In this post:
7 Ways to Reduce Task Avoidance in Adults
1. Break your work into smaller tasks
2. Delete tasks from your to-do list
3. Commit to doing an average job
4. Work in short bursts of time
5. Use affirmations
6. Reward yourself
7. My special tip: Using a stop watch
Task Avoidance Tips
Task avoidance is a major problem faced by people all over the world. And it’s very common place too. Think about the last time you procrastinated or put something off. Sometimes your to-do list looks daunting or you feel like a task is too big or complex so you procrastinate. Task avoidance can be mild, for example, if you have two days to finish an assignment and you do it on the second day. But, it can also be a sign of something bigger: passive avoidance behavior, task avoidance behavior, and compulsive task avoidance. All of which can severely set you back in life.
In this article, let’s see how to reduce task avoidance in adults or teens.
The most effective method when it comes to task avoidance behavior is to break a huge task into smaller tasks. This reduces the task from something daunting into smaller pieces of work that can easily be tackled in a short time.
It helps to write down individual tasks so that you can feel less intimidated. Try to use actionable words: Instead of “do” and “work on”, be as specific as possible, for example, “write 100 words, read chapter 4, or, research topic ideas”.
When you add too many tasks to your to-do list, it can start to feel intimidating to even begin anything. If there are tasks that have stayed on your to-do list for too long without any work done, remove them so you can clear up space for things that you really need to do. This will make you feel less stressed out and more eager to start different tasks.
While the perfectionists cringe, allow me to explain further: Procrastination is sometimes caused by the need to be perfect. I hate to break it to you, but perfection is practically non-existent. For this reason, you should commit to doing an average job. An average job means you don’t have to hold yourself up to high standards. Basically, this is another way to say: Just start – you can work on perfecting everything later.
This is where you bust out your pomodoro timer and get to work. The pomodoro technique requires you to time yourself – work in bursts of 5-10 minutes. After that, you can take a break of 20 minutes. You probably use this method without knowing. However, you can only truly get the most out of this method if you use an actually pomodoro timer, or at least an app. Use your phone’s built-in clock to keep track of your short time-bursts.
Affirmations are like the best thing I learned in 2020. They helped a lot last year, but this year, I’ve dug deeper in the use of affirmations in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Affirmations are not just some woo-woo thing for teenage girls. They should actually be a part of anyone’s normal thought process. That can be hard to process when you have a bunch of negativity running around in your head all day. But I assure you, people actually look at a task and say, “I can do this!” Affirmations are a form of success expectation.
The reward system is very effective, whether in lab mice, pavlov dogs, or humans. When you promise to reward yourself for completing a task, you motivate your brain to get started on it. As we all know, everyone is chasing instant gratification these days. We want to get rewarded for our efforts immediately. Assigning a reward for completing a task will motivate you even more.
This is a tip I came up with when I was in college. Like most people, I like a challenge. So I thought, why don’t I see how long I can study for without any breaks? I turned on my stopwatch on the clock app, and started studying. Turns out, I can study for 40 minutes non-stop. That’s my personal record for studying. Nowadays, I use this technique for blocking time out so I can write without any distractions. I even installed a fancy stopwatch app so I could add some spice to my routine.
When you feel like you don’t want to do a particular task, it helps to really understand why you feel demotivated, as well as to understand exactly what the task requires. For example, sometimes we think a task is difficult until we start it. Or, maybe we just need to eat because we’re hungry. Clearly define the circumstances, and you can finally be on your way to beating task avoidance.
Additional Helpful Posts:
- 5 Mental Habits that Make Your Anxiety Worse
- Why Confidence is Important
- Healthy Ways to Cool off When you are Angry