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Overcoming Procrastination: 10 Proven Tips and Strategies

Overcoming Procrastination

It isn’t easy to find the energy to get stuff done, when you would rather sit on the couch and watch TV or scroll on your mobile phone. But unless you live in a world where calling in sick to work, not handing in term papers, and waking up at noon have no consequences, it’s something you must overcome.

If you are not a procrastinator, then this article isn’t for you… go find something productive to do. The rest of us need a litany of motivational boosters that can get us off the couch and into gear.

When passion, habits, and a productive environment have failed you, it’s time to look elsewhere. Here is a short list of 10 proven tips that you can use to get leverage on your procrastination.

Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

1. Focus… and Focus on Right Now

Focus on the things to be done. Asking “why am I doing this” often help focus your efforts and tasks.

And, don’t live in the past on what you accomplished yesterday and don’t worry about what you need to do tomorrow. Be at present and find something you can do right now to make one step towards completing you goal.


2. 5 Good Minutes

Start working for 5 minutes. Set a timer if you must. Often 5 minutes is enough to get you moving in the right direction.

3. Get Up and Move

If you are sitting at a desk, stand up and move as if you were determined to do something. The “fake it” approach always feels silly to do, but in some cases it actually works.

4. Break Up Your Task

Whatever your task is even if its small, break it up. If you have to enter 100 lines of data into a spreadsheet, then do 10 at a time and take a break between each set. Fighting a stack of work and looking at how much needs to be done leads to procrastination. Try bite-sized chunks to get it done.

5. Identify The Issue

Step back and ask yourself what is your problem. Maybe you are tired, angry, restless, or bored. See if you can solve the root cause and resolve the issue.

6. Lean on a Friend

Find someone who knows how to kick you in the ass when you are dragging your feet. A friend can help you push through your plateaus when you would normally quit if left to your own devices.

7. Start With a Planned Out Morning

Eliminating decisions early in the day can lead to more productivity later in the day. Lay out your clothes and create a to-do list the night before. When you build momentum in the morning you can usually carry it forward with you for the afternoon.

8. Pivot Your Problems

A big motivational killer is small obstacles that come in our path that create endless roadblocks of frustration. Re-frame the problem into a challenge instead of an obstacle.

9. Get a Mantra

Find some quotes that speak to your inner psyche. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a corny movie or Mother Teresa, if it speaks to you and motivates you that’s all that matters. Get a mantra, post it on your fridge, tack it to your cubicle wall, and save it as your laptop screen saver.

10. Success Begets Success

When you accomplish something it’s easy to feel motivated. Emotions aren’t situation-specific, so small victories can make you feel like the king of the world. It can be as simple as a compliment from a teacher or colleague or getting three quarters of your work done before noon.

If you can front load your to-do list with straight forward tasks like exercise early in the day, you can often parley these into affirmations that you can succeed later.


Don’t Let A Day of Procrastination Steal Your Momentum

You finally did it. You motivated yourself to do something 2 days in a row, but then…

You miss a day. What Now?

If you are a chronic procrastinator it’s hard to stick to schedules, keep commitments, and stay persistent. Even if you do find something that you can motivate yourself to start doing a few days in a row…missing just one day of the routine is enough to make you stop.

Many of us have been there, the point when you finally pushed yourself to take a 1 mile walk and even somehow managed to do 2 days in a row. But then on day 3 it happens, life gets in the way or you just can’t find the same inspiration you had previously… so you take a “I don’t feel like it say”.

Day 4 you think about walking, but what’s the point… You’ve already broken your streak, you probably weren’t gonna stick with it anyway, and right now it would feel a lot better if you didn’t think about it.

The Good News is

If this is you… there is good news for you. Studies showed that missing an opportunity to perform a behavior does not affect the habit forming process. Don’t get disheartened if you miss a day. It’s totally ok… you can still form good habits.

If you are trying to incorporate any type of good habit in your life like working out, eating healthy, brushing your teeth, doing your dishes, etc… you can still do it. Everything that drove you to want to take action a few days ago is still there. Just pick up where you left off.

Habits take a long time to form, usually between 30 and 65 days. As a chronic procrastinator doing something that consistently for that long is hard. There is bound to be a few missteps. Don’t beat yourself up. Do the best you can, when you can and there’s a good chance you can still form good habits.


Time is Limited, Be More Mindful of It

When you are a chronic procrastinator time is your worst enemy. Deadlines get missed at work, term papers don’t get handed in, important life events get missed, and by the time you are ready to retire you realize you haven’t started saving money.

Our time in life is limited and it’s the most valuable resource we have. Time passes so quickly and you don’t even realize sometimes how much has elapsed. Everything sucks your time – TV, video games, social media, sleep, etc. Time gets wasted and before you know it a full year has passed and you have nothing to show for it.

So, remind yourself about the value of your time, and be more mindful of your limited time. Apply the above Strategies and Tips for Overcoming Procrastination and reclaim your life.

What are your best tips for overcoming procrastination? Let me know in the comments below.

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