Do you procrastinate a lot? Welcome to the club. It's so easy to procrastinate because we all have a unique ability to fill as much time as we can to get an assignment done.
Procrastination isn't always bad. Sometimes, we procrastinate because we are unsure of the best approach to getting something done. Sometimes we procrastinate on something because we have more important things to tackle first.
However, procrastinating becomes really bad when we keep delaying working on that one really important thing. Sometimes you promise yourself that you are going to do it really soon. Then you end up feeling guilty when you never get around to it.
If you are in the midst of struggles with procrastination, you might have some bad habits that lead to procrastination. Whatever your causes of procrastination are, here are some proven and effective ways to stop procrastinating now.
How to stop procrastinating today
For my chronic procrastinators, these proven tips will help you become more productive and happy in your life. Use these tips to develop better career skills and avoid procrastination with ease.
1. Start removing distractions from your workspace
Let's face it, we are constantly surrounded by procrastination pitfalls. Whether it's Instagram or Twitter, we are constantly distracted from getting meaningful work done. These things give us a hard time when we need to stay focused. Sometimes we take a quick "five minutes" break to browse online and find that it's already an hour later and we are nowhere close to getting our task accomplished.
Remove anything in your workspace that might lead to procrastination. Create a space in which you are able to be productive. If you work better when you listen to music or white noise, listen to them to help yourself stay focused.
2. Set specific deadlines
We often procrastinate because we don't have a firm deadline. You might keep telling yourself that you'll do it tomorrow, only to find it has been over a month and you've still haven't gotten around to it yet.
You can overcome procrastination if you set deadlines. Remember, all deadlines are artificially imposed by people. If you are a person with the tendency to procrastinate, put reminders in your planner to help you stay on track.
3. Set specific, well-defined, and achievable milestones
Once you set the deadlines, accompany them with specific, well-defined and achievable goals to help you start taking action.
Successfully people often track their progress through their accomplishments through their goal-settings. They break up big goals into manageable chunks.
For example, if you plan to wash your clothes by 9 PM today, your milestones might look like:
Take the laundry basket to the washing machine.
Put the laundry into the washing machine, along with detergent.
Start washing the machine. Set a timer to return to move the clothes into the drier.
Move clothes into the drier. Set a timer to pick up the clothes.
Pick up the clothes, fold or hang them in the closet.
4. Use positive reinforcement
If you feel overwhelmed by a task, remove the negative emotions by attaching a system of reward and praise to accomplishing tasks.
If your goal is to finish your essay by Saturday, connect that to a positive reward that you can look forward to.
For example, if you complete the task by Friday, you can go out and watch movies with your friends. Now instead of feeling gloomy about writing your essay, you feel excited about going to the movies with your friends.
5. Tackle the most important things first
Tackling the most important thing first in your day helps set the day off to the right note. Because the most important things usually cause the most anxiety and fear, we tend to delay it in the future.
Once you tackle the most important tasks first, you no longer have that weighing on your mind. Create a morning route where you write down the most important tasks you need to do for the day, and proceed to get them done.
Please note that there is a distinction between the most important task versus the hardest task. Your most difficult tasks might not be among your most important tasks. Use this guide for goal setting to help you set the right goals.
6. Remove performance from self-worth
People who struggle with procrastination sometimes connect their self-worth to their performance. They procrastinate because they want to have perfection on the first go-around.
News flash: most people are going to suck on their first time on any new endeavor. It's just the way life works. Only with practice do you get better with anything.
It's more important to start than it is to do it perfectly. No one does anything perfectly. They only get better through a tremendous amount of focus in the right direction.
Remember, you are not defined by your performance. You are more than performance (or else we would be worshipping machines). Keep at it and you WILL get better.
7. Understand the long-term incentives
Incentives are important for stopping procrastination. We work hard because there is something incentivizing us on the other side of hard work. Along the lines of positive reinforcement, start connecting your action to positive long-term incentives.
For example, if you shoot high quality and engaging YouTube videos, you will attract people to come and watch them. If people come and watch them, you can monetize the channel through sponsorships and ads.
Understanding that you can have a lucrative career on the other side of hard work will keep you going when the going gets tough. Always understand what your end-game incentives are.
8. Be held accountable
If you want to stop procrastinating today, find people who are willing to hold you accountable. This is why celebrities hire personal trainers. They need accountability to be able to achieve their goals over a long period of time.
Now, you don't need to go and spend thousands of dollars to hire a personal trainer to be held accountable. But it is easier to do it when you are around people who are chasing the same goals as you.
Find those like-minded individuals and start a mastermind group to hold each other accountable. Don't be afraid to let feedback deter you from getting better. It's the only way we grow.
9. Be better than your best excuse
A lot of times, we procrastinate because we rationalize some reason that prevents us from getting the task accomplished. Your mind is your worst enemy in many circumstances.
If you are not meeting your goals, stop looking for the reasons "why you shouldn't do it" and stack up all the reasons why you need to do it today. Sometimes, we have a bunch of extra time but we just don't seem to make anything of it. Start setting yourself up for success by taking action today to tackle the most important things for yourself.
10. Partner with a mentor
We procrastinate a lot of times because we lack direction. We just don't know how to get something done.
When you are in this procrastination equation, find someone who has done what you want to do and ask for advice. They are usually able to help you get there within a fraction of the time.
If you are a student, find a professor who is willing to help guide you.
If you are stumped in an assignment at work, ask your boss to connect you to someone who has done that assignment before and is willing to help.
If you are stumped on how to start a business, find someone who has created successful businesses and ask for guidance.
There are usually a million excuses for why we procrastinate. However, excuses rarely ever help our lives get better. It just gives us an out for our failures. If you actively procrastinate today, use this article to help get more done and reclaim your productivity. Use today as your jumping board for turning your procrastination life around today. You are capable of so much more as long as you live your life without fear.