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Self-Improvement Challenge: Reduce Procrastination

Throughout 2024 I will post a different challenge, to help you implement some strategies to make your life easier. Self-improvement and management of mental health symptoms takes deliberate, intentional and repeated practice. These challenges will provide you with some goals and hopefully, some motivation to improve your life in simple ways.

Our last self improvement challenge focused primarily on exploring what motivates you and de-motivates you to get things done. This month we will take it a step further to reduce procrastination by focusing on implementing specific strategies based off the information you gathered throughout the last challenge . Each week try some of these different challenges and see what strategies work best for you!

Procrastination Reduction Challenges:

schedule your time

Schedule Your Time!

Start with setting up your schedule for June and include time to work on any big or unfinished projects you are procrastinating on. Once you have it in your schedule, try to think of any barriers that may come up that would get in the way of you achieving the goal at that time. Make a plan for any that arise.

If you do not do the said thing at the scheduled date/time: Re-schedule it and write down what the barrier was that got in the way of doing it at the said date/time. Make a plan for the barrier that you didn’t anticipate the first time you scheduled it. Rinse and repeat.

Reward systems can be very motivating

Implement a Reward System

Using the information you gathered in the previous months on what motivates you, find a task on your list that could benefit from the implementation of a reward system. A reward system should use a reward you are motivated by. If you are motivated by food, try using a small snack as your reward. If you are motivated by money: having a money jar where you can see the coins building up (or marbles to represent coins if you don’t have change laying around), can be a good reward. Having something visual is essential so you can keep your eye literally on the prize. If your reward is something that is not immediately visual like video game time or a trip or material items, put a visual representation of that thing in your workspace to keep you focused on it.

Make Something More Fun

make it fun by playing games or blowing bubbles while doing it

Are there tasks you are procrastinating on because they are not fun or interesting? Tasks that are repetitive or boring are a challenge to make motivating to do. For example cleaning the dishes is not particularly fun or interesting, so we can make it fun (or at least tolerable) by focusing on our motivators. If you are someone who is motivated by competition you could make it more interesting by making dishes competitive: who can do them the fastest or most efficiently? Make it more challenging by trying to do tasks with your non-dominant hand or by doing more than one thing at the same time. Can you gamify the task and turn it into something exciting? Play “I spy” at the same time, blow bubbles, etc. 

Make sure you have the right tools for the job

Take Care of Your Environment

Environmental changes can make a big difference in our motivation levels. In April did you find you were procrastinating on anything because the environment wasn’t right or you didn’t have the right tools for the job? We often don’t notice things in our environment that deter us from getting things done until we actively look for them. For example, if your treadmill is covered in a bunch of junk that you have to move before you use it: it might literally be getting in the way of your fitness goals. Having the right tools for the job and the right set up is important. For example, I really hate touching slimy or wet things, so if I do not have gloves available when I do dishes I am much less likely to do them. Are there any tools that you need? Is your workspace set up the way you like it? This month try to find one task that needs an environmental change: either moving things around so they are more useable or getting the right tools for the job.  

Break it Down

Sometimes people procrastinate because the task is too big or too challenging. For this month try reducing your procrastination on those big tasks by breaking it down into smaller, simpler steps. You do not have to do the whole thing at once!

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