7 Ways to (Finally!) Defeat Your Procrastination Tendencies

Are you ready to stop procrastinating?
When it comes to getting things done, we are often our own worst enemies. Procrastination is one of those habits that most people have to some degree, and for those who have the most serious cases of procrastination, it can dramatically impact how much they accomplish each day.
As a work-at-home mom with two toddlers, I don’t often have time to procrastinate but when I do, it’s often tempting! After all, when you procrastinate, you’re immediately rewarded with something you want (TV time, a bubble bath, chocolate…) rather than having to do something. Being productive can be HARD, right?
But if you want to live a joyful life, you have to put in the work and reach for your dreams. You’ve got to ACT NOW and find the REWARD LATER!
So I’m here to say that no matter how bad your procrastination is, there are some simple ways that you can defeat it once and for all.

Acknowledge Your Habit to Procrastinate

The first step is always admitting you have a problem. If you’ve spent the last five hours binge watching a show on Netflix instead of handling your errands for the day, hopefully you’ve recognized that you’re procrastinating, but people also find subtler ways to procrastinate.
Do you fill your day with unimportant tasks simply to trick yourself into thinking that you’re working? Perhaps you’re checking your email every 15 minutes. Or you could be one of those people who always finds another activity they need to do before they get to work – making a cup of coffee, finding the right outfit, you name it – it’s procrastinating! And it’s time to say “no more!”

Keep Your Goals in Mind

The reason we procrastinate is easy enough to understand. We have all kinds of entertainment options CONSTANTLY at our fingertips and that can make work seem dull in comparison. So, we go with the fun option and put off the work until later. Unfortunately, every time you do this, it gets easier to do it again. You get into the habit of trading your future goals for immediate gratification.

Whatever your goals are, focus on them when you’re thinking of putting off an important task. Write them down so you can look at them when you’re not feeling motivated or go one step further and create a vision board! However you present them to yourself, keep them at the forefront of your mind as you push towards living a more productive life.

Do One Thing at a Time

If you often find yourself shutting down because you have too much to do, please know you’re not alone! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and decide to do nothing instead. Or to choose the “easy” things off your to-do list and never actually get the “hard” things done.

Whether you’re facing one challenging task or many small tasks, the solution is the same – pick one thing to do and focus on that first. If it’s a large, challenging task, break it down into smaller sections that you can focus on individually. If you have many small tasks, figure out which one is your highest priority and hone in on that. Focusing on one job at a time helps you get much more accomplished.

Along those same lines, schedule out what you need to get done! Which leads me to my next point…

Make Sure You Have Deadlines…and Re-Consider Those To-Do Lists

Deadlines are a great way to get jobs done, as they put pressure on you to keep moving forward. With open-ended tasks that don’t have deadlines or to-do lists with no timelines, it’s easy to keep putting the tough stuff on the back-burner. You can’t do that if you know something is due in a week.

So get it all on the calendar. Seriously, EVERY little thing you need to do, put it on there.

Exact plans for each work hour, when calls will be made, grocery shopping, affirmations – EVERYTHING! I even have “water check” on my daily calendar to help me remember to check my water intake each day. If you want “more” time in your 24 hours, you have to develop better habits and stronger routines.

Manage Time Better

If you procrastinate, then you likely have a problem with time management. The most successful and productive people in the world always have a schedule for their days. They don’t just wake up and wing it.

The best thing to do is write down what you need to accomplish either the night before or the morning of each day. Once you have your goals for the day, you can schedule your activities for specific times. It’s crucial that you set times for when you’re going to do each specific item, as this helps you stay on schedule. When you set a certain time to get something done, you know that if you don’t do it, you’ll fall behind. If you don’t schedule your activities, it’s too easy to tell yourself that you have plenty of time to watch cat videos on YouTube.

Aim for Completion Instead of Perfection

It’s great if you always want to give your best effort, but one thing to avoid is being so much of a perfectionist that you don’t get anything done. People procrastinate all the time by trying to tinker with things until they’re perfect instead of considering them done and moving forward.

You see this all the time with entrepreneurs and creative people. There are the entrepreneurs who work on a business idea for a little while and then never follow through. And there are the writers who spend far more time considering what is wrong with what they’ve just written than writing more. If you’re a perfectionist, it’s important to realize that even though you may never be fully satisfied with your work, you can’t let that derail you.

Reward Yourself

Giving yourself a reward for completing a task is an excellent form of motivation, particularly when you’re first getting started and aren’t yet finding satisfaction solely in finishing the tasks. You could reward yourself for completing one smaller task with your favorite snack. Follow the tasks set in your schedule for the day and you could spend some time watching TV at the end of the day, do it all week and treat yourself to a spa day on the weekend. How you reward yourself is up to you, but it’s important that you do so.
All of the above strategies can help you when it comes to procrastination, but it’s also important to realize that there is no magic bullet. There’s only one way that you can truly defeat procrastination, and that’s doing the work. Train yourself to shut down the usual clichés that people tell themselves when they want to avoid working – saying that you’ll do it later, or you’re waiting for inspiration or the timing isn’t right. You could use these excuses every day for the rest of your life (too many DO!)
Regardless of what you’re trying to do, there are no shortcuts. Get in the habit of sitting down and doing the work. It’s a rewarding feeling, and the more you do it, the easier it gets to do it again without procrastinating. Promise.

Are you ready to defeat procrastination once and for all? Tell me about it in the comments below!

12 Comments

  • jodie Reply

    I’m actually the opposite of a procrastinator!! My husbands laughs and says I need to learn from him!! LOL
    Jodie

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Haha same here most days!!

  • Carol A Cassara Reply

    You have inspired me. I am going off to do my to do list. You know, the one i have been ignoring?

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Woohoo! Go, Carol, go!! 😀

  • Lee Gaitan Reply

    You have pretty much nailed me–especially the part about having to do one more thing before I dod th thing I’ve been putting off doing! These are great tips.

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    I do love lists and I just found one I wrote in mid-March. Amazing what I didn’t do that I planned to! I stay ‘busy’ checking email too often, and losing myself online. It is so important to stay focused on your goals and keep working toward them without distraction.

  • Austin Reply

    I have some really awesome comments on this post. I’ll share them tomorrow…

  • Debbie Reply

    This is great advice Amber, you have spelt it all out really well. Thanks I will take on board some of these points as I’m easily distracted at times.

  • Stacey W Reply

    I am finally getting better at setting schedules and being ahead of the deadlines.

  • Raymond Reply

    I’m going to have to learn to manage my time better – that’s a big downfall of mine. Somedays I can just procrastinate for hours haha.

  • Silly Mummy Reply

    Good tips! I can be a terrible procrastinator. Mostly linked to things I am worried about or overwhelmed by – I’m an avoider.

  • Debbie Reply

    I can so relate to this post. You have identified a few classic behaviours that I will try to work on now. Thanks.

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