We all procrastinate! However, some people are better at dealing with procrastination than others. You’re certainly not alone if you procrastinate. The people that are more effective at minimising procrastination get more done. How about becoming a master of productivity, rather than a master at procrastination.

Getting things done can be difficult. In the very short term, it can be much more difficult than not getting things done. However, procrastination comes at a huge price. Avoiding a task creates stress and anxiety which can be quite exhausting. This tends to get worse when your deadline approaches. Try these strategies to deal with procrastination:

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1. Focus on the satisfaction you will get when you have completed the task.

Visualise the end result and notice that it was actually much easier than you believed it was.  This will take your mind away from focussing on the work and more on the positive benefit of completing it.   This also feels better and puts you in a more positive mindset.

2. Focus on enhancing your mood.

You tend to procrastinate when you feel bad, and the thought of doing the task continues to make you feel bad. You simply want to feel better and you’ll do just about anything to help you feel better. Work on enhancing your mood and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

To lift your mood, think positive thoughts, get a quick burst of exercise, or listen to music that lightens your mood. Once you feel better, get started on your task without overthinking it and the task will seem easier and more achievable.

Doodles about procrastination on chalkboard.

3. Put your procrastination to good use.

When you procrastinate, you rarely do nothing. You tend to perform one activity instead of performing another activity that you should be doing. So, create a to do list that includes a couple of reasonable, but really horrible tasks. You’ll then procrastinate on those tasks and perform the tasks you need to accomplish.

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This might sound silly, but this strategy is highly regarded by many productivity experts. You’re willing to do any horrible task if you can avoid something even more unpleasant.

4. Go to a new location.

This could be the park, library, or coffee shop. You could even move to a different area of the house or find a vacant office at your workplace. A change of scenery can often minimise the tendency to procrastinate. Part of your brain associates procrastination with your usual workplaces, such as your desk.

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5. Make yourself accountable to someone else.

Tell your partner or friend about what you need to do and when you are going to do it. When you talk about what you want to do, those close to you may provide you with encouragement and motivation to complete the task. Explain to them how important it is for you to accomplish the things on your list.

6. Use a timer and a very short time frame.

Getting started is often the most challenging part. It’s surprising how easy it is to complete a task after taking the first step. Set a timer for five minutes and see how much you can get done. If five minutes is too much? Try two minutes.

Procrastinating man sitting in the office with his legs up on a pile of papers, whistling and daydreaming, EPS 8 vector illustration

7. Try working at an unusual time.

Get out of bed at 5 AM and see how much you can get done before your normal wakeup time. Early mornings can be wonderful for getting things done because you are fresh and less likely to be distracted. Also try staying up late and see what happens. Maybe you’re more of a night owl. Change your routine and you’ll be less likely to engage in your old habits.

8. Give yourself a big reward.

Make completing the task as positive as possible. Instead of viewing a task as painful, you’ll begin to view it as desirable. Promise yourself a massage, dinner at your favourite restaurant or a day off.

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To Sum Up

Procrastination occurs when not doing a task is perceived as less miserable than actually doing it. Procrastination creates stress, and could even put your employment and relationships at risk. When you procrastinate too much, you ultimately fail to live up to the reasonable expectations of other people.

Deal with procrastination by tackling it head on. Try these strategies out yourself, starting today. You’ll discover that you can beat procrastination and get things done.

To your success.

Paul

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