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Five Ways to Stop Procrastination

By Shannon Lee Miller • Published April 13, 2020 • 3 Min Read

If procrastination is a barrier for you to get the big and small things done in your life then, try out these tips to help fix it. When it comes to planning for your financial future, don't let procrastination hold you back.

Swear you’ll start it tomorrow? You may not be alone. 58% of Canadians are kept awake at night worrying about what would happen to their family’s finances if they weren’t around to provide for them, according to a 2018 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of RBC Insurance. And yet, only 4-in-10 say they planned ahead by getting life insurance.

Here are four things you may be thinking, and how to stop listening if a little voice is saying “You can put it off until later.”

“I’m too tired.”

When the daily grind slows to a halt and the kids are finally in bed, it can be hard to muster the energy to think strategically about tomorrow, let alone twenty years from now. Research released in 2017 by workflow management software company, Redbooth, indicates that nighttime may not be the right time to tackle a big project. Data collected over two years from the company’s hundreds of thousands of users, shows a surge in task completion between 9-11 am, a drop after lunch, and a significant decline after 4 pm. Make time to look at important issues.

“I’m overwhelmed.”

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If the big picture seems too big, try starting small. Breaking down difficult tasks into manageable sub-goals might be the difference between getting started and staying stuck. If you have a goal of losing 50 lbs, as an example, start off by planning out the first 10 lbs, then reset your goals once that milestone was met.

“I’m too distracted.”

Turns out, phones may be making it harder to concentrate on the task at hand. A 2017 study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, measured participants’ cognitive capacity when their smartphones were on their desks, in their bags or pockets, or in another room. Results showed that the greater the distance placed between a person and their phone, even when not in use, the higher levels of working memory and fluid intelligence they displayed.

“I find it boring.”

Organizing your finances or planning for the future doesn’t have to spark joy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a snore either. Upping the fun factor may make the process more enjoyable and leave you less prone to procrastination. If music’s your jam, crank it up! The right music may be a major motivator, producing power-related cognition and behaviors, including abstract thinking and making a first move according to a 2014 study by researchers at Northwestern University. If a little air makes you feel fresher, open a window or step outside. In 2017 researchers from Harvard, Syracuse University, and SUNY, found that increased ventilation resulted in better decision making, planning, preparation, and strategizing among workers.

“I don’t know where to start.”

Even when you can see the finish line, the starting line might not be totally clear, especially when it comes to something as important as planning for your family’s future. Start by making a small goal and work towards that first. Check out this article on how tiny changes can help transform your life.


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*Home and auto insurance products are distributed by RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. and underwritten by Aviva General Insurance Company. In Quebec, RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. Is registered as a damage insurance agency. As a result of government-run auto insurance plans, auto insurance is not available through RBC Insurance in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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