How many important things are you putting off until the new year? The holidays give us a great excuse to procrastinate, so this week, we’re looking at the science of why we procrastinate and sharing some tips that should help you stay on track.
Putting things off until later isn’t just a personality quirk - there’s a whole heap of science behind why we procrastinate. Perhaps it’s a refusal to leave your student mentality, or a psychological fear of failure. Or maybe, as this video suggests, it’s because you distort the value of rewards depending on how far away they seem to you. We’ve got the message loud and clear: we all need more rewards, and sooner!
We’d all like to think that a massive life change will sort out our procrastination for good - but it’s really more likely that a series of small lifestyle tweaks will be more effective. This list from LifeHack gives some great tips for avoiding procrastination, including breaking your work into bite size chunks, changing your environment and getting a work buddy.
It’s easy to get distracted by the web while at work. Maybe it’s that article on Gawker that someone emailed you, or that link to a news site you saw on twitter and just couldn’t avoid clicking on. That’s where “read it later” services like Instapaper and Pocket are so handy - it’s a simple app that lets you save web pages to read later when you have the time, or when you’re on the commute back home from the office.
Procrastination doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being unproductive - so long as you do it well. Instead of feeling depressed about your lack of willpower, you should embrace it; this blog post from the Wall St Journal explains how “structured” procrastinators are able to get things done effectively and gives some examples of how to use your talents to the best effect.
Do you have a sure-fire method of avoiding procrastination that you’d like to share? Hit us up on twitter or leave a comment and tell us about it.
And just to let you know, rather than procrastinating about what Christmas cards we should send this year, we’ve decided to donate our festive card budget to charity. So if you were disappointed not to receive a card from us, please be reassured that the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh is benefitting instead.