Procrastination is something we all deal with. Whether you’re a student, athlete, employed, unemployed, etc. you’ve been down the procrastination road.
To procrastinate means to intentionally delay or postpone something that needs to be accomplished. Every day we face with important tasks that need doing, however, we come up with the most ridiculous excuses to not do them.
Either too busy or too tired, too stressed, too broke, it’s not “the right time”, you just want to take a break from everything, blah, blah, blah...
“I’m very busy doing things I don’t need to do in order to avoid doing anything I’m actually supposed to be doing.”
I feel like there are two types of procrastinators. The ones that go on making jokes about procrastinating and actually not caring at all and the ones that care so much it stresses them out which eventually leads to them giving up on doing anything.
Doesn’t matter what type of procrastinator you are, if you’re reading this you want to take action, do something about it and that’s already half of the work done so congratulations!
The other half is putting into practice everything you read and learn about stopping procrastinating.
Below are my 7 favourite ways to stop procrastinating and beat all those excuses that come up so easily. Read them thoroughly, apply immediately and start taking control of your life.
After all, the best way to get something done is simply to begin and life rewards action.
7 Ways To Stop Procrastinating
#1 The 2 Minute Rule.
This has to be the most common advice when it comes to battling procrastination and it is so for a reason. It works. The 2 minute rule comes from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done.
Basically, the rule is if you have to do something and it will take you 2 minutes or less – do it immediately. Just think of all the little things that can be done so quickly but instead they pile up.
Washing the dishes right after your meal, putting dirty laundry in the basket, replying to an e-mail or a message straight away, taking out the trash, cleaning the coffee table, making the bed, etc.
#2 Set A Timer For Each Task.
Setting a timer to do all your important tasks is something very similar to Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique. In his technique Francesco suggests 25 minutes of work followed by a short break. For every four 25 minutes you take a longer break.
My advice is to do it a little bit differently. Make a list of all the important things you need to do in a day. Roughly estimate how much time each task would take to get done. Set a timer and get to work.
For example, you decide to clean the house for 30 minutes and once the timer is up – you stop. What’s done is done. If by any chance you have 2 – 5 minutes of work left, do it, otherwise take a little break and move on to the next task.
#3 They Say Hardest Task First, But…
Most of the articles I read on how to stop procrastinating and becoming productive said you should tackle the hardest task first. I used to recommend this myself as well because I actually practiced it.
You know, you do the hardest task first and then it only gets easier, it makes sense. However, this method doesn’t work for everyone. Some people function a lot better when they do things the other way ‘round. It’s kinda like a warm – up for tackling big, important tasks.
So they start with the easiest, simplest task and work their way up to what really needs doing.
My point is you have to find what works best for you. It doesn’t matter in which order you do things as long as you do them. There are no specific rules, only guidelines to help you.
If that really is doing the hardest task first – then do so. If it’s starting with a less important task – do that.
#4 Make Plans But Take One Day At A Time.
There’s a busy week ahead of you, or maybe even a busy month and you just don’t know where to start. Take the time to write down all the important things you need to do in the upcoming days/weeks/month.
Your mind will be clearer and you’ll stress a lot less, trust me. You will know exactly what to expect and have time to find the best way to deal with everything.
There will be no space or time left for procrastination as you planned ahead but take it one day at a time.
#5 Do What Needs To Be Done.
Probably the simplest advice I can give you but not so easy to put into practice. Honestly, I don’t know why most of us humans struggle to do what needs to be done. We simply tend to postpone things until the very last minute.
On the bright side, there’s a great method I came across that will help you get things done. It is called the Eisenhower Matrix. It helps prioritise tasks by urgency and importance so you can really focus on your most valuable tasks.
#6 Remove Distractions From Your Surroundings.
Best and most effective way to beat procrastination is to get rid of all the possible distractions.
Turn off your smartphone or place it in a different room, turn off Stevie the TV, and clean your workplace.
Lastly, if there are people distracting you, either move away from them or ask them nicely for some quiet time while you get things done.
#7 Don’t Put Extra Stress On Yourself.
Procrastination is a problem, no doubt about it. However, stressing over things you didn’t do but should’ve done isn’t going to help.
I used to be one of those people that have 20 tasks on daily ‘to – do’ list then I’d get disappointed and angry at myself if I didn’t get everything done. An approach like that is pretty crazy because getting so many things done in a day is unattainable and exhausting.
It took me a while to realise that but right now my focus is on doing what needs to be done. I know how to separate important and urgent tasks from the less important ones. In exchange that helped me stop procrastinating and it increased my productivity.
Currently each day for me is different because there’s a lot going on. Some days I’ll get home at 5/6pm, get my workout done, eat and go to bed. Before I would be unhappy with that but now I don’t stress about it.
If I know I did everything I could in a day there’s no point stressing about anything. Just being grateful for what I did do, making plans for the next day.
Guys I hope you found this helpful. I wanted to make it as simple as possible yet effective so you can implement these tips straight away. Let me know in the comments which of these tips you like the most and what else helps you stop procrastinating.