Inside everyone there is a tiny procrastinator.
And if you feed him by making excuses and giving him reasons to put things off, listen to him and indulge in time-wasting activities, he will grow bigger and stronger.
Until he takes control over you and you find yourself being a slave and never getting anything done.
And, of course, you can also say ‘no’ to his ideas (he can come up with quite creative reasons to do important things later, and quite interesting, easier, simpler and faster stuff to do right now instead).
But before all that, you’ll need to be aware of his actions. You need to know when he’s speaking and acting on your behalf, and to be able to stop, reflect on that and say ‘no’.
And then go do the things you know you should be doing.
So here are some common traits of procrastinators you should be familiar with:
10 Things Procrastinators Do That Make Them Horribly Unproductive
1. Procrastinators check social networks and emails constantly.
We all know how addictive that can be. Procrastinators do it all the time and most often there’s nothing new to see.
Solution: The only way to stop doing it is to be ruthless and disciplined.
Set times for doing these activities – the best thing is to check email twice a day – in the morning, and in the afternoon.
And to be mindful of how much time you spend on social media, set some deadlines – like not doing it until 1 pm, or having certain periods of the day when you can do it for half an hour.
2. Procrastinators are late.
Such people put off even things like going out and being on time, even if it’s to meet someone important.
What to do? Just start getting ready half an hour earlier than you usually do.
It may mean that you’ll be ‘getting ready’ to go out 60-90 minutes before the actual time, but if that’s what will help you be there and do your best, then so be it.
3. Procrastinators find it hard to start working on something.
The typical unproductive person struggles with beginning. Sometimes it may be harder for him than the actual task.
So he needs another approach.
It’s important to stop thinking about the whole task/job/project, and to focus on just starting.
Forget how long it will take, whether you’ll do it on time, and whether it will go according to the plan. Simply start.
Here’s a great guide on starting.
4. Procrastinators always complain about how hard things are and how busy they are.
And that itself takes time, and lets them put things off for later.
Constantly repeating statements like these will convince you that they are true, and soon you’ll give up on trying to do anything about them. So stop saying things like that.
In fact, never let others know that you procrastinate. Instead, go face your task and focus on starting small.
5. Procrastinators don’t have systems.
They don’t plan, try out different approaches or find out what works best for them. And because of that, they have a hard time completing tasks and getting things done.
Solution: Find your most productive time of the day.
For most people it’s the early morning, but you’ll need to give it a try to know for sure. Then organize your days around that time and do the most important and difficult work only during these hours.
Also, try working in 60- or 90-minute intervals. Be absolutely focused during them and don’t let anything distract you, then take a 15-minute break.
Do that 2 or 3 times and you’ll be more productive than others who spend the whole day trying to do as much as they can.
6. Procrastinators usually don’t finish what they start.
You’ve finally found the motivation to start, and made some progress. But what’s the point if you postpone completing it?
That’s another bad habit you’ll need to work on, as it gets you nowhere.
Here are 10 good tips on how not to do that.
7. Procrastinators don’t prioritize.
One of the best productivity habits you can acquire is to eliminate the unessential, and focus on what’s important.
Most people don’t do it. They just write down tens of tasks to do each day, and in the evening can’t really say they’ve achieved anything.
It’s crucial to know what your most important tasks are – the ones you need to do today which will help you improve and get closer to your goals.
That’s why it’s worth taking some time to figure out which they are.
8. Procrastinators have too many things on their mind, and on their to-do list.
The average unproductive person has many unnecessary things on his to-do list, and thinks about them all the time.
They become a burden he carries with him wherever he goes. And that affects his performance as he can’t really forget about them while concentrating on one activity.
So eliminate all these.
They are what you think you need to get done, but which can actually be finished by other people, or which is not that urgent, or even tasks that don’t really need to be done.
Think about that. And rewrite your to-do list. Then let go (physically and mentally) of all the things you remove from it.
9. Procrastinators don’t plan out their days.
And that’s a big mistake.
If you don’t want to become one of them, then do this – before you go to bed each evening take a few minutes to write down all the tasks you have for tomorrow, and decide which is the best time to do each of them, and how long it should take you considering you’ll be focused.
Then, when you wake up tomorrow start working on the 1-3 most important ones.
10. Procrastinators often forget.
Put something off for later a few times, and there’s a great chance you’ll forget about it.
It’s better to write everything down the moment it pops up and to have a place for everything. Little habits like that can make a big difference.
So these are some of the traits and habits unproductive people have in common. And there’s something you can do about each of them that will help you achieve more and feel good at the end of the day.
Which of these do you find familiar? And do you consider yourself a procrastinator?