Before creating this post, I planned to write 10 tips to overcome procrastination. Oh, boy, it scared me. Wouldn’t it be paradoxical to be suffering from what one wants to write about? So, I reduced them to 5 and started right away. You see, I just gave you a tip before I mentioned my best tips to help you stop procrastinating. 😉
Ok, let’s start with this. How much do you procrastinate?
I took my time to prepare a quiz to help you get started.
How much do you procrastinate?
Take this 1-minute quiz to find out.
What’s your attitude to deadlines?
What do you think of when working or studying?
What do you do when you’re not “in the zone”?
How well do you assess the time it takes to complete a task?
Do you work out?
Share your Results:
So…Where do you belong?
The answer is…It doesn’t matter. The average person procrastinates in at least one aspect of their life, whether it is letting the plates rot in the kitchen or postponing an important project. When you ask around, especially online, you’d find that many people talk about how to overcome procrastination like it’s a dinner topic.
You hear how loving what you do can help you become more productive. Or lack of motivation, perfectionism mindset, anxiety, distraction, and more.
At first, you resonate with these problems, then you begin to question why it’s hard to overcome them. However, the simple truth is that procrastination isn’t a consequence of inaction.Procrastination is a foolish bargain. What you think don’t matter to you at a given time. You’re neither interested in the result nor the process. But it hurts not taking action. Click To Tweet
What causes procrastination?
Before that, let’s examine a big misconception of procrastination. The belief that it applies to your entire existence. Like I mentioned, procrastination is a bargain. It is present in all your daily activities, both major and minor. But, it’s not a measure of how productive a person can be at finishing a task or getting the desired results.
So, procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing. What makes the big difference is your intention. How you’re able to prioritize your tasks and intentionally delay action for greater purpose.
Ok, back to why people procrastinate. It’s basically 3 reasons:
- Lack of Accountability
- Lack of Responsibility
These are the biggest reasons people blame abstract things like willpower, perfectionism and all that. If you want to overcome procrastination, you need to look inward and sort all these three.
- You face no penalty for not getting your task done.
- You have no client on your neck asking for their job.
- You’re not going to be graded for that test.
- You’re not going to be asked questions for not getting it done.
Ok, I’ll assume you’re a hard nut and accountability has nothing on you. Maybe you have no responsibilities.
- You’re a daddy’s child.
- You have no kids with demands.
- You don’t have bills to pay.
- You don’t have employees looking up to you.
- You don’t feel any need to show punctuality or enforce principles.
If none of these make you get stuff done, then maybe you’re just drunk in your own ego.
- You overestimate your own abilities and sense of judgement.
- You think time is always on your side.
All three tie to INDSCIPLINE.
Recommended: Action Faking: The Illusion of Progress
Tips to overcome procrastination
Know your WHY
As humans, we seek motivation in everything we do. We are constantly asking the question “What’s in it for me?”, whether you’re looking buy a dress to look beautiful or make a lot money to live the perfect life.
It isn’t about how healthy or realistic your WHY is, so far you have a reason for taking action.
When you procrastinate, you probably forgot your WHY or your WHY isn’t strong enough. To overcome procrastination, you want to have a source of motivation. This can be the reward or the experience that comes with finishing the task.
Establish Milestones with Mental Models
Let’s examine these statements
A: I will like to finish my project in 2 months.
B: I’ll use the first 2 weeks for research, 3 for writing my first draft, 1 for revision, 2 for final draft. For each week, I’ll update my supervisor to ensure I’m on track.
Who do you think will most likely finish the task on time?
I think so too.
One is dreaming, the other is focused on getting shit done.
To overcome procrastination, you want to break your task into bits.
When it feels like time is abundant, that’s your mind fooling you to embrace comfort. Before you know it, you’ve wasted time and you have to salvage what remains.The best cure for overthinking or anxiety is to take action. Click To Tweet
So, next time you want to be sure if time is abundant or scarce, you want to start your task immediately. That way, you’d able to find out if it’s worth procrastinating.
Start with the easiest part of a task
Many will tell you to start with the hardest part of anything, but I find this notion to be counterproductive. It’s one of the major reasons we procrastinate.
You want to give yourself reasons to push on. That’s why you want to start with the very little things that will motivate you to do the hard parts.
For instance, you have a freelance project to complete. A great way to start can be simply analyzing the client’s brief and call it a day. This won’t feel much like work but it can be a way to pull you into the zone before you know it.
Add more tasks to unfinished tasks
I know this sounds crazy, but this is one of the most powerful ways to overcome procrastination.
We tend to procrastinate less when we’re able to fill in the blank of “After this, what’s next?”. When it feels like you don’t know what you’re going to do after completing a task, it takes out the fun of getting it done.
It is equally important to focus on one task a time and have another task ready to begin after completing one. Having fun can be a task.
Procrastination is a problem of getting started. When you avoid starting that thing, you put yourself through mental torture. Your heart feels like it’s burning and you can’t stop feeling guilty. That’s a sign that you need to let go of pride and get started, no matter how hard it may seem.
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