The hardest thing for a procrastinator to do is to do things on time. However, it is very possible to overcome procrastination and plan your day better. There are several tips that you can follow to stop procrastination. I want to share some tips to help you stop procrastinating and be productive!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever put off a task, only to complete the task late or not complete it at all. Is it just me? This generally happens when I underestimate the time and energy that it will take to complete a task. Some people associate procrastination with laziness, but that’s not always the case. People often put off tasks that they don’t like doing or ones that require lots of mental or physical effort.
Procrastination can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety and can compromise the quality of the work that you produce.
How to Overcome Procrastination
1. Plan Your Day
My first tip for avoiding procrastination is to plan your day. Planning your day does not have to be incredibly detailed, but it needs to be clear enough that you know what you have time to do and what you must turn down. You can plan your day in general terms on a chart that you print or use a planner to plan every hour of every day. I suggest that you test both methods to see what works best for you. When you are working on multiple deadlines and tasks, sometimes the more detailed you can be, the better you will be able to manage your time.
There is a world of planners available. Some planners are adjustable and have removable rings such as Tul, Happy Planner, Levenger, and Arc. These can be expanded or shrunk depending on your needs. Other planners such as Erin Condren, Franklin Covey, Day-Timer, and Bright Day will allow users to use a more professional-looking binder for planning. You can even design your own or use a digital planner. Whatever you choose, you need to make sure that it works for you and your family.
2. Be Honest About Your Priorities
Another tip to help procrastination is to be honest about your priorities. Take some time to focus and get to the nitty-gritty about what’s really important to you. When you’re faced with a task or project, think about how valuable it is to you so that you can be realistic about why or when you need to complete the task. Sometimes, when you’re clear about the importance of the task, you’re more willing to put forth the extra time and effort required to complete it.
This article in Psychology Today talks more about figuring out your priorities.
3. Overestimate Time Required
You never know when life will throw you a curveball. If you know that you can finish something in two hours, you should plan for at least three or four. This does not mean that you are wasting time, but it does mean that when your car won’t start, the printer goes down, or the network is compromised, you have less of a rush to complete the task. When you are operating at the last minute, these inconveniences become tragedies. Overestimating the time required to complete a task is a great way to avoid procrastination.
4. Begin the Processes Early
Begin the tasks you need to complete as early as possible. If you finish a two-hour task in an hour and a half, but you planned for three hours, begin your next task early if possible. If you cannot start the task due to a lack of resources until the designated time, you can begin research or menial tasks that we often skip because we dislike them. Fill your day with plans. You can even have a list of administrative or recurring tasks that you can begin when you have completed one thing but cannot start another.
5. Build Systems to Accomplish Your Goals
To avoid procrastination, identify what needs to be done. Then, create a system for completing those things. Systems help you execute your plan and make it easier to complete tasks and reach goals. By definition, a system is a set of rules that work toward a common goal. Systems are beneficial when you have tasks that you have to complete on a recurring basis.
This article on Further.net shares 7 smart systems that will help you combat procrastination.
6. List EVERYTHING
Make a list of even the most minor details. For instance, if you own a business, you might make a list of things like balance bank account, pay bills, contact vendors about sales, renegotiate credit card fees, and other tasks that can be done at various times but often get delayed until they are absolutely required. I promise that the power company does not mind if you pay your bill early.
7. Focus on Your Why
Paying attention to the why of a task can help you avoid putting the task off. When you reflect on the true purpose of the task, you’re less likely to delay starting it. Sometimes, looking at the big picture is what you need to settle down and get started on that task.How to Stay Productive by Cherith Fluker
8. Designate What You Can
For bill paying, many banks will handle this for you. Spend one day setting up the day and amount of the bills that need to be paid. For other tasks, you can assign people in your home or life to do them. Set up a chore chart in which each person does a different task. If there are some tasks that no one likes, plan a schedule for each person to take a turn. Feeling less overwhelmed will help you avoid avoidance. We often procrastinate because we do not like the task at hand. However, if you know that you only have to do dishes Tuesdays and Fridays, it is often easier to just do it.
9. Stop Making Excuses
It’s so easy to make excuses when you don’t want to complete a task. Don’t look for people or things to blame for not completing the things on your to-do list. To overcome procrastination, avoid excuses and get busy on the task(s) at hand.
10. Find An Accountability Partner
Simply put, an accountability partner is someone who keeps you in check! An accountability partner can help you honor your commitments and complete tasks you need to complete. If you have a huge task in front of you, it may be helpful to let your accountability partner know so that she can check in with you and help you keep you accountable for completing the task.
11. Reward Good Behavior
If you are someone who is motivated by rewards, it might be a good idea to reward good behavior. Giving yourself a small reward for completing a task might be the extra push you need to help you overcome procrastination and be more productive.
12. Don’t Aim to Be Perfect
Sometimes, we get in our own way by striving for perfection. Get rid of the expectation that everything has to be perfect. That alone will help decrease some of the stress and anxiety associated with completing a task. One of my favorite mottos is “progress over perfection”. As long as you are making good progress towards the goal, you’re on the right track.
13. Just Do It
Get the icky stuff out of the way first when it comes to getting tough tasks done. As I said before, we often avoid things we do not want to do. Go ahead and get them over with and move on to the other tasks. For example, a cluttered house will stay that way until someone cleans it, but it can increase anxiety and frustration. Just clean it up quickly. Even if you avoid the sweeping and mopping for a bit, decluttering can be relaxing in the end, even if you hate it while you do it.
14. Forgive Yourself
If you are someone who is notorious for procrastinating, forgive yourself and move forward. There is no need to dwell on the past. Here are some self-forgiveness techniques that you can try. To overcome procrastination, you must forgive yourself for your previous shortcomings so that you can focus on being as productive as you can be.
We procrastinate because it feels better than doing the task. Following the suggestions above will not change your behavior if you do not make an effort yourself, but they can certainly help someone who is committed to change. Plan your time carefully. You can minimize procrastination with a little creativity on your part.
Psychology Today, 11 Ways to Overcome Procrastination
Harvard Business Review, 5 Research-Based Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination
Time, Psychologists Explain Why You Procrastinate and How to Stop
Ok, I *love* the suggestion of overestimating the time needed to get a task done! I’m so guilty of underestimating the time I need (or maybe also overestimating the free time I have, lol). Such a simple tip, but I think it’ll make a bigggg difference in this procrastinator’s day. Thank you, Cheri!
Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m glad you found this post helpful!
Procrastination is one of life’s most crippling mindset. I totally agree, planning your day by documenting a daily to do list and stick to it. Great 📚.
Very crippling! Thanks for adding to this conversation!
I love the suggestion to begin the processes early. If you finish a task early, go ahead and start the next thing. I ABSOLUTELY need to do this! I am the worst about finishing something and thinking, “Oh, yay, I have some free time!” NOOOO. Thank you for this!
Thank you for reading! I’m glad you found this helpful!
Great content! Keep up the good work!