Struggle with procrastination? Try building simple habits

3 simple tips to improve self-discipline and combat procrastination

Procrastination is as common to humanity as is our love for breathing. Whether you’re a student, a working adult, or someone that wants to start learning how to meditate “soon”, procrastination is something that we have all faced before.

Certainly, with 20% of U.S adults reporting that they are chronic procrastinators, this is a serious warning sign. With great procrastinating comes lowered productivity, but the worst thing about it: procrastinating just makes us feel so bad about ourselves.

Image by David Guenther

How can we channel our self-discipline in a way that gets rid of — or at least reduces — the procrastination in our life? We have three simple yet effective tips:

1. Hold yourself accountable

One of the simplest tricks in the self-discipline book is the accountability trick. Going to start learning that new language? Tell someone about it. Want to start an exercise routine but afraid that it won’t be maintained for long? Write it out on a piece of paper and leave it somewhere visible in the house!

When we tell others about the actions we want to do, and the good habits that we hope to build, we become accountable and responsible for our actions.

The very foundation of self-discipline lies on doing what we say we will do. And if we couldn’t achieve it, we’d best have a good reason why. When we go down the path of self-improvement, we do things for our own sake and not for others. 

With these reminders set up, stay accountable for the actions and behaviours that we do. When our actions match our words, that’s how we know we’re on the right track of self-discipline.

2. Being honest with ourselves

Yes, maybe having that bag of potato chips instead of going for a run wasn’t the best idea. But, if we continue to berate ourselves for the mistakes that we’ve made, we wouldn’t get anywhere! 

Often, people think that being honest about our shortcomings and mistakes is a sign of weakness. In fact, to be able to stand up and admit responsibility is a sign of strength! We all have weaknesses and challenges that we face. Part of growth is accepting that they exist, and being truthful to ourselves in order to overcome them.

It’s not the end of the world if we make a mistake. Being honest and aware of that brings us back to the path of success.

See also: Why we must ‘fail’

3. The 5 minute challenge

A common technique to build self-discipline and get us to start work is the 5-minute challenge. Have a task that we really dread doing but it has to be done? Put 5 minutes on a timer to do it, strictly no more and no less, and keep away all distractions! 

Surprisingly, after we spend just 5 minutes on folding the clothes, or cleaning, we realize that it isn’t as bad as we thought. In fact, now that we have the momentum to start the task, it’s quite difficult to stop! 

Applying this simple 5 minute challenge is a great way to boost our productivity levels. And even if we decide not to continue with the task, we still managed to put in 5 minutes of work, and that ought to be congratulated.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few things on my to do list to catch up on…

Enjoyed this post? Leave a comment below if you’ve struggled with procrastination before, and share some tips on how you dealt with it!! You can also let us know on our Facebook page!

BlankSlate Counselling is here to help anyone experiencing mental health issues. We believe that with care and trusted support, we can build a thriving population that supports mental health in Singapore.

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