Procrastination and Five Ways to Overcome it

Procrastination is something that a lot of us seem to suffer from. We realise that when we put things off, it doesn’t help us and often it makes things worse because it adds stress to our lives, knowing this should spur us on to do things, but invariably it only makes us procrastinate more.

Outlined below are five steps that you can take which will help overcome procrastination and so get things done sooner and use your time more effectively.

1.  Identify why you put off your tasks

Do you delay doing the same task all the time, or do you procrastinate over everything? What is it about certain tasks that prevent you from doing them?

  • Are you concerned about failing?
  • Are you worried that you’ll fall short of others expectations?
  • Is just that you can’t be bothered?
  • Are you resentful because this was an obligation put on you by someone else?

2.  Make a plan

Make a step-by-step plan and set a specific schedule and timeline to help you complete the task. Make sure this plan is written down and not just stored in your head. It will help you to organise your thoughts and identify the small steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. Give yourself tasks or goals to achieve within timescales that suit your situation, these could be a daily, weekly or hourly.

When you break large tasks into smaller steps, you are less likely to be overwhelmed and suffer from procrastination.

3.  Be Realistic

When planning, it is important to be realistic about what we can achieve. Doing so makes each step easily achievable and so you’ll be less likely to put it off. Being realistic will also make your goals seem less of a mountain to climb.

4.  Just Make a Start

The main reason most people suffer from procrastination is simply because they find a task too overwhelming and so they put off starting the it. They then worry and stress during the lead up to its due date. Just make a start, although easy few people pay attention to this simple tip.

No matter how big or challenging a task may seem, even completing a small action will build momentum. Simply making a start will put the task into perspective and make it seem achievable.

5.  Take Breaks

Taking a break while working on a task refreshes both your body and mind. Go for a 10-minute walk, grab a coffee or work on a Sudoku puzzle, you’ll feel re-energized and be in a better frame of mind to carry on. However, breaks while refreshing, should not be used as an excuse to lapse back into procrastination.

If you suffer from procrastination follow these five steps, practice them frequently, and you’ll find yourself getting more done, more often.

Till Next Time

The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner

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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4 thoughts on “Procrastination and Five Ways to Overcome it

  1. Great article, especially #4. I find that if I just start, soon the project is either done, or I’ve made headway. I tend to procrastinate about big projects, building a sewing room, making a sitting area outside, etc. No, they won’t be done in an hour, or even a day, but once I start they are that much closer to being finished.

  2. Great post with some good and helpful strategies. I tend to procrastinate over things that I know may be a little bit hard and where there could be a potential for failure. These are some good strategies that could help this.