We all do it. You might be doing it right now. Important tasks can be daunting, from applying to a job, to paying a bill to cleaning your house. There’s a fear instilled in these tasks that we just can’t get past in order to cross it off the to-do list. Why do we do this?
According to Dr. Tim Pychyl of Carleton University in Ottawa, Cali., we procrastinate because of negative emotions. In his 2013 study with the University of Sheffield, he established that procrastination is in fact not a time management issue but an emotion regulation issue. That means we prioritize the positive feeling of pushing off a task over the negative emotion of the future stress. How do you better regulate procrastination then?
Here are some quick tips to put procrastination off for good:
Break Up Your Tasks
Is the task at hand daunting because it’s large? Break it up into small pieces so that you can focus on the present rather than what’s next. Working on a job application? Make your first task focused on researching the company. Then, work on your resume. Break up the application into parts so you don’t feel pressure to do it all at once.
Create the Best Environment for Success
Give yourself the power to control your distractions in your environment. Put your phone in the other room or set a timed lock so you aren’t distracted by social media or texts. Wear a warm sweater or turn the fan on high so you are physically comfortable.
Work on Your Self-Awareness
If you are able to recognize signs of procrastination within yourself, you can create strategies to put yourself back on track. Ask a close friend or loved one to help you recognize those signs. If you catch yourself in those moments, take it as an indication that you need to get back to the task at hand.
Now, go finish that job application or sign-up for that training course (we know you want to).
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