Procrastination by definition: the action of delaying or postponing something. Many of us fall into the trap of procrastination – continuously delaying a task until it’s too late. Then, we are stuck wondering why we hadn’t started earlier which in return triggers us to feel guilty about procrastinating in the first place! Oh, what a cycle. So, how do we break the cycle and stop procrastinating?
True story: I procrastinated starting a blog for YEARS. Here I am today, over four months into my blogging journey and loving every moment. My procrastination stemmed from doubt and fear, worrying about failure, and if I had the knowledge to start my blog. Truth is, I didn’t! But I pushed myself to learn by gathering knowledge from fellow bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and exploring various resources. Today, my blog serves as a resource to others, fellow friends and bloggers, and I am exactly on the path I imagined myself to be.
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Procrastination does not have a size. It can be starting a blog, finishing a paper, working out or it can be as simple as doing the laundry or organizing your closet. All in all, here is how to stop procrastinating using my five simple steps to get it done!
1. Understand Why
The first step is to forgive yourself for any past procrastination. The guilt cycle of beating ourselves up over procrastinating does not set us up for a successful future. You can’t change the past, and if it helps, nearly 95% of adults procrastinate. You are not alone!
Ask yourself: What is the root of your procrastination? Is your task not urgent? Are you afraid of failure? Is your task boring? Are you overwhelmed? Be honest with yourself. Many of us are just as afraid of success as we are of failure.
2. Get Organized
A large part of procrastination is to subconsciously find the work overwhelming. Invest in a notebook and create a to-do list by breaking down your tasks into smaller tasks. For example, starting this blog:
- Research platforms
- Find a niche
- Decide on a blog name
- Create an account
- Design my blog
- Write my first blog post
Now, each task is manageable and the feeling of physically crossing off each small task off your to-do list provides instant satisfaction!
TOP TIP: set calendar reminders for yourself either via phone or in a planner for deadlines!
3. Optimal Working Environment
Various environments impact our productivity. Where do you find yourself most productive? Do you play soft background music? Do you thrive in a busy coffee shop or at a quiet library? Perhaps it’s in the comfort of your home. If your environment no longer makes you feel productive, change it up! An environment can lose its spark to make us feel inspired after a period of time.
Similarly, time also impacts our productivity. When do you find yourself most productive? Is it with your morning coffee? Afternoon? Late at night? Take advantage of this time to complete your most complex tasks! Personally, I am most productive in the early mornings with my cup of joe!
Limit your distractions. Turn your TV off. Close all the extra tabs on your laptop. Keep your phone a mile away from you… Okay, slight exaggeration but how many times have we reached for our phones and endlessly scrolled through social media to distract ourselves from what we’re doing? One too many times! Do not keep your phone within arm’s reach or sight!
4. Give Yourself Breaks
Work for 30 minutes, rest for 5 minutes. Work for 60 minutes, rest for 10 minutes. Taking short breaks prevents us from burning out and allows us to decompress. Set a timer for the allotted time of your break.
Take a walk, listen to music, have a dance party, and try to avoid your phone. I swear I always get sucked in and see something that takes my focus away from what my task was. Take the last few minutes of your break to give yourself a pep talk for the next interval of work!
5. Reward Yourself
You’ve made it! However small or big, reward yourself for the completion of your task! It could be treating yourself to dinner, watching an episode of your favorite show, or purchasing those new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing! Set the reward in advance so you know something is at stake.
In conclusion, I’ve never met anyone that has reached their goals by procrastinating. While you can follow the steps above and continuously plan/research on how to stop procrastinating, it all comes down to you. Be honest with yourself, develop a can-do mindset, and never stop learning.
Now, go get it done!
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