How many times have you stared at the screen and hesitated? Lost hours working on projects you didn’t even want to work on? Got to the end of the week and felt like you’ve made zero progress.
Firstly, that’s all ok. It happens to the best of us. If you need to take a break because you’re fried then take a break.
Whether we are inspired or not, we will always have to fight procrastination. There are always distractions and excuses to prevent us from reaching our goals and keep us in the running behind schedule. Fortunately, there are steps that everyone can take to limit distractions and improve both the creative process and productivity.
So, lets dust off and give these a go.
Get Rid of Clutter
It may seem innocuous, but clutter has very real and damaging effects. It will increase stress and create distractions that damage your creative process while encouraging procrastination. Simply getting rid of unnecessary clutter is enough to prevent procrastination in many instances. Create a clutter free environment by removing all nonessential items from the workspace. This includes trash, old papers, and gadgets. You should feel free, however, to keep inspirational items such as art to encourage you in your own creative process.
Procrastination is often caused by limitations that we place on ourselves, the hidden belief that we are not capable of reaching our goals. The best way to break through these limitations is a change of mindset, look at the situation honestly, and create the situations that force you to act. For example, making public announcements or placing short deadlines will provide enough stress to increase adrenaline and create focus. It is important not to go overboard when creating stressful situations. While short deadlines will increase adrenaline, impossible deadlines will only create a cycle of failure, which leads to further procrastination.
Build on Small Successes
When attempting to decrease procrastination and motivate yourself to move forward, it is essential that you focus on success. The best way to accomplish this is by setting small goals that you know you can achieve such as reading for 10 or 15 minutes a day or walking for a short time before work. If you begin with activities that you know you can achieve, you will create an environment of success. Encouraged by your own achievements, you will be able to slowly build on your success until you reach your long-term goals. When you believe that it is possible to complete a task, you will be less likely to procrastinate on your work.
Don’t Start at the Beginning
When you are thinking creatively, it is not necessary to complete tasks in a linear manner. Sometimes the beginning of a project is the most difficult. Rather than getting stuck at the beginning, move on to a portion of the project that you can complete and go back to the beginning later. For example, many writers choose to leave the introductions to their stories at the very end and tie all of the events together. It does not matter where you begin in the project as long as you are able to connect all of the portions of the project together.
The enemy of procrastination then is persistence. Little and often does help you to get back into that flow state and get stuff done.
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