You know that feeling of dread when there is a long to-do list in front of you but somehow you can’t make yourself tackle it. This puts you in an unhealthy cycle of avoiding work by occupying your mind with other activities, while new tasks keep appearing. This emotional response is called procrastination, and it negatively affects your well-being. Fortunately for us, we are not alone in feeling this way, and there are ways to change our behaviour to become more productive and happy.
A good article on this topic is How to Stop Procrastinating: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need. The main ideas are:
- Understand this is a normal response and forgive yourself for any shortcomings you notice (like avoiding to do work, finding distractions, or not completing work on time).
- Evaluate the importance and urgency of tasks from the to-do list, establishing deadlines, and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. Then create a list based on these observations, considering putting first the most urgent and important tasks.
- Control your environment by removing distractions. Start by blocking so-called infinity pools (you know which ones, just think about how much time you spend on social media, YouTube, or video games for example) with apps and extensions (Freedom, Block Site, etc.).
- Create a schedule and track your focused working time (using Forest or Focus To-Do). At the end of the day, evaluate your expectations versus reality, and you will be surprised at how much you were able to accomplish.
If you need an example, you can refer to the next video: