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"I turn it on whenever I need to focus.  Really liking it."
Brett McKay from the artofmanliness.com

How to Stop Procrastination and Accomplish Your Daily Goals

Procrastination can be a major roadblock, no matter what your destination. Whether you are a student or work from home, time management is essential to your success. Unfortunately, it is easier to avoid tasks than to simply accomplish them.

Find out how to find your focus and double your productivity in any given day. In this blog post you will learn what experienced freelancers and people that work from home do in order to remain on track. You will discover the best tips to stop procrastinating when working from home or tackling school work.

Common Excuses That Lead to Procrastination

First, it's important to understand some of the most common excuses that people use to justify their lack of motivation. Simply realizing that you are making some of these same mistakes could help you avoid the pitfalls of procrastination. This includes the following excuses:

  • I need to wait until everything is just right
  • I prefer to work under pressure and tight deadlines
  • I have other chores that I need to take care of
  • I am not sure if I am ready to get started

Many people use the excuse that everything needs to be 100% right before they can begin a task, let alone finishing it. They wait until they have the right equipment, time, and mood. This is actually the most common reason that people delay a task. They believe that they are waiting for everything to be perfect when really they are just procrastinating.

However 99% of the time it's probably follow this simple motto:

Better done than perfect - Will Bauer

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Some people use the excuse that they work better under pressure and tight deadlines. Again, this is just an excuse that is used to put off work. While some people do thrive under pressure, the vast majority of individuals work best when they are able to keep themselves focused.

Another reason for putting off a task is that you have too many other chores to handle. Instead of tackling a major project, you suddenly decide that you need to wash the dishes or do some laundry.

The truth is that these chores can wait until after you complete your task. The only reason that they come to mind now is that you want to find a reason to delay your work.

On occasion, you may avoid work because you believe that you are not ready to get started. You may feel that you do not have everything you need to begin your task, so you put it off.

The answer to all of these excuses is that now is the right time. You can always get started on a task now and stop when other issues arise. Telling yourself that you need to wait for the perfect conditions is just a way of putting off your task.

In case of doubt just answer this question and take action immediately. ​

What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

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This is the No. 1 Focusing Question that I learned from the book "The One Thing" and will prevent that your first step is a misstep as Gary Keller outlines in his book.The amazing thing is when you ask yourself the question, you will find out that your are almost always accurate. Everybody instinctively know what matters most.

Science Agrees That Procrastination is Bad

According to a study published in Psychological Science in 1997, procrastination often results in lower quality work and higher stress levels. Researchers examined the effects of procrastination on a group of college students.

At first, the students that procrastinated seemed to enjoy less stress, as they were putting off their studies in order to have fun. The end result was that their grades suffered and the resulting setbacks led to increased stress and risk of illness.

Expert Tips to Help You Stop Procrastinating

Understanding these common excuses is only half of the battle when it comes to fighting procrastination. You also need to have a plan in place. If you want to find focus and double your productivity, you need to plan ahead. Here are some easy to use tips that will help you get more done with your day.

I always notice a huge difference in productivity if I plan the day in advance. Therefore I tend to follow the advice of Jim Rohn who said:

Never start your day until you finish it on paper - Jim Rohn

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While procrastination may have a short-term benefit, that benefit is overshadowed by long-term drawbacks. So, if you are guilty of using the excuses mentioned above, it is time to evaluate your daily routine and find a better way to structure your day.

For example my One-Page-Productivity-Planner. 

Plan Your Entire Day

The best way to do that is following a framework that will make sure you won't forget important tasks and use every day to move closer to your goals. 

When you work a 9 to 5 job, you often have a set schedule that is given to you by your boss or your job description. You may even have a scheduled lunch and other breaks. It's much more challenging if you have to set your own schedule because you are working from home or study for an exam that is not yet due. 

Make a list of the top tasks and then plan out the rest of your day. Decide what you are going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with your snacks.

You should also set a time frame for your tasks and meals. Decide when you are going to start working and when you are going to stop.

Take a 5 Minute Break

When you start getting antsy and find yourself going back to the excuses mentioned earlier, you should take a 5-minute break. Reset your mind and relax for a few minutes before resuming your tasks. Try to take a 5-minute break every 25 to 55-minutes.

Get Rid of Distractions

The perfect, uninterrupted day is impossible. Your have to figure out what matters most to you, and when you’re doing that ONE Thing, eliminate distraction.That means often times that you need to restrict access to distracting websites that will steal your time. There are many ways to do just that. By learning to restrict access to websites, distracting games, news sites or the complete internet, you can avoid one of the biggest temptations that lead to procrastination.

As it turns out this is actually quite hard to do. Email, Facebook and Youtube often trigger the same areas of your brain as slot machines or games which will make you addicted.

Therefore I am currently developing an app that will allow you to ​stay focused even if you would like to go on Facebook. 

Restrict Access to Website

Make a list of the websites that are the biggest distraction to your daily chores. This could be news sites, entertainment sites – anything that commonly distracts you from the task at hand. Then, use a distraction blocker or website blocker to block access to these sites.

Pay Attention to Rest and Daily Meals

You need to be well-rested and well-fed in order to work efficiently. It is easy to get distracted when your mind is tired. If you want to remain focused throughout the day, you need to be rested and get enough nutrition.

The average person should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. As with the rest of your day, setting a sleep schedule will help you develop a regular sleeping pattern.

Get Started Right Now

You can get started right now. Begin planning out your day using the tips discussed. Or, if your day is already finished, then start planning for tomorrow. I want to make it as easy as possible to plan out your day. For this reason, I have created the FindFocus Productivity Planner. This downloadable PDF will help you stay focused. Create the perfect work-life balance with daily planning.

Procrastination does not have to be an ongoing problem. You just need to stop using common excuses and actually get to work. Use these tips today to start planning for a more productive tomorrow.

 

 

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"I turn it on whenever I need to focus.  Really liking it."
Brett McKay from the artofmanliness.com


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Martin Boeddeker
 

Martin Boeddeker is the founder of FindFocus.net, the One-Page Productivity Planner and the mind behind the FindFocus Distraction Blocker for Mac. He studied industrial engineering and management in Germany and worked for some of the biggest companies in the world. With FindFocus he wants to help people to get rid of what he calls DigitalADD so they focus on the things that truly matter in life.

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