Being a person with an intact, conventional value system, your level of confidence is directly proportional to your level of productivity. The more productive you are, the more effective you are at your dealings with life, career and interpersonal relationships, the more confident you feel. Inversely, if you are not productive, if you are less productive than your true potential, then your confidence takes a hit. On the path of productivity, there are avoidable and unavoidable hurdles. Procrastination is one of those avoidable hurdles.
Procrastination wasn’t used to be such a great problem when there were fewer distractions. If you work on a computer (who doesn’t these days?) in order to achieve one task, you have to sidestep 20 distractions. In order to get distracted these distractions don’t have to be irresistible. The moment you feel bored, the moment you feel stuck at your work, the moment you come across some difficulty, you immediately want to do something achievable, something easier, something less formidable, and hence, procrastination crops up.
Procrastination means postponing tedious, boring, but unavoidable work. For instance, you’re working on a project but it’s going to be real hard work and you aren’t exactly crazy about the whole thing. But the project is necessary because it will get you good money. Now that you have taken up the work, turning it down will not only cause you financial harm, it will also dent your professional reputation. You’re completely aware of this. Still, you keep on indulging in things that are totally unrelated to this project. Maybe you’re repeatedly checking Facebook updates. Maybe you are suddenly becoming aware of the lopsided political opinion around you and you are voicing your rage on Twitter. Whatever, you are doing everything but your work. Since you know how crucial the work is and still you’re not doing it and you also know that you’re getting distracted, this fact begins to hit your confidence. If you can avoid procrastination, you can complete your project, and if you complete your project, your confidence gets a boost. How can you achieve that? You can do the following:
- Create a barrier between you and distractions: Procrastination is normally caused by easily available distractions. Can you turn off the Internet and then work on your project? Can you block certain websites until you’re done with your project? Do you have a separate computer or laptop that has the bare minimums just enough to work on your project but not enough to watch YouTube videos and other such stuff? There are various browser plug-ins available that, once activated, stop you from visiting wasteful websites. You keep on getting disturbed by instant messaging apps, turn them off. If your phone distracts you, switch off your phone or keep it in another room. You will have to come up with your own ways of creating strong barriers between you and your distractions.
- Have a clearly defined roadmap: When we don’t have a direction it is difficult to start work. Instead of focusing on the entire project, divide it into various tasks, and then schedule those tasks. Assign a timeframe to those tasks and then stick to that timeframe. Use a calendar application or a to-do application in order to track different aspects of the project.
- Communicate about your goals and tasks to everybody around you: When you are constantly distracted even people around you get used to it. They don’t realise that it’s counter-productive to just barge into your room and disturb you. No matter how much they love you, need you, and care for you, there’s a certain part of the day when you have to give your 100% to your work. Also, let it be known to them how many tasks you need to complete in a particular day because when you have shared your schedule with others, it is difficult to go awry. In isolation it is easier to procrastinate, but when there are people who are going to hold you accountable (directly or psychologically), you will take your work more seriously.
- Reward yourself after completing individual tasks: Even if you love visiting Facebook and Twitter again and again, do them after completing your tasks. Make a commitment to yourself (and if possible also let it be known to others) that you will visit social networking websites only after completing your tasks.
If you can get rid of procrastination and achieve a high level of productivity, your confidence will automatically increase.