7 ways to overcome Procrastination once and for all

Kick the annoying tendency to put things off

At times we all find it difficult to overcome procrastination and do things we don’t want to do. Even when we know that waiting will create a lot of challenges, getting started can still seem impossible. Unfortunately, unless we learn to overcome procrastination it will start to affect your job-related tasks, and have a negative impact on your professional career. Is procrastination a serious challenge in your life?

Lets look at how we can overcome this annoying tendency to put things off, and start getting things done instead?

Overcome Procrastination with these strategies:

  1. Schedule when you’re going to do it. Make an appointment in your calendar for the day and time you’re going to work on the task. This is far more effective than just leaving everything up in the air until the right moment seems to present itself.
  2. Consider scheduling just enough time to get started. A long, unpleasant task can be very difficult to start. Think, “I’m going to work on this for 20 minutes.” That’s easy enough that you should be able to sit down and get busy. Interestingly, once you start the task that you’ve been putting off, you’ll very often find that you’ll spend  more than 20 minutes on it. Getting starting is the tough part. Make starting the task as easy as possible.
  3. Break the task into smaller parts. Larger tasks can seem overwhelming. By dividing the task into manageable parts, it will be psychologically easier to tackle the project. It’s easier to do 10 small things than one big thing.
  • For example, once you’ve done five small things, you know that you’ve completed five things, instead of just starting on the one big thing without deriving any sense of accomplishment. So break that task down into smaller bites.
  1. Which part is the most dreaded part? Frequently, there is a small part of the task that is really holding you back. Is it possible to get someone else to take care of that part of the task for you? Can you outsource it? Many times, if someone else handles the part you dread, everything else will fall into place.
  2. Pick the best time to do it. We all have times of the day that we’re better at certain tasks. We have times when we’re better at concentrating, others when we’re more creative, and other times when we have more energy. What’s the proper time for you to tackle the task? Do you need quiet and privacy? Do you need access to certain people?
  3. Get what you need to complete it. Make a list of the tools, supplies, and resources that you’ll need to both begin and complete the task. It’s hard to get started when you know you can’t get finished.
  4. Reward yourself! Give yourself a reward for completing the task. You’ve earned it! It doesn’t have to be anything big, but we all like a little treat now and then. A little additional motivation never hurt anyone.

Imagine how much better your life would be if you could kick the procrastination habit out the door. Unfinished tasks have a profound effect on your sense of well-being and peace of mind. Living with the stress that procrastination can cause isn’t necessary. Start using the tips above and overcome procrastination. You’ll be so glad you did!

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Till Next time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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22 thoughts on “7 ways to overcome Procrastination once and for all

  1. Hey Mike,
    These are great tips. I struggled with procrastination all throughout school and it was one of the most difficult things to overcome. I still have some tendencies nowadays, though they aren’t nearly as bad.

  2. Decluttering my office by breaking the task into smaller ones! Excited to get back and finish, but glad for the break! It’s not procrastination when you’re thousands of miles away, right?

  3. When it comes to bloggy things I tend to procrastinate, thank you for these tips. I know I need to get past it and just do a lot of things, I just get so side tracked. I know I need to work on using tip 4 I am afraid to hand over anything to anyone else they may not do it the way I do. I know in reality as long as it gets done its fine.
    Tamara W recently posted…3 Tips Protect Your Child from Sun DamageMy Profile

    • Hi Tamara, think about it in terms of cost of time Vs value of time, by the time you’ve thought about it, put it off, and thought about it again, someone else could of done the task and you could’ve been doing something you really enjoy

  4. Needed to practice my handwriting, and have been putting it off, so I wrote out your tips. THANKS!
    Bonus, now I always know where to find them.

    • Thanks Bibi, rewards are the things that keep us going and it can be as small as allowing ourselves to have a break when we have done a certain amount of time on the task

  5. I picked one item to focus on, that would be #5. It makes so much sense to use the time where you can be so much more successful. Thanks for an easy to read post!

    • Thanks barb, so many people fail to take their energy cycles into account and then wonder why they’re unable to think strategically about their businesses

  6. Procrastination the one issue that I do believe all of my friends in business and indeed life have an issue with. From my son doing his homework to myself and my accounts. There is always something that is a shinier option something that is a more attractive task to be carried out rather than the job in hand. Who knew I would prefer to sort out my childrens pencils rather than send that looming email or deal with the invoice.
    But some great tips and sound advise as always.
    Now where is that frog and my knife and fork….

    • Thanks Elaine, we don’t always need to eat the frog first, but we do need to have strategies to get rid of him at sometime, and it doesn’t always have to be by eating him, some frogs disappear of their own accord if we frighten them enough

  7. I admit! I am guilty. No matter what I am doing, it is stronger than me. Maybe I should start study the phenomenon.
    Good article, Doc! very useful to me.