If you’re like most people, you’ve been planning to stop procrastinating for a long time. You just keep putting it off. Procrastination is the habit of putting off difficult or unpleasant tasks in favor of doing things that are easier or more fun. A little procrastination now and then can be harmless but when it becomes a frequent habit it can be damaging to your life. Losing time, opportunities, and even the trust of friends and family when you don’t follow through are only a few ways procrastination can damage your life. And none of us wants that. So, let’s start working on it now! Here are some tips to help you end procrastination once and for all.
Ending Procrastination Once and For All
1. Stop Planning, Start Doing
In many cases when you’re putting off a task, you’re overthinking it. It might be you want to have a perfect plan in place before you start. Or you simply don’t know where to begin. When you find yourself procrastinating for these reasons, often times you just need to pick a place and start.
Having a plan can be useful, even necessary for many tasks. But getting wrapped up in the planning to the point where you never begin is a good way to make sure you never accomplish anything.
With many tasks, the first step is the hardest. Looking too far into the future can make anything overwhelming. Focus on what you can do today to get started. And then do it. Often once you get started with something you will find yourself on a roll that carries you through to the end.
2. Break Up Tasks Into Smaller Pieces
I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. While the image is a little gruesome, it’s a valid point about how to stop procrastinating and accomplish your goals.
Whenever you find yourself procrastinating on starting or finishing a task, consider what smaller steps you can take towards getting the thing done. Handling several smaller tasks rather than trying to tackle the whole thing helps reduce overwhelm. And provides the satisfaction of completing smaller goals on the way to a larger one.
This can be especially helpful for kids who struggle with procrastination when it comes to school work. Help your child break down large projects and assignments into more manageable pieces. Successfully completing sections of an assignment helps build confidence and momentum for completing the whole thing.
3. Set a Timer
Setting a time limit is one the handiest tricks for ending procrastination. If you find yourself thinking something is going to take hours, or be boring, or you’re too tired to do it all, then this is the trick to help you get things done.
Set a timer for ten minutes during which you will focus on nothing but the task you’ve been putting off. No matter how difficult or boring the task, you can do anything for just ten minutes. And so can your kids, if you’re working to help them end procrastination of chores or homework.
Chances are once the feeling of accomplishment replaces the dread of working on a task you will find yourself able to push through to the end. And whenever you find yourself returning to the procrastination habit, set the timer again and get back to work.
4. Limit Interruptions
A great way to end procrastination is to create a fail-safe environment. If your favorite procrastination activities include scrolling through Facebook or checking news sites online then you need to remove the distractions from your work area.
Silence your phone and leave it in another room, or at least out of sight. If you’re a mom with kids at home and need to be reachable in an emergency, or have to be available for work calls, consider whether you can turn the phone to a “do not disturb” mode that only allows certain calls to come through. Or use an app that blocks social media and other distractions while you’re working.
5. Start with the Hardest Task
If you’re dreading one specific task or a difficult part of one and it is causing you to procrastinate, tackle the hardest part first. If you don’t, everything else you try to work on will be affected by your dread of what is to come. And you may find yourself accomplishing nothing.
Another good reason to start with the more difficult tasks is you will be better able to power through harder things when your mind and body are fresh and full of energy.
Once you can check the most difficult task off your list, everything else will seem easy by comparison.
6. Create Accountability
It’s easier to blow off a commitment when it’s only to yourself. One great way to end procrastination is to create some accountability when it comes to the things you tend to put off. Tell a trusted friend what you plan to get done and set up a time to check in and let them know you’ve done it. Choose a friend who will genuinely hold you accountable and motivate you to finish.
Not wanting to let someone down or even just having the looming deadline of a check in call can be just the right motivation to end procrastination.
Ending the Habit of Procrastination
As with any other bad habit, it will take a little time to end procrastination once and for all. But, if your procrastination is causing you grief and sorrow it’s time to put it in check! With these tips, you can be well on your way in no time. There is no time like the present to get started!