How to Kick Procrastination to the Curb Starting Today

[Originally published on the My Fair Olinda blog.]

Procrastination is a productivity killer. We’ve all fallen into it, but what happens when you are stuck in that cycle of procrastination? We all want to get things done, it’s the getting there that can be difficult. Procrastination is the archenemy of productivity. It never accomplishes anything. Instead you place yourself in a constant state of worry over the same thing over and over again.

Do you struggle with procrastination? Do you accept it as something you do without even challenging why? Are you left stuck wondering why you just can get stuff done?

The good news is you can beat it. It does require you to make a choice. Choose not to procrastinate. Are you ready to kick it to the curb with me? Consider this your anti-procrastination pep talk! Procrastination keeps you stressed out. The more you procrastinate the less you solve. You may feel better to put something off for the moment. In reality you are set up to repeat the original anxiety again.

I want you to live free from this anxiety.

01 // Start by identifying WHY you procrastinate:

We want to be productive, but other things become mental blocks for us. It’s easy to blow it off as momentary laziness and not address the root issue. I don’t think it’s laziness. The primary reason I procrastinate is because I am unsure of my ability to complete the task well. I also procrastinate when the task overwhelms me or because the task seems unpleasant to me.

This is the time to ask yourself what’s holding you back. We can put off getting stuff done for all sorts of reasons. Knowing your why will help you overcome it.

  • You are overwhelmed: If you are procrastinating because your task seems daunting break it down into parts. It’s easy to procrastinate when we are mentally overwhelmed by the idea of the task before us. We get stuck when we don’t know where to start or how we are going to get it all done. We stall thinking it’ll somehow feel more manageable later. Unfortunately, that makes things worse for us because our task is still unfinished and those feelings don’t go away.

This is a great time to create mini goals inside of your larger end goal. Break down an overwhelming task to create a manageable system for yourself. You’ll feel better and you’ll get things done. Once you are on a roll the productivity will start to flow.

  • You are Afraid: Another big cause of procrastination is fear of failure. First of all fear of failure can be debilitating. It can stop us dead in our tracks and keep us from ever even trying. We wait to do something when we are unsure of how to do it or when we are unsure of our capabilities or abilities. I don’t want to stumble through something. Even more than that I don’t want someone to witness me stumbling through it.

Take your fear as an opportunity to grow. Learn a new skill or brush up on old skills. Take the time to do your research and gain the knowledge you need to accomplish your goal.

Collaborate. Now is a great time to work as a team utilizing the teams strengths. It’s okay to ask for help. Collaboration gives you the advantage of fresh perspective and new ideas.

  • It’s Unpleasant: Nobody wants to do things they don’t like to do. We procrastinate because it’s not fun. Not every task before us is easy or enjoyable so we put the ones we don’t like off for later. You may be putting things off because it’s mundane or boring to do. It could also be because it’s uncomfortable. You are not looking forward to the interaction. Perhaps you even feel bad about the task in from of you.

Is there a way to make the task more enjoyable? Listen to your favorite music while doing the dishes, catch up on a T.V. show while folding laundry or invite a friend to join you for a work out session.

Be gentle on yourself. We all have to face uncomfortable situation and conversations. If you are avoiding responding to someone consider a couple of things. They are waiting patiently on you, don’t prolong their waiting. Be kind, but be firm. It’s okay to say no, to turn things down, to communicate limitations. The same goes for addressing an issue. However awkward it may be in the moment it will bring future clarity which will feel much better for both of you.

You have already taken the first step. You want to beat procrastination! That, my friend, is a big deal. I’m proud of you.

When tempted to procrastinate, stop and identify why you want to push the task off until later. When you know why you struggle with procrastination, you can take steps to deal with the root issue.

02 // It’s time to adopt a new mindset:

To stop procrastinating decide that you are going to face it head on. Choose not to allow yourself to do it. You can overcome your reason for procrastination. This will lead you to overcoming procrastination itself. Now that you’ve taken the time to identify your key source or trigger for procrastinating you can create steps for yourself to tackle it.

  • Make a plan: Do you need to update your skills? This may mean doing the research you need to do to gain the knowledge you need to accomplish your task. It’s okay to take the time to learn. Do you need to ask for help? It’s okay to collaborate. Don’t isolate yourself!
  • Schedule it: Take your plan and decide when you are going to do things and then do them at that time. If you’ve broken your tasks down, create timelines and deadlines. Set the time aside and use the time as intended. Get it done and get it off your plate. This is a mindset to adopt. If you have lost your drive read my five steps to recapture motivation.
  • Begin: The best way to get over procrastination is to face it straight on. Don’t be afraid to address it. The power and the control does lie with you. Do not feel victim to or play victim to procrastination. Don’t throw yourself a pity party. Start at the beginning and gain momentum.

01 // Make a list of everything you need to get done. Order it by priority for the most important and time sensitive items down.

02 // Do the hardest tasks first. Get the ones you don’t want to do out of the way. You’ll feel better and this will free you up to work more positively.

03 // Skip your emails in the morning and turn your phone off when working on time sensitive matters. Those two things are huge distractions and a drain on your time!

04 // Schedule specific tasks at specific times of the day. Choose a time to email, a time to make phone calls, when you are available for appointments and meetings and when to work on big projects.

05 // Stick with it. Don’t mutli-task, don’t switch tasks, don’t start any new tasks. See your project through to completion.

06 // Take a break. If you get really stuck and need to take a break so that you can come back to something fresh, do it. But, don’t take an unnecessary break. Instead, once you’ve completed a tough task reward yourself with a break!

Do It Yourself projects enthusiast. Celebrating creativity everyday. I’ve been killing it in the organization arena for over 10 years.