The art of procrastination

At time of writing, my todoist list is 10 lines long for today and I need to be finished in an hour to make a catch up call… But I’ve spent the last 45 minutes looking up different recipes for katsu curry that I’ll be making at the weekend. Why? I’m in procrastination mode.

What is procrastination?

“Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline”. There are some great insights available for why we procrastinate and tips for moving past it. Normally, I’m very focused with my day and like to make sure that I’ve got everything I need to be productive but sometimes I follow the image below:

What does this mean?

Procrastination for me is not a sign of boredom. It’s a sign that I need to have a break… Hear me out! For me, focus means creativity and if I’m struggling with being creative in my work then it’s time I need to have a break and try again later.

Procrastination can also be a sign of stress so be aware that if you’re procrastinating a lot and struggling with focus on a longer term basis, that this could be a wider indicator towards stress and burnout.

What can I do to refocus?

When I notice that I need to refocus, I’ll take 30 mins and either go for a walk or do some sport. I’ll avoid any sort of screen and just let my mind focus and wander to something else. This might also involve a short nap.

If I still struggle to focus, then I’ll either try to work on something else or say: that’s it for today and start earlier tomorrow. I’ve realised the longer I try to fight the procrastination or try to force myself to work, the less quality I’ll produce. For me, procrastination is a clear sign that I need a break rather than stressing myself out with the list of what I need to do today.

Here’s a list of things that can help you best your procrastination tendencies:

  • Make sure your list of to-dos are not too long and break out tasks that take longer than 5/10/30 minutes.
  • Take regular breaks before you lose concentration and fall into procrastination mode
  • Start with one easy task and go from there. Once you’ve started, that’s the hardest part
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Just because you can’t focus now, doesn’t mean you won’t focus in an hour.
  • Work out why you’re procrastinating? Is it anxiety? Boredom?

So, Ive got a little bit of time before my call and I’m going to brace the windy outdoors and get some fresh air. What do you do to refocus if you procrastinate?

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