Procrastination can be a destructive force in life. It prevents you from getting things done and causes you to feel anxious and stressed. Many people struggle to overcome how procrastination rules their days; fortunately, there are many ways around it.
If you want to stop procrastinating, here are the things you must do:
Step 1: Identify the Cause
The first step is to understand why you’re procrastinating at all. Why do you put off the things you have to do? Are you afraid of making mistakes? Is the task difficult or unpleasant in any way? Or is your to-do list so long that you just don’t know where to start?
Once you’ve identified the root cause of your procrastination, it will be easier for you to come up with solutions that will curb this behavior pattern.
If your issue is simply a lack of motivation or drive, consider simple strategies like setting clear, actionable goals or creating an incentive system to inspire you into action. When you complete a task, treat yourself—order your favorite dessert, indulge in a glass of wine, or go out with your friends.
If you find it difficult to start a complicated project, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps that are easier to digest. This will make it easier for you to stay focused on less daunting tasks that need to be done instead of the overwhelming scope of the project.
People procrastinate for many different reasons; these reasons sometimes change depending on the situation. Self-reflection is crucial to overcoming this harmful habit, so note your mindset and mood whenever you find yourself putting off a task. This will be the start of your journey to solving procrastination.
Step 2: Develop a Routine and Stick to It
One way to stop procrastinating is to build a routine and stick to it. Predictability can be very valuable—when you know what’s coming next, you can plan for it without worrying about what will happen later.
Routines provide much-needed structure for people who have trouble with procrastination. You can avoid being paralyzed with indecision or worry because you already know what you need to do. It’s similar to driving to your regular destinations: when you know the route like the back of your hand, the action becomes easy and automatic.
When your mind and body get used to a regular routine that maximizes your productivity, you will have no trouble accomplishing everything you set out to do.
The more routines you can build into your daily life, the less stress you’ll feel about not knowing what’s next. This is an important step toward eliminating procrastination.
Step 3: Get Rid of Distractions
We all know what it’s like to be distracted and how hard it can be to get back on track after any kind of distraction has pulled us away from our original task.
If you’re in the middle of something and your phone rings, or someone walks into the room and starts talking to you, or your cat decides that this is the moment it wants to start napping on top of your keyboard, then it can be difficult to refocus.
But what if we could eliminate distractions altogether? What if there were no interruptions in our lives? No one knocking on our door, no unexpected phone calls—what would that be like? How much more productive would we be?
The answer is: a lot more productive! One of the best ways to stop procrastinating is to eliminate distractions from your routine. Maintain an environment that will help you be as productive as possible, and you might even find yourself getting ahead of schedule!
Step 4: Take Small, Scheduled Breaks
Set routines with zero distractions are great for productivity, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. No one can be productive 100% of the time—that way lies burnout. You should also schedule breaks throughout your daily routine.
The Pomodoro technique is a great way to do this. It involves working in short bursts, with periods of rest in between. The idea is that by working for 25 minutes straight, then taking a 5-minute break and starting again, you’ll be able to maintain focus and avoid fatigue.
Make sure to rest your brain during these breaks—get up and stretch, walk around a bit, drink a glass of water. Disconnect entirely from your workstation and take time to recalibrate before going back at it.
Step 5: Celebrate Your Accomplishments
Positive reinforcement is vital for motivation. You won’t get very far when you berate yourself or punish yourself for things you don’t do. Instead, practice kindness and create a reward system whenever you avoid procrastinating behavior.
And don’t just reward yourself for completing one big project. After all, it takes many difficult steps to get to the end of such an endeavor. Instead, give yourself small rewards as you continue to perform well and progress. When you develop positive associations with long-term diligence and productivity, you can slowly eliminate your procrastinating habits.
Again, this is where self-reflection and self-knowledge are essential. You know the types of rewards that will motivate you the most, so you get to decide what you can indulge in once you’ve accomplished something. Break down your day or your project into chunks, and reward yourself once you finish!
Eliminate Procrastination Once and for All
We’ve all been there: you’re in the middle of a project, and you just don’t want to keep doing it. You keep telling yourself that you’ll get started in a few minutes, in an hour, maybe tomorrow—surely you’ll have more energy by then and be able to get it done without such a struggle.
But we know it’s not true; you will not magically find inspiration and motivation.
The good news is that Virtue Map is here to help you overcome procrastination once and for all. Once you complete the quiz to determine the root cause of your procrastinating habits, you will be given a plan to address each area of weakness and make you more accountable. Sign up today!