Stop putting things off!
Tips and strategies to end procrastination.
How to End Procrastination
What are you waiting for?
Is there something else you’re supposed to be doing right now? Are you reading this because an hour ago you told yourself you were only going online for 5 minutes, and here you are after checking your FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linked In accounts? Stop procrastinating already!
Don’t get us wrong we’re super glad you’re here, but be honest with yourself…would you reach your full potential in life if you could just stop procrastination? Some studies suggest that 20% of the total working-adult population admit to dilly-dallying regularly. We think the number is higher.
Why do people wait until the last minute to get things done?
We all do it sometimes. Sometimes it’s just a dreaded task, others we underestimate how long it will take. We’re not talking about the occasional hesitation here, were talking to those who habitually: wait ‘till mid-April to think about taxes; are always late paying their bills; renew their driver’s license after it expires; prepare for a job interview the morning of; or start projects on the eve of the deadline….you know who they are. If this is you read on and learn how to stop procrastination and move forward with your to-do list.
Understand emotional cues to stop procrastination
When you want to end procrastination, it makes sense to understand what is really causing it. Typically, procrastination is not about time-management skills but is more about emotional blockages. Here are the biggest culprits. Surprisingly, perfectionism, fear, and poorly defined goals are at the root of most of them (Lieberman, 2019).
- Often, not knowing what to do means nothing gets done.
- Or, there’s not knowing how to do something and being unable or unwilling to ask for help.
- Another big one is not wanting to do something but feeling guilted or shamed into it.
- Believing inspiration, motivation, or any particular feeling is a requirement to begin.
- Playing the role of a victim; believing others are responsible for our wholeness/happiness.
- Analysis paralysis (overthinking something so much one cannot decide on a strategy).
Knowing that putting things off to the last minute isn’t a good thing will never be enough to end procrastination forever. At least, not for most serial procrastinators. The sad part is, most people have no idea that they the reason they are unhappy is because they can’t stop procrastination.
Resisting the discomfort of something we don’t want to do only brings temporary relief and almost always increases feelings of stress, frustration, and discontent later.
How to stop procrastination
Here are 11 practical suggestions to end procrastination NOW!
If you are a procrastinator, chances are you’ve tried to overcome or improve it yourself. You’ve made resolutions to change, lists of things to do, or bullied yourself into completing tasks you loathe. Maybe you had some success, but if you’re looking to up your game and take productivity and time management to the next level, we have a fresh approach combined with time-tested strategies to give a try.
Not all will work for you, so just pick the ones that do and DO THEM.
Be honest with yourself:
If you want to know how to stop procrastination, you must understand that procrastinators are expert negotiators. In other words, when it comes to making excuses not to do something, they are professionals. (If only you used those same skills for something productive-😊!) So, stop making excuses or blaming people, places, or things not to get it done. When you catch yourself doing that, stop and ask yourself if you are being honest or feeding yourself some excuse, probably 90% of the time.
Stay in the NOW:
Sometimes we look at the big picture and get so overwhelmed that we can’t move. Instead of focusing on the whole project, look at what you can get done in 10 minutes? Later today, tomorrow, next week and next year, do not exist yet. Remember, giving the future your focus and energy costs you the one thing that does exist, and that is the present moment.
Don’t wait for things to get better because chances are, they won’t:
If the now sucks, and you don’t do anything about it, tomorrow will suck too. Nothing changes until something changes. Anytime we think “things will be ok when…. (fill in the blank) or “I’ll be ok when…” we are giving our happiness and self-worth. You are ok right now! Act now, and tomorrow has a chance of being what you wish today was.
Lose the “all or nothing” attitude:
That’s right, stop being a perfectionist. Most perfectionists are trying to meet unrealistic standards. The bar is so high it’s either impossible to reach, or if it is possible, it cannot be maintained. Seriously, it’s often better to just start and make a few mistakes than to get paralyzed with waiting for everything to be perfect from go. There are exceptions to everything, but most of the time things aren’t going to turn out exactly as you planned anyway, so why wait? Fear is usually the culprit with “all or nothing” minded people. Ironically, as many people fear success (and the responsibilities it entails) as much as failure.
If you’re putting off something you want to do because you keep getting distracted by other people, evaluate the consequences of telling others no. Many procrastinators are too concerned with what others think or want them to do and end up putting others’ happiness before their own. They want to write a book but give up writing time to go out for drinks with the girls so that they don’t disappoint, or don’t take an enrichment class because it will annoy their spouse. Instead of giving your time and dreams away, learn healthy ways to say no and hold on to your boundaries.
We can’t stress enough the importance of setting goals. However, not just any old goal will nip procrastination; they must be realistic and achievable. Setting clearly defined, specific and measurable goals will give you a rational framework to utilize when you’ve successfully overcome the limiting beliefs and blockages that impede productivity.
Stop telling yourself you are lazy:
Procrastination is often confused with laziness, but they are very different. Procrastination an active choice to not act, or ignore a task that is important in favor of something more enjoyable. Laziness is an unwillingness to act. What we continuously tell ourselves is what we believe about ourselves. Both are negative messages that will leave you feeling ashamed, but telling yourself you are lazy is part of the lie that perpetuates procrastination. Not the other way around.
Make problems fun, and you’ll boost motivation:
Unpleasant Tasks are mostly that way because of the meaning we attach to them. Instead of telling yourself you “have to” get something done, turn it around by telling yourself you “get to” do it. You don’t “have to” got to the gym (because something bad will happen if you don’t) but you “get to” go (because something good, like being capable, is going on). You don’t “have to” go to work and be miserable, you get to go to work so that you can support yourself and your family. Using this model to gain a sense of gratitude works for almost anything.
You must do it by yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone:
You can’t end procrastination forever overnight. If you’re serious about improving your productivity and putting a stop to procrastination, it’s going to take honesty, time and effort. Get an accountability partner that you trust and can help you. Someone who will support you respectfully yet is honest enough with you to call you out on flimsy excuses. Breaking the isolation of having to be your own motivator, cheerleader, and progress manager will boost your energy and set you up for success.
Lastly, just STOP procrastinating:
The more time you spend analyzing your behavior, your childhood, your personality, or any other reason why you are unwilling to act, you are simply perpetuating the vicious cycle of wasting time and putting off doing something useful. Don’t wait for motivation to wash over you to do something, get busy and the motivation will follow.