Whether it be due to anxiety, having to do school work you really don’t care about or just being tired, I can guarantee that every single person in the world procrastinates, loses motivation and puts things off.
And I say this as someone who prides herself on her organisation, colour coordinated lists and post it notes, but that doesn’t mean I’m productive and on task 100% of the time. I love to think I give the illusion of having my life together but I really don’t think that’s the case!
So I thought I would put together some of my tips for how I tackle the worst bouts of procrastination, because I’ll be brutally honest – these past couple of weeks I’ve really struggled to motivate myself to do anything and I’m motivating myself to push through it as much as motivating anyone else!
1 – pick one thing that will help you with a routine and force yourself to do it, even if you don’t want to
I know this sounds like the worst tip if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, but I promise just picking one thing and making sure you do that is like rebooting your brain and reminding yourself you are in control and you can push through it! For me, when my anxiety hits and I start to feel low, it’s things like brushing my teeth than I just can’t bring myself to do. I know it sounds gross and there’s a deeper psychological reason for it but if I can push through and make myself do it, it makes other tasks on my to do list feel more achievable.
2 – focus on one task at a time
Sometimes a whole list can be incredibly overwhelming, but picking one task and working on that, and then the next task can be so much more approachable than seeing a whole list of however many things.
It can just be a case of going ‘right! I’m going to work on this task for this amount of time’ – for me, I volunteer on reception at a dance school and if I’m struggle to get on with things, I’ll set myself the task of working on one thing until the next dance class finishes. Then if I get that task done, great! If I don’t, I’ve made a start. Breaking it down works really well for me.
3 – try a change of scenery
It can be so easy to convince yourself that you can work from the sofa, or your bed, or whilst your boyfriend is playing video games in the same room (this one might be a bit niche) but sometimes that doesn’t work – whether it’s moving to a desk, a different room at home or going to a local cafe or something, a change of environment can really make the difference in altering your mindset to be more productive.
If going to a cafe isn’t financially viable and moving around at home isn’t working, I recommend either having a tidy up or switch around at home if you can! See if you can move things around, maybe move your desk closer to the window or Marie Kondo your stuff so it all feels a bit less cluttered. There are lots of ways you can change up your space without having to spend lots of money.
4 – give yourself some breathing space
I’m not saying give up, but give yourself half an hour to breathe – watch a YouTube video (but only one or two, put a deadline on it), play a few rounds of Candy Crush or something or make a new adapted to do list to help refocus your mind.
I remember at school always being told to do 20 minutes work and have a 10 minute break and the same applies outside of doing homework and revising for exams – forcing yourself to work when your mind is tense and frustrated is never going to work so take a step away, recentre, take the pressure off and then step back into it.
5 – make a new to do list!
My personal favourite – even if it means having the same things written out basically three or four times in different places, being able to adapt or switch up your to do list to help your own productivity is always a good idea!
If I’m feeling particularly frustrated, I will start my to do list again and only write out the tasks I think are genuinely achievable and I might even write out some things I’ve already done that day so I can lull myself into a false sense of productivity – because there’s nothing like a half ticked off to do list to motivate you to do the other half!
Obviously, take all of these tips with a pinch of salt – it’s so personal for everyone that it will take a lot of determination and hard work to find what works for you. I tried so many different revision techniques when I was doing exams at school, then I had to adapt that to finish assignments at uni and find other new ways to be productive now that I’m working. It’s constantly changing and evolving, so if there’s anything you do that isn’t on this list please do leave it in the comments so I can try them too!
Thank you so much for reading,