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How to stop procrastinating


Blog - How to stop procrastinating

Procrastination can be challenging, especially when it gets in the way of achieving our goals, and it is more common than you think. But it is not impossible to manage and overcome procrastination. Keep reading below for some actionable steps on how to stop procrastinating.

While some degree of procrastination can have some potential benefits and positive aspects, such as offering some slack from tedious and boring tasks or offering some time for reflection and introspection, the behaviour of procrastinating over a long period of time can lead to some negative consequences.

This is why it’s important to learn how to stop procrastinating so as to minimize the negative impact of procrastination, especially on our productivity and well-being.

How to stop procrastinating

Continuous procrastination might bring short-term relief but it will also quickly build up stress and negatively influence your life, both in the short and in the long-term. Procrastination can thwart our progress and hinder our success, it can have a negative impact on relationships and even on our financial situation, but by implementing some proactive strategies, you can regain control of your time and productivity.

Step 1: Identify your triggers

The first step is to identify the triggers that lead to procrastination. A trigger could be anything from fear of failure to a lack of clarity or progress about the task at hand. Set aside some time to reflect on your procrastination patterns and to pinpoint specific situations, emotions, or thoughts that tend to trigger your procrastination episodes.

Step 2: Reframe your feelings

As you’re having an internal battle with your feelings towards a certain task, you’ll also need to reframe your emotions: find the positive aspects of the task and don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you feel. Rather try to be compassionate towards yourself, as that can help you decrease the feeling of stress and ultimately fuel your motivation.

Step 3: Break tasks into manageable chunks

One of the most common reasons for procrastination is feeling overwhelmed by the size or the complexity of a task. Break the tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. This will not only make the task seem less daunting but it will also allow you to make progress incrementally, which can be highly motivating. Also try to make your tasks as easy and actionable as possible, so as to get as many instant rewards as possible.

Step 4: Create instant rewards

Since it’s difficult to work towards long-term rewards, you need to make the results of your actions more instant. To fuel your motivation, try to combine a task you want to avoid with something you actually enjoy doing or tracking and making your progress more visible. It can also help to make the consequences of your inactions more immediate and visible, for example by socially committing to your goals so you’re more likely to follow through with your actions.

Step 5: Plan ahead

We’re bad at projections and most of the time we’re delaying our actions with yet another excuse. Once you acknowledge this behaviour you can better understand why planning ahead can be of such a big help. If you plan ahead, and especially in a way that will give you instant results, you will leave less room for excuses.

Step 6: Set clear goals and deadlines

Clear goals and deadlines provide structure and direction, making it easier to stay focused and motivated, and it creates closure which will boost your sense of accomplishment. When setting goals, make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Having a clear roadmap will help you prioritize tasks effectively and reduce the likelihood of procrastination.

Step 7: Practice self-compassion

It’s very important to also be kind to yourself. Instead of criticize yourself for past procrastination episodes, practice self-compassion and cultivate a mindset of self-acceptance and forgiveness. Remember, everyone procrastinates from time to time, and it’s okay to sometimes stumble or slack along the way.

Step 8: Have a procrastination-busting routine

Lastly, develop a procrastination-busting routine tailored to your individual needs and preferences. This could include strategies such as time blocking, implementing accountability, or using productivity tools and techniques. Experiment with different methods until you find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or a professional if needed.

It’s always very important to remember that overcoming procrastination is a journey that takes patience, persistence, and the right mindset. But in the end, the benefits will be worth the effort.

Avatar photo Written by Stefano Merlo

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