Get it Done: Avoiding Procrastination

Working on a project is difficult when you are at home. Whether you are preparing a presentation for work the next day, trying to write the next bestseller novel, or working from home as a freelancer, procrastination is the killer of productivity. Taken from personal experience, here are a few dos and don’ts to avoiding procrastination.

DON’Ts:

  • Don’t work lying down or on the bed. This is what inevitably happens:

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  • Don’t start reading that book you have wanted to read for the past few months. If you have poor will power, you won’t be able to stop until you finish the book.
  • Don’t start looking up funny YouTube videos. There are so many that after twenty, you’ll realize you just lost two hours.
  • Don’t decide it’s time to brush up on your French, Spanish, or German and pull out your old language books. Or, if you have never learned another language, now is not the time to start. Sounds eccentric but it happens.

Basically don’t listen to any “brilliant” ideas for activities that take you away from what you are working on, especially if it takes more than thirty minutes.

DOs:

  • Find the place in your home with the least amount of distractions to work. Sitting in front of a window can be distracting, especially if there is a weather event of historical proportions. For someone who recently moved to the east coast from a cold free environment, snow is quite the novelty and can be watched for hours.
  • Sometimes the hardest part of working on a project is the beginning. There is so much to do, where do you begin? The best thing is to get something on paper, even if it seems like a stupid idea. At least you have something to work with. Don’t listen to self-doubt.
  • Take regular breaks. Working on something for over four hours straight can drain your creativity. Get up every hour or so and stretch, get a drink, or take a quick run/walk around the neighborhood. Give your brain a rest. But don’t take too long of a break—ten to fifteen minutes is a safe bet or thirty minutes if you really need it. This does not include breaks for meals—those can be longer.

These tips may be self-explanatory but coming from a procrastinator, it’s always good to be reminded.

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