5 Ways To Prevent Procrastination

Procrastination comes in many forms. From staring blankly into space to inessential snacking to ‘perfecting’ that colour-coded work schedule, our subconscious employs numerous methods to foil our work efforts.

It’s something which everybody does and nobody can avoid entirely – but there are ways that procrastination can be reduced to a minimum. Below are five methods to use to begin the process of procrastinating less and doing more.


Make lists

Start any set of tasks with a to-do list and stick to it. That way you’re less likely to veer off track and more likely to achieve all you need to.

You may be that person who hates lists or thinks that they can manage with a mental record, but you’re probably wrong. Even the most efficient human brain is forgetful and physically writing your tasks down will help you to prioritise and get things done. Besides, there are few more satisfying things in this world than ticking completed errands off your list.

So, even if you think that you’re above lists or that they just don’t work for you, try it. A little organisation can go a long way.


Organise your time

This is key. Whether you use a page-to-a-day diary, your phone or another list, ensure that you dedicate appropriate amounts of time to each task so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Always include rest periods and free time within your organised life, but by timetabling this you’ll soon realise how much free time you can have when the working portions are spent productively.

Remember not to spend too long ‘organising’ yourself, as often people get carried away with this process and forget to actually begin work. The sooner you plan, the sooner you can get started and the more you’ll achieve.


If you need to change your tasks, make sure the change is productive

If for any reason the current thing that you’re doing isn’t going anywhere and you begin to lose motivation, you can switch tasks. Still, make sure that you’re still working towards a goal of some kind.

If you require a twenty-minute stint watching Made In Chelsea with a cup of tea to gather yourself for the next wave, that’s fine. Just be sure to make productivity a habit and you’ll feel better about what seemed a neverending to-do list.


Know your limits

This is very important and often where people slip up. A lot of the time when you think about all you have on your to-do list, it can seem overwhelming. Some tasks that you thought would take five minutes take up a whole day, while others that you thought would take longer take no time at all.

Recognise this and be flexible with your timetable to a certain extent. Plan wisely and don’t try to cram too much into a short period of time because it will result in things not being done to the best of your ability. Be realistic and spend time planning so that when it comes to completing all your lists you can do so to a high standard.


Remember that we’re all in the same boat

Everybody procrastinates at some point in their working life. We’re all human and it is unavoidable. Don’t become disheartened if some days don’t go to plan, tasks don’t get completed and you feel uninspired. Those days will inevitably happen, but they will also pass.

Be persistent, stick with it and know that next time will be better. Be strict with your organised time slots but don’t be too hard on yourself if occasionally things don’t go to plan.

There are various ways to prevent procrastination. If you start with the above, you’ll notice a big difference. You’ll find that more things are finished and you’ll have more time in each day because you won’t have wasted so much staring at the wall or scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed.

Go force and produce, young padawan!


Harriet Mills is an English Literature and Creative Writing graduate based at her hometown near Cambridge. She is an aspiring writer with her main interests being features and travel writing. For more of her story check out her personal blog.