Overcoming procrastination
Personal Development,  Productivity

Overcome Procrastination: Get Things Done

Procrastination is a thief of time and dreams. It is a trap that many of us fall into. Take it from a procrastinator. I put things off, a lot. To overcome procrastination you must stop making excuses. Even this blog post could have been posted much earlier.

Be intentional about each day in your life. Take your goals seriously and note things down. I have a good memory, but I forget things sometimes. That’s the thing with putting things off at times, we think we won’t forget then we do and then oh well…I forgot.

I could go on and on. In truth everyone procrastinates at times: ‘not yet ready’, ‘let me get it just right’, ‘there’s still plenty of time’ (until there’s none left), and so the excuses go.

As with many self-sabotaging behaviours, the first step in overcoming procrastinating is to recognize that you’re doing it. Secondly, acknowledge that it is a problem and make a conscious intentional decision to tackle it HEAD ON! It can lead to reduced productivity and cause us to miss out on achieving our goals.

In this post, I share some helpful tips to overcome procrastination and prioritize your workload and tasks.

Do some or all the things below resonate? If yes, then you are a procrastinator:

  • Your day is filled with unimportant tasks.
  • You leave important items on your To-Do list undone until the last minute.
  • Read emails several times over without deciding what to do with them.
  • Spend more time on tasks that other people ask you to do, instead of getting on with the important tasks you need to get done.
  • You are just not in a “right mood,” or it is not the “right time” to tackle a task.

You’re working tirelessly to complete a task before a deadline while beating yourself up for not starting it sooner. How did it get to this you may ask?

Well, there were the hours that you spent reading emails and updating your social media statuses, the excessive “planning” and the time spent on other tasks that you could have left for another time.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone!

Find Out WHY You’re Procrastinating

Once you have recognized a tendency to procrastinate, you need to figure out why and how to overcome it. You need to understand the reasons why you are procrastinating before you can address them. Are you afraid of failing? (Or maybe you’re actually afraid of success!)

  • For instance, if you delay doing a task because you find it boring or unpleasant, start with it first. That way it’s out of the way quicker.
  • Poor or lack of organization can lead to procrastination.
  • Even if you’re organized, you may have doubts about your ability and are worried about failing. So, you put it off and do work that you know you’re capable of completing.
  • Some people fear success and failure. They think that success will leave them swamped with more tasks to take on.
  • Interesting enough, perfectionists are often procrastinators. Often, they’d rather not do a task than risk not perfecting it.
  • Indecision is another major cause of procrastination. If you can’t decide what to do, you’ll likely put off acting in case you do the wrong thing.

The big question once you’ve acknowledged it and found out why is: how do I overcome procrastination?

Get started, take that first step. Don’t wait until you’re ready…you will never be 100% ready.

15 Steps to halt procrastination dead in its tracks

Procrastination is a deep behavioural habit. This means that you won’t break it overnight, but you can overcome it.  Habits can be overcome by replacing the bad ones with the good ones.

Therefore, try as many of the tips below to give yourself a better chance to overcome procrastination. They have worked for me when I needed to get out of my rut.

1. Face your fears.

Often people that procrastinate fear that they will fail, make mistakes, or that the work will not be good enough. It could even be a fear of success. Fear is debilitating. However, you can increase confidence and self-belief by modelling other successful people who have been where you are.

2. Forgive yourself for previous procrastination

Beating yourself up over what you could’ve done if you’d started sooner or thinking you’re a loser will only make it worse. Therefore, self-forgiveness can help build a positive self-image and reduce the chances of procrastination in the future.

3. Commit to the task

If you feel stuck, focus on doing and completing one task at a time. For example, write down the tasks that you need to complete and give yourself a deadline. This will help you in being proactive with your tasks.

4. Reward yourself

When you’ve done good and done what you set out to do give yourself a little reward to keep you motivated and on track. Don’t go overboard with it by splurging. Keep on track.

5. Get an accountability partner

Having someone who will keep you accountable for sticking to your tasks is very helpful. My accountability partner helps me stay on track, in addition, no excuse is acceptable.

Sometimes it gets heated, the truth isn’t always pleasant to hear. You need someone who will be honest with you but not put you down.

You might also like: How to create a Productive Vision Board

6. Get organized

Organized people successfully overcome procrastination because they use prioritized To-Do Lists and create effective schedules. These tools help you to organize your tasks by priority and deadline. Have a planner. This will prevent you from forgetting about those unpleasant or overwhelming tasks.

7. Start where you are with what you’ve got

Tackle tasks as soon as they arise, rather than letting them build up over time.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

― Benjamin Franklin

8. Get rid of distractions

It’s hard to get any real work done when the television is on or you keep checking your friends Facebook status updates. Limit all distractions, so you can focus on the task at hand.

9. Chunk it

When a task seems overwhelming, procrastination often follows. Firstly, break it into smaller more manageable chunks. Then, get the tasks that you find least pleasant out of the way first.

This will give you more time to concentrate on work that you find more enjoyable and leave you feeling empowered.

10. Schedule & Prioritize

Schedule

You need to schedule and plan when you are going to work on a task and block out that time. Schedules can help you to plan your time effectively and reduce your stress levels. This will enable you to quickly identify the activities that you should focus on and prioritize.

11. Say bye-bye to perfectionism

Perfectionists tend to wait until things are perfect in order to proceed. If it’s not perfect, it won’t succeed or it can’t start. Furthermore, this all-or-nothing mentality can hold you back from starting or finishing tasks.

You might also like: Setting SMART Goals

12. Identify your peak time

Do you work better in the morning, afternoon or evening? Identify when you’re most productive and tackle the hardest tasks at these times.

13. Set yourself deadlines

Setting yourself specific deadlines to complete tasks will help keep you on track to achieve your goals. As a result, you will have no time for procrastination!

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14. Check your environment

When doing your tasks, choose wisely where and with whom you are working. Repeatedly placing yourself in situations where you don’t get much done – such as “working” in your bed, or with friends – contribute to you putting things off.

15. Use productivity tools and apps

There are numerous apps designed to help you to be more organized, focused, and get things done. Check on Play Store or iStore for one that suits your needs best.

Stop waiting until the last minute to do what you need to do and start doing the things that you know you need to do in order to achieve your long-term goals. You’ll be glad you did when you look back.

Procrastination can restrict your potential and undermine your goals. It can also disrupt teamwork, reduce morale and even lead to depression. So, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to prevent it.

You must do away with the excuses. Use what you know proactively and overcome procrastination for good.

Love, Everyday

Ntha

2 Comments

  • Magda

    I really enjoyed your post, Ntha!
    Such a “painful” subject for me… procrastination… I like your perspective and your advice on it. I will try to put it in practice.
    Thank you,
    Magda.

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