Powerful ways to overcome procrastination, tackle distractions head-on

Updated on Sep 08, 2022 03:16 PM IST

Caught in a constant cycle of procrastination? You are not the only one. Check out these tips to take back control of your focus, tackle distractions and overcome procrastination

Powerful ways to overcome procrastination, tackle distractions head-on (Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash)
Powerful ways to overcome procrastination, tackle distractions head-on (Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Procrastination can be a huge obstacle when it comes to accomplishing your goals as it’s the thief of time, robbing you of the ability to work productively and efficiently and it can be hard to overcome – especially if you don’t know where to start but why do we really procrastinate? Well, one common reason in today’s world is distraction and in the overly stimulated world that we live in today, it is easy to get distracted since distractions can be external, like the constant buzzing and beeping of your mobile phone or they can be internal, for example, our need to check our social media feed over and over again.

You are not the only one to procrastinate though, as in a study 88% of adults said they procrastinate for at least one hour a day and in addition, it was found that the average human attention span has shrunk to 8.25 seconds, shrinking even further every time a new social media feature drops. The combination of these factors lead to a constant cycle of procrastination so one of the best ways to start overcoming procrastination is to take back control of our focus by making time for distractions instead of catching us off guard.

When you’re distracted, you might find yourself procrastinating on tasks that are unpleasant, difficult or boring or maybe you put off important projects in order to focus on less important ones. No matter what form it takes, procrastination is always a problem because it keeps us from reaching our goals and achieving our full potential.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Ayushi Mathur, Confidence and Motivation Coach, Global Entrepreneur, Personal Branding Expert, Influencer, and Podcaster, revealed some ways in which we can overcome this habit of procrastination and finally get things done:

1. Make a list of what you need to do

Procrastination is often caused by a lack of focus. When you don’t have a clear idea of what needs to be done, it becomes much easier to put off working on the task at hand. The first step in overcoming procrastination is making a list of what needs to be done. When you start with this approach, it becomes much easier to set goals for how much time you want to spend on each task and work towards those goals. This will help keep your working environment productive and discourage distractions from coming into your life. In order to stay positive during the process, remember that completing tasks is never as bad as postponing them indefinitely or doing them halfheartedly. And finally, always make sure that you are focused on the task at hand by avoiding multitasking and focusing completely on the task at hand. Once you have made progress tackling one task after another, success will follow!

2. Break the tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces

One of the most common causes of procrastination is a lack of focus. Poor task management can prevent you from getting started on your work, and it can be hard to break down large tasks into smaller ones that are more manageable. One way to overcome this difficulty is to break the task down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This will help you organizationally manage it, as well as compensate for distractions. Additionally, if breaking down a larger task feels like too much work, try using a timeboxing system instead — limiting the amount of time you have to complete each stage or step in order to increase your motivation (for example, setting a deadline for completing all steps within two weeks). When working on complex projects or tasks that require significant concentration and effort, taking these three simple steps may make all the difference: establish specific deadlines for when each step must be completed; create milestones along the way that indicate when you’ve reached an important point in progress; set boundaries on how long you will tolerate incompletework . By following these guidelines, you can better navigate through any obstacles that might stand in your way and reach your goal(s) successfully."

3. Manage internal triggers

Realising that distraction originates internally is the first step towards handling it. We will continue to find ways to divert ourselves if we don't address the underlying causes of distraction. It turns out that distraction is more about how we react to the distracting object than the thing itself. The cycle of distraction is maintained by resisting, thinking about it, and then giving in to the need. This is likely what motivates many undesirable activities. Although we have no control over the thoughts and emotions that pass through our minds, we do have power over how we respond to them. We may control internal distractions by altering the way we perceive them.

We can reimagine the trigger, the task and our behaviour. To do that, the following four steps are helpful:

Step 1: Pay attention to the internal trigger and search for the discomfort that comes before the distraction.

Step 2: Write down the trigger.

Step 3: Instead of dismissing your negative feelings, explore them with interest.

Step 4: Exercise extra caution whenever you are changing from one activity to another.

4. Take short breaks throughout the day to focus on the task at hand

You might be thinking that short breaks will only help you to focus on the task at hand for a few minutes, and then you’ll get back to procrastinating. But that’s not what happens at all. In fact, taking short breaks throughout the day will help you to stay motivated, avoid distractions, and ultimately complete your tasks more quickly. So how do you use short breaks effectively? The most popular suggestion is 10-15 minute mini-breaks in between larger chunks of work . You can also take shorter 5 minute breaks throughout the day if needed . Just make sure that each break takes less than 30 minutes so that it doesn’t become a distraction in itself!

Fewer distractions = better focus = faster completion of tasks… simple as that.

5. Make time for things you really want to do

It's crucial to make time for the activities you truly like. You can't refer to anything as a "distraction" unless you understand what it is diverting your attention from. Making time for traction every day and removing the distractions that prevent you from leading the life you want—one that includes looking after yourself, your relationships and your work—are key components of being focused. Even whether you decide to spend your time skimming through entertainment news or reading a fiction book, it's important to plan your time with purpose. In the end, the time you intended to spend was not wasted. We make sure that we do the things that are important and disregard the ones that don't by outlining how we spend our time and communicating with the stakeholders in our life. It relieves us of the menial tasks that fill our days and returns the time that we can't afford to lose.

Adding to the list of powerful ways to overcome procrastination by tackling distractions head-on, Prasha Dutra, Confidence Coach, TEDx Speaker and CEO of Believe in Your Brilliance LLC, suggested:

1. Realize that you are in charge

To procrastinate or not, to give in to the distractions or not; it’s all in your control once you recognize the power of your conscious choice. It’s not easy, but realizing this power of choice can reduce procrastination and distractions. The issue is that somewhere we gave up this control to our devices and to our bad habits of delaying tasks. Before implementing any solutions, it’s crucial to set an affirmation like, “I am in charge of my focus.” Repeating this every day can help us shift our mindset, which will help us handle distractions better.

2. Add breaks and transitions to your calendar

People often plan only the tasks from a robotic mindset that they will sit straight for a few hours and get things done. They seem to forget that it’s pretty impossible to work non-stop without getting distracted. So it’s in their best interest to plan for short breaks in their schedule. Plan one hour of work and 10 minutes of break where you can reward yourself, reset and then come back to the task with more energy.

3. Set powerful boundaries

Identify the source of your distractions and set boundaries to stay in control. For example, most people find social media to be a source of distractions, so delete the apps when you start working and then once the workday is over, you can re-download the app. This technique is to keep social media distractions away. The other major distraction people face is a Skype message or an email, and they can’t wait to look at it later. The best way to tackle this is to turn the “DND” on your instant messages, close the email window and then work on your tasks. You can tackle the messages once your focus time is over. You can schedule a special 15-minute window every 2 hours to review all emails and messages. Being available at all times and responding quickly to all communications is the perfect recipe for always staying distracted.

If you find yourself procrastinating, don't despair as there are a few simple steps you can take to get back on track. Make a list of what needs to be done as breaking the tasks down into smaller pieces will make them seem more manageable, set realistic deadlines for each step as taking short breaks throughout the day will help you stay focused on the task at hand and make time for things you really want to do. By following these steps, you'll be able to overcome procrastination and get things done in time!

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