How to Stop Procrastinating and Actually Get Things Done
Understand why you procrastinate
Procrastination often stems from an underlying reason that makes you put off tasks and avoid doing work. Here are some common causes of procrastination:
You may procrastinate because you want your work to be perfect. You put off starting tasks because you worry you won’t do an excellent job. Perfectionism causes you to delay work due to fears of not meeting unrealistic standards.
If you find a task uninteresting, you’re more likely to procrastinate on it. Boredom with routine or tedious work makes it hard to get started. You put it off in hopes of finding something more engaging to do.
When you have a large, complex project, you may procrastinate because it feels overwhelming. Feeling overwhelmed by the scope of work required leads you to put it off or do easier tasks first.
Lack of motivation
You’re more likely to procrastinate when you lack motivation and drive to complete a task. A lack of motivation makes it hard to self-start and follow through on responsibilities.
Difficulty focusing for long periods can lead to chronic procrastination. You may put off work that requires sustained mental effort and concentration.
Take action to reduce procrastination
Once you know why you procrastinate, you can take steps to reduce it. Here are effective ways to stop procrastinating:
Break projects into smaller pieces
If a large project feels daunting, break it into smaller, manageable tasks. Breaking a project into smaller pieces makes it less overwhelming to get started.
Use the two-minute rule
The two-minute rule says if a task will take less than two minutes, do it immediately. Using the two-minute rule builds momentum to tackle bigger tasks.
Focus on one task at a time instead of multitasking. Single-tasking prevents you from getting distracted and helps you complete work efficiently.
Minimize distractions like email, social media, and phone notifications while working. Removing distractions helps you stay focused on the task at hand.
Schedule tasks and set deadlines
Use a calendar to schedule tasks and set deadlines for completing work. Setting deadlines creates accountability and a sense of urgency.
Reward yourself for completing tasks and meeting goals. Giving rewards provides positive reinforcement so you stay motivated.
Develop habits to increase productivity
Building good habits can help minimize procrastination over the long-term. Here are some habits to boost productivity:
Start each day by tackling your most important task
Make it a daily habit to start your day by completing your most difficult or important task first, when you have the most energy and willpower. Starting with your hardest task prevents avoidance and procrastination.
Take regular breaks
Schedule short breaks every 60-90 minutes during work sessions to recharge. Taking regular breaks helps you stay focused when working.
Batch similar tasks
Group similar tasks together and tackle them at once to achieve flow. For example, respond to all emails at the same time rather than sporadically. Batching tasks leads to greater efficiency.
Create weekly plans
Make a detailed plan each week to organize tasks and set daily goals. Having a weekly plan provides structure and direction to reduce procrastination day-to-day.
Review your progress regularly
Periodically review your progress on goals and tasks. Reviewing your progress keeps you accountable and focused on consistently taking action.
The key is using these tips and habits consistently to manage procrastination. By understanding why you procrastinate and taking steps to reduce it, you can boost productivity and achieve more. Implementing good habits also builds your focus and drive over time. Don’t let procrastination keep you from accomplishing important tasks and goals.