Working Smarter: 15 Ways to Beat Procrastination

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Procrastination has many causes; fear of failure, laziness, anxiety, over-scheduling, and dependence are common issues that lead to and exacerbate procrastination. Productive and successful people learn to target and overcome their issues and tendencies to procrastinate in a multitude of ways.

Here are 15 Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Stuff Done:

1 Know Yourself

Why do you procrastinate? Is it fear of failure or a sense of personal inadequacy? Do you have certain habits that lead to procrastination that need to be addressed? Ask yourself these questions and seek to understand what leads you to put things off. Address possible solutions and devise a plan out how to implement them.

2 Practice Effective Time Management

Plan out time estimates for completing everyday tasks and then compare the actual time needed to the estimate. Simplify your working patterns with effective planning to improve your quality of work and reduce stress. Make everyday tasks and chores an automatic process that you go through without needing to overthink it. One way to leverage your time is to create a Morning Routine. An excellent book on this topic is Early to Rise Editor Craig Ballantyne’s The Perfect Day Formula.”

3 Change Your Perspective

Recall what qualities attracted you to your work in the first place. How has your perspective changed from when you were new to the business? Change how you view your assignments and tasks. Break down intimidating tasks into more manageable portions that flow smoothly from one to the next.

4 Commit to Assignments

Make lists of those tasks you feel confident you can complete and make a point of crossing each off as you finish. Rebuild your faith in your abilities as you commit to making good on your promises.

5 Work in Productive Environments

Carefully choose where you work, and with whom, to avoid distractions. Sometimes going off-grid is the best way to hyper-focus on those tasks you commonly put off. An easy way to do this is to get an AirBNB for a day or a Breather Space for an hour or two, for uninterrupted work.

6 Be Realistic

Set reasonable targets and be patient. Change in our productive behaviors take time and effort, don’t expect to change overnight. Avoid self-sabotage from unrealistic expectations — these feed procrastination rather than defeating it.

7 Positive Self-Talk

Engage daily in positive self-talk. Don’t allow negative thoughts or feelings hamper your ability to finish a task. You are more likely to put off tasks you feel negatively about, so find positives in all your work and incorporate those feelings into your self-talk.

8 Un-Schedule Yourself

Develop a flexible schedule that includes only the most necessary tasks. Allow yourself free time to engage in more inspiring and motivational work. Don’t fill every moment of every day; it makes it easier to put off less desirable tasks when you inevitably run over schedule on another.

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9 Swallow The Frog

Take the most dreaded task of the day and do it first. Getting “the frog” out of your way keeps it from dangling over your head all day, hampering productivity and building negative feeling.

10 Don’t Indulge in Fantasies

Fantasizing about desired results don’t produce desired results, it delays them. Devise practical steps to achieve the result you want and then implement them. Viewing outcomes objectively improves working energy and productivity.

11 Plan for Obstacles

No task runs perfectly smooth, prepare yourself in advance and have strategies in place to return to productivity as soon as possible. If you know that certain obstacles or distractions are likely to pop up, prepare an effective defense.

12 Improve Learning Behaviors

Don’t let failures or bumps in the road deter you completely. Look at them objectively for lessons to be learned and move on. Assess your mistakes but don’t dwell on them.

13 Help Yourself

Do not wait on, or depend on, others to buoy you up. People who expect constant help from others procrastinate more. Productive people are self-sufficient and independent. Delegate responsibilities only to those you know will complete them on time and be an asset to the project rather than a hindrance.

14 Learn to Forgive

You are human, not a robot. Things will go wrong, and you will make mistakes. Adjust, correct and move on to the next project with determination. Keep in mind that others have the same human frailties and forgive them their mistakes as well.

15 Consistency is Key

Consistency is the key to overcoming procrastination — remember that every new day is a chance to start over and an opportunity to succeed. Analyze every day objectively and without negativity to make the next day better.

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” — Charles R. Swindoll, founder of Insight for Living.

How to Beat Procrastination

How to Turn Procrastination into Productivity

7 Steps to Build Habits of Steel and Beat Procrastination

The Art of Overcoming Procrastination

About the Author: Allen Brouwer is a serial entrepreneur with a passion on marketing, self-improvement, and positivity. Using his own experience to help others in accomplishing their goals and living a better life. Read more on his performance and productivity practices at BestSelf Co.

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