Everyone procrastinates sometimes. It is just part of being human, in a way. We all have things we put off until the last minute and sometimes let ourselves slip too far, causing stress. Chemical biology and medicinal chemistry professor Kevin Dalby, discusses seven ways to stop procrastinating.
1. Make a List
One of the easiest ways to make sure you get everything completed is to create a physical list. It does not matter whether you write it down or type it into your phone notes, having a physical reminder of what you need to get done is a great tool to help you create a course of events and begin tackling your goals.
2. Use The List
After making a list, use it! Make a plan from the things you wrote down to tackle everything in the most efficient way possible. This will allow you to flow through the tasks confidently and comfortably without wasting time stalling or getting hung up for too long.
3. Understand What Motivates You
Understanding what motivates you can make a massive difference in your ability to complete tasks. Some people are motivated by rewards or the satisfaction of having no backlog of pending activities. Others work best under pressure when there is a strict deadline. Regardless of what tasks need to be completed, you have to ensure that they align with your values (intrinsic motivation) or your goals (extrinsic motivation); otherwise, you won’t be excited to complete them.
If you are struggling to finish a task that involves collaboration with others, make sure that you communicate with them. Not only will this help them to stay on track and create a realistic timeline, but having an accountability partner will work in your favor to motivate you to get things done faster and more efficiently.
5. Break Larger Tasks Down
Sometimes, the reason why we procrastinate is that we are feeling overwhelmed. If you are given a task that seems impossible, it helps break it down into smaller sub-tasks and begin working on them one by one. These bite-sized pieces are easier to handle and will make the path to task completion much more comfortable than if you just dove in without a plan.
6. Stop Being a Perfectionist
Perfectionism and fear of failure are also common roadblocks when it comes to completing tasks. It is easy to get stuck in your head, replaying scenarios of what could go wrong, but remember that done is always better than perfect, unfinished work. You can still make adjustments, learn, and get better at what you do.
7. Consider How Free You Will Feel
Having a lot of unfinished work can make you feel like you weight the world on your shoulders—many people who procrastinate experience perpetuation anxiety and stress that can be paralyzing. So instead, focus on how great you will feel once you get through the more considerable backlog looming over you!
About Kevin Dalby
Dr. Kevin Dalby is a chemical biology professor and medicinal chemistry professor currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he examines the mechanisms of nature and cancer to develop new treatments and teach and motivate students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.