“I don’t procrastinate; I delegate things to my future self”
Since the lockdown, whether you’re working from home or not working at all, many of us are lacking motivation and feel tired and fatigued from doing barely anything. Our brains like to associate certain spaces with certain activities, but with us working, educating our children, exercising, sleeping and eating all in the same place, the lines have become blurred. Being confined to the four walls of our homes has created a breading ground for procrastination.
Procrastination has, of course, been around long before the time of social distancing and remote working. But let’s face it, most of us like to put things off to the last minute – sufficiently enough to produce a stress response which can negatively impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
We’re certainly not judging – we understand many facets of human behaviour and lockdown has certainly had us procrastinating at times. In fact, this blog was delayed while Yours Truly watched a Ted Talk – on procrastination nonetheless! (NB. For a funny and insightful take on this topic, see: – but not if you’re really supposed to be doing something else right now…)
If we look on the positive side, lockdown could be an excellent chance to master new ways of managing our time and efficiency. As a wellbeing provider, here are our top methods to help you stop procrastinating and reach your maximum potential:
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique breaks your task down into 25 minute slots, with a 3-5 minute break in-between. This technique is certainly worth a try, whether you’re currently able to go into the office or you’re remote working. With dedicated time focussing on one task, you’re giving yourself a chance to apply all your attention to it for 25 minutes. It actually isn’t important whether you finish the task or not; this is ultimately a way of managing distractions (internal or external) and learning how to navigate them in order to achieve maximum productivity. This works with your brain’s natural desire for a break every so often, giving a sense of urgency and deadline, whilst reducing the need to procrastinate.
Here’s how it works:
1. Make a to-do list and decide which tasks you’re going to do and in which order
2. Set a 25 minute timer
3. Focus on your work for 25 minutes
4. Stop working when the timer rings and take a 3-5 minute break (ideally you’ll physically step away from your work)
5. Repeat 4 times (if you want to keep track you can draw a circle on your to-do list every 25 minutes and when you have 4 circles stop again)
6. This time take a longer break for 15-30 minutes
7. Repeat all over again
To read more about the Pomodoro Technique, you can buy the book here.
Learn How to Manage Your Time
A lot of procrastination arises from the internal arguments we have with ourselves, ‘mind chatter’ about deadlines, stress levels and other things we’d rather/feel like we should be doing. In Time Surfing, Zen monk Paul Loomans provides a seven-step approach to trusting your gut and intuition rather than your mind when it comes to time management. Ultimately, this helps to instil a sense of peace into your daily life. As procrastination and stress can be a vicious cycle, this book provides a comprehensive way of returning to a more tranquil way of getting tasks done, without the need to put things off until the last minute.
Buy the book here.
We’re not denying it – lockdown can be boring! With areas of your home and personal lives overlapping, suddenly it becomes more exciting to get the laundry done than preparing for your next meeting.
That’s why we recommend injecting a bit of fun into your daily tasks. No-one said compiling a report or writing that essay had to be dull! You could prepare a favourite snack to eat while you work, put your favourite music on, or use either of the techniques described earlier to dedicate a certain focused amount of time to a task, then have a reward. If you can convince yourself that a task is not actually as mundane as you thought, you’ll have much less need to procrastinate.
Let us know how you get on and if you have any tips you think we should add that stop you procrastinating! While you’re here, why not check out our previous blog on how to improve your sleep during lockdown or books to read to improve your mental wellbeing?
At krysallis, we don’t just provide therapy for addiction and mental illness but we also provide life coaching and hypnotherapy. If you’re really struggling to focus on important tasks, get in touch and we can help you look further into what is stopping you from reaching your full potential.