Are you looking for how to stop procrastinating? Do you often find yourself putting off tasks again and again? Do you find yourself struggling to get things done on time? Maybe you’re constantly pushing the deadline or asking for extensions or you have to pull all-nighters to get things done. If any of this sounds like you then the first thing you should know is you are not alone. The second thing is how to stop procrastination. Of course, you’ve probably tried a lot of things before, right? You’ve tried all different tips, tricks and techniques from anyone and everyone, but nothing seems to work. So, what do you try next?
Look At What It Means
If you seem to struggle with some of the smaller tasks or things that don’t seem as important to you try to look at what they’re going to mean in the grand scheme of things. Maybe you’ve been struggling to get that painting done, but if you finish it you could sell it and make more money toward that dream house. Maybe you’ve been struggling to finish the report at work but if you finish it you can show your boss how much you’ve increased profits over the last year and maybe get a raise. By looking at the ultimate goal and how this one little task will get you closer you could push yourself a little harder.
Talk it Over
If you’re not sure just how to organize the things that need to be done take some time to talk it over with someone else. They may be able to help you prioritize your to-do list and make sure that everything is getting done in time. Often it gets really difficult to figure out what you should be doing next or where you should be starting when it comes to different tasks. By talking to an objective third party you should be able to get a better handle on what’s most important or what has earlier deadlines and work from there.
Relax Your Perfectionism
For a lot of people, it’s terrifying to get started at something because you’re afraid that you’re not going to do well and people are going to see you fail. The key is to make sure you realize that even if you do fail it’s not going to change the way people feel about you. The people who matter are still going to love you and care about you, even if you do fail. By separating the feelings people have from you from the work that you’re accomplishing it can allow you to actually get started on the job rather than letting your fear take over.
Don’t Make it a Crime
Far too many of us tend to get angry and upset with ourselves for procrastinating. We struggle to push ourselves to get something done and we push to work through our desire to do something else and when we fail, we get upset. But if you get upset with yourself for procrastinating you’re not actually fixing the problem. Instead, relax and allow yourself to breathe. Once you’ve done that, accept that you’ve put the task off and just get started on it now. Don’t get angry or upset or punish yourself for not doing it earlier. All that’s going to do is cause you to procrastinate more.
Set a Limit
If you find it’s hard to dedicate yourself completely to a task just tell yourself that you’re going to spend a set amount of time on it. It doesn’t have to be long. Just 10-20 minutes is a good time to set. Then sit down and make yourself work for that amount of time. Tell yourself that’s all you need is 10 good minutes of work. Chances are you’re actually going to end up working on the task for longer than that 10 minutes because once you get started you will actually find that you’re absorbed in the task. If you notice the clock at some point after your 10 minutes take a short break and jump right back into another 10 minutes.
Create a Task List
You probably already have a to-do list, right? Well, now you’re going to take each of those tasks and break them down into smaller steps. Try to break them down into as small of steps as you can manage so that you get the thrill of crossing things off your list. Each time you complete one of your small steps (which might only take you a few minutes) you cross it off. That’s going to give you just a little bit of the adrenaline that you need in order to push through to the next task and the next. Before you know it, you’re going to have the whole task finished.
It can be difficult to motivate yourself, especially when you’re a procrastinator by nature, but giving yourself that pep talk can actually psych you into wanting to get the project done. Tell yourself that you’re going to accomplish your task. Think about the last time you accomplished a similar task and pay attention to how well you did that time around. You’re definitely going to be more motivated and you’re going to feel ready to take on this new task, which is definitely going to be half of the battle in the first place.
Create the Promise of Reward
Another good tip of how to stop procrastinating is creating the promise of reward. We all like to be rewarded for a job well done, right? So decide on some type of reward that you’re going to give to yourself when you finish this task. It doesn’t need to be anything big (unless the project is major). Being able to sit and read a book for a few minutes or an hour or having that dessert you really want could be the motivator. If you’re working on something major then maybe you want to go out and buy a treat for yourself as a reward for getting things done.
Put Your Phone Away
Your phone, your tablet and any other smart devices should be put away entirely so you can’t access them. Getting distracted by the things that are on that device, like social media and games, is all too easy. If you can’t get to those things you can’t be distracted by them. The same goes for your computer. Lock yourself out of social media and anything you don’t need to get the job done (if you don’t need to do online research shut off the internet entirely). Then you can focus better on the task at hand.
Clear Your Workspace
You are the only one who knows what kind of workspace you work best in. Maybe it’s at your kitchen table or at a coffee shop or on your couch. Wherever you find yourself the least distracted and the most productive is the place you should go when you feel like procrastinating. Sit down and pull out your computer and just get to work. Being in that place should help you, no matter what you’ve been feeling or how hard of a time you’ve been having with getting the work done.
Focus On One at a Time
It can be really easy to get distracted when you’re working on multiple projects at one time and it’s definitely hard to stay focused. So, instead, sit down and dedicate your time to only one task. You’ll be able to get more done and you won’t feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions. If you do find yourself with an idea for a different task just jot yourself a note and get back to the task you’re working on. Don’t try to jump back and forth. You’ll spend more time trying to get into the swing of things than anything else.
Find an Accountability Partner
It could be a coworker, a friend, a family member or a partner but have someone that’s going to check in on you periodically. Maybe you could be accountability partners for each other and make sure that each of you get the work done when it needs to be. Set a schedule that your accountability partner should check in with you and what you need to have done when they do. You’ll feel more drive to get it done because you know someone is going to know if you don’t finish the task.
Get the Worst Out of the Way
If you can get the worst task of your day out of the way right off the bat you’re going to feel a whole lot better about tackling the other tasks you need to finish. So go over your to-do list and figure out what the worst task is then put it at the top. That’s the thing you need to push yourself to do before you bother with the other things. Once it’s done you’re going to feel a whole lot better about taking on the next thing, and you don’t have to worry about that big, awful thing hanging over you all day.
Commit to Doing it Now
Next time a task comes up make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to do it immediately instead of letting it sit and pushing it off on your to-do list. If you can tackle tasks as soon as they come in you’re going to have them done faster. Plus, if you get in the habit of it, you’re not even going to think about putting the task off until later anymore. You’ll just get it done.
Be Sure of What You Want
If you’re procrastinating on a work project you may not have a whole lot of freedom to decide not to do it. But if you’re procrastinating on something for yourself you might want to reevaluate. Is that goal really important to you? Is that task something that you actually want to do? If it is then great, schedule some time to work on it. If it’s not then this might be the reason you’re procrastinating. Strike it off the list and find something else that you do actually want to do.
Set a Schedule
Schedule the time that you need to be working on specific tasks and then force yourself to stick to it. But make sure you schedule in some time for procrastination as well. It’s not exactly the same when you put it in the schedule, but you can feel like you’re free to do whatever it is you want to do during that time and then when that time is up you know to get down to work on your task. It lets you have some fun but still accomplish what needs to be done.
Just Get it Done
Instead of focusing on getting things done perfectly focus on just finishing the task. If you get too caught up in going over and over something you’re never going to be done. What you need to do instead is just focus on having a finished product that you can turn in. Done is going to be better than perfect every single time. So, when you do manage to get the project done don’t waste time going over and over it again and again. Instead, finish it off, check it once and send it away. That’s the end of it.
If you’re the type that struggles with procrastination and how to not procrastinate you are most definitely not alone. Everyone has their times when they just don’t want to do something that they know they should be doing. Everyone has moments when they have a hard time with a specific task. That’s okay, if you can find ways to push yourself through and keep moving on, but sometimes that takes a little help. Hopefully each of these tips is going to make it easier for you to get over your procrastination and start getting the job done when it needs to be done. Apply the techniques and make your own bible of how to stop procrastinating.