Hey you! Yes, you. Stop reading IDEAL magazine and hop to it; there’s work to be done. OK, maybe first finish this article. View it as an investment.
Everyone is guilty of procrastinating – even as we type this, we’re perusing Buzzfeed lists and cute animal videos – but some of us (yep, us) are far worse than others. According to Google trend data, the search term ”procrastinating at work” has received a 5.400% rise in the last month alone and as the warmer months draw near, procrastinating at work is somewhat inevitable.
When it comes to working from home, procrastinating is all too easy. There’s last night’s dishes to be washed, the laundry to hang up, and what was that? The mail just came.
With the help of Tayo Ademolu from Translayte, here are 5 ways to avoid procrastination and the science behind how they work.
Utilise Your Hour Of Power
Chronoception is a field that refers to a person’s perception of time. In other words, how a person perceives the duration of unfolding events.
Chemicals in the brain play an instrumental role in our perception of time. The pace of the time is dictated by what chemicals are in our blood stream. Dopamine, often referred to as a happy hormone, is a neurotransmitter that’s an important part of your brains reward system.
When pumped to the brain, Dopamine, makes person feel awake and motivated. The body’s levels of Dopamine are at their highest in the morning, ensuring that a persons first waking hour is when they are likely to feel motivated and able to set clear goals for the day.
“In your first waking hour, or closest to, plan the day ahead” says Tayo. “In this hour, complete the tasks that are least enjoyable to you or you are most likely to dread in the day. Completing these tasks in your hour of power will ensure that they are finished efficiently and in a timely manner. It will also improve the overall mood of your day as you can move on to tasks that are more enjoyable to you.”
No Clear Objective
Recent studies reveal that the act of goal setting boosts a person’s effort and productivity whilst a lack of goals decreases motivation
“Working without goals creates ‘grey areas’, throughout the day where a person is unaware of precisely how long they have spent on a task or what they have and haven’t completed”, says Tayo. “In your hour of power, draft clear goals for the day. These can be as minor as sending an email you have been putting off to completing large tasks such as presentations or reporting’’.
Short Break Science
In the UK, a typical person holds an attention span that lasts 14 minutes and in meetings experience ‘zone out’, after just 13 minutes. Taking microbreaks throughout the day, then, can help improve cognitive function, reduces stress and brain fog.
“A microbreak should be taken away from screens,” says Tayo. “Screen time stimulates the brain and throughout a break your aim is to ease the mind. Making a tea, doing some light stretches or even looking out of the window for 5 minutes is the perfect microbreak”.
When we feel overwhelmed, the brain switches from its ‘memory mode’ to ‘survival mode’. As a result, an overwhelming workload may cause bouts of confusion, forgetfulness, brain fog and anxiety. Switching from memory mode is the reason why we often cannot remember the details of a stressful day or stressful events that have happened to us.
According to Tayo, experiencing an overwhelming workload may lead to procrastination however, tacking this is simple. “Break tasks up into small projects, so small that even the likes of sending an email is included. Place these tasks into the order that they must be completed and tick them off one by one as you complete them. The idea is that the list serves as a type of worksheet that you can complete as you go.”
Goal Oriented Reward
Planning goal orientated rewards throughout the day is a great way to increase productivity throughout the day. Whether its going for a walk, having a snack, lunch or spending time in the fresh air, setting goals, and then rewarding yourself when they are completed is a great way to stay in track and avoid procrastination.
Now, where was I?