How to Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Things Done

How to Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Things Done

How to Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Things Done

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks that we should be doing. It can negatively impact our productivity and prevent us from achieving our goals. Here is a comprehensive guide on how I have overcome procrastination and improved my ability to get things done:

Identify Why You Procrastinate

The first step is understanding why you procrastinate in the first place. Some common reasons include:

  • Fear of failure – You put off starting a task because you are worried about not doing well.

  • Perfectionism – You want everything to be perfect, so you avoid getting started.

  • Lack of motivation – A task seems boring or overwhelming, so you lack motivation.

  • Poor time management – You do not properly schedule time to complete tasks.

  • Lack of focus – You get distracted by other things and do not maintain focus.

For me, procrastination was often caused by perfectionism and fear of failure. I would put off starting tasks because I wanted the end result to be flawless.

Break Down Big Tasks

Often we procrastinate on big projects because they seem intimidating and we do not know where to start. The solution is to break the project down into smaller, manageable tasks.

Some techniques I use to break down projects include:

  • Brainstorming – Make a mind map or list of all sub-tasks needed to complete the project.

  • Prioritizing – Rank tasks from most important to least important.

  • Time blocking – Assign blocks of time to work on each task.

  • Milestones – Set deadlines for completing key milestones along the way.

This makes even huge projects feel less overwhelming. I can take it one step at a time.

Use the “2-Minute Rule”

The “2-minute rule” has been a game changer for overcoming procrastination. The rule is simple – if a task will take less than 2 minutes, do it right now.

This includes things like:

  • Responding to an email
  • Adding a task to your to-do list
  • Setting a calendar reminder

Getting small tasks done quickly eliminates procrastination. Those little tasks no longer take up mental energy. I’ve found myself getting significantly more done by following the 2-minute rule.

Schedule Time for Distractions

One challenge with procrastination is getting distracted by less important tasks. A tactic that has worked well for me is scheduling time for distractions.

For example, I block off 30 minutes in my calendar for social media browsing or checking news sites. When I get the urge to do those activities outside the scheduled time, I am able to ignore it and focus on the task at hand.

You can schedule time for any distractions – email, web browsing, phone use, etc. By quarantining distractions, you reduce their interference with completing tasks.

Use the “Pomodoro Technique”

The Pomodoro technique has been immensely helpful for keeping me focused and on track. Here is how it works:

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes of focused work on a task
  2. When the timer rings, take a 5 minute break
  3. After four “pomodoros”, take a longer 15-30 minute break

There are apps you can use, but I just use a simple kitchen timer. This technique helps avoid burnout while also preventing distractions. I strive to get 4-6 pomodoros done per day.

Reward Yourself

Finally, it really helps to build in rewards for completing tasks and making progress. We are much more motivated when there is something in it for us.

My rewards include things like:

  • Getting a favorite snack or meal after finishing a project
  • Scheduling leisure activities only after achieving a milestone
  • Taking Friday off after a productive week

Having something to look forward to makes me excited to get work done rather than procrastinate. Figure out some rewards that motivate you.

Final Thoughts

Procrastination can totally sabotage productivity. But by understanding why you procrastinate and implementing focused techniques to overcome it, you can defeat procrastination and get more done. Break big projects into small steps, follow the 2-minute rule, quarantine distractions, utilize the Pomodoro technique, and reward yourself. With consistent practice of these tips, procrastination tendencies will decrease and your ability to achieve goals will soar.