics whilst you are working and finally delve deep into the structure of your procrastination habit and replace the routine with something better.


Procrastination can be your worst enemy, but there are many ways to overcome and master it. These are just a few of the many different methods and techniques that people use to overcome procrastination.



We hope you enjoyed reading this article




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