Procrastinating on your work and put it off until a later time is one of the most common killers of success.
I believe that everyone has dreams and goals that they wanted to achieve in their lives, but because of their destructive habit of putting things off, their dreams remain dreams and they never hit most of their goals.
If you think that you procrastinate because you are lazy, it is not. It is just that you don’t really know how to motivate yourself and get things done.
And if you can master yourself and make yourself productive at every moment, you will be able to get a lot more things done. You will be able to accomplish a lot of your goals and make a lot of your dreams a reality.
Today, we are going to discuss about the 23 effective ways how to overcome procrastination. These tips are powerful and you can use them immediately to stop your procrastination. However, in order to make things work, you have to first understand…
Why Do You Procrastinate?
You need to understand why you put things off and why do you procrastinate. When you know your reason, you can then use the right strategy and apply the correct solution to make it right.
For example, if you procrastinate because you always get distracted, then you will know that creating a time-block is something that will work for you.
Here’s another example, if you always have no motivation to start on your work, putting yourself on the line and psyched up yourself will be more appropriate solutions than to create a distraction-free environment.
You see, you have to know what went wrong only then you can adopt the right technique to stop procrastinating.
And I believe that there’s a solution to everything. We have all heard about how people able to transform from a procrastinator to productive person that gets things done. And we have heard about people who have changed their lives from living in poverty to living a rich and wealthy life.
If you truly wanted to get rid of procrastination, you will eventually do it. When there is a will, there will be a way to do it. It depends on how strong your desire is going to be.
So here are the 23 ways how to stop procrastination…
1. Put Yourself on the Line
Here’s what you can do to force yourself to get into the work, put yourself on the line where you will be in a situation that there’s no other options but to do it.
It may sound ridiculous at times, but this strategy works. For example, you can commit to yourself that if you did not get the work done, you will have to eat a can of dog food.
Of course, you need to have audience around so that you will follow through your promise. In the office, if you always procrastinate on a certain task, just give $100 to your colleague, and tell him that you will get the work done by when, and if you fail the quest, he or she can have the $100. I’m sure your colleague will be more than happy to help.
Read more about how Sylvester Stallone put himself on the line and created outstanding success in his acting career.
2. Create a Motivating Environment
Environment can stimulate your mood. If you go to the library, your mood will be different. If you go to Starbucks, your emotional state will be different. Therefore, different environment will create different types of motivation.
Some people prefer to work in Starbucks, while some people prefer to work in the office where there are others working together as well. So what environment will drive you?
If you need a quiet place to focus on your work, then find yourself the place or create such an environment. Shape your environment so that it will work for you, not against you.
3. Commit to the First Step
There’s a lot to say about building momentum. Do you know that you don’t really have to tackle the whole task at once? You just need to commit to take the first step.
If your task is to write an article, all you need to commit yourself to is to write the first sentence. You don’t have to commit to write the whole article. This is because when you take the first small step, you are actually creating the momentum to go forward and do the rest of the work.
Just like if you want to get to the gym, all you need to commit yourself to do is to get changed. When you are in your sports attire, the momentum will build up and you will be in the mood to hit the gym.
Additional read: Achieving Your Dream: How to Take the First Step
4. Use the Pep-Talk
Pep-talk works and it is very powerful method to get you motivated to do something. This is why a lot of athletes are using this technique today.
Look at the sports industry. Before the match begins, the coach will gather the players around and give the motivating pep-talk to them. You can do the same to yourself.
In the business world, a lot of successful leaders used this technique as well to motivate their staffs. I would suggest you to check out YouTube to learn more there.
5. Get Distraction-Free
Are you always being distracted and then procrastinate on what needs to get done? If this is why you put things off, then get yourself a distraction-free environment.
Switch off your phone, disconnect from the internet, lock yourself in the room, turn off the TV or the radio, etc to get rid of things that will distract you.
There are many ways how you can do this. If you need to work in front of your computer with internet connection, use tools and plug-ins that can block you from surfing sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
6. Break the Habit
Procrastination is a pattern. If you consistently procrastinate on something at a regular hour and at a common place all the time, then you know that there is a pattern that will lead you into that. So just break the habit.
One of the most common patterns that you can clearly see is in the workplace. When you reach the office, what do you do the first thing? Some people will check out their email and lose the whole hour there. Some people will check out Facebook once they reached their office.
So what you can do is to break the pattern. Next time, instead of check emails or checking updates in Facebook, try to do something different that will interrupt the pattern and thus, break the habit.
For instance, you can write down a to-do list when you reach your office and straight away tackle the first item on the list after that.
7. Create the Habit
This can be closely related to the tips above in handling procrastination. When you break a habit, you need to form a new one. You need to fill in the “empty hole” in your mind.
If you want to build a productive habit and get things done, here’s what you can do. Try to do your work in the same time, at the same place and in the same environment. This will help you to form a new habit after couple of weeks.
It is exactly like how you take bath, how you eat and how you brush your teeth. Every morning right after you wake up, you will brush your teeth, the same way and the same pattern. It has become a habit so strong that you can do it automatically without thinking and you cannot miss out for not doing it.
Related article: The Secret To Forming Super Productive Habits
8. Reward Yourself
Do you reward yourself after you get the task done? If you don’t, you should practice this. Every time right after you gets something done, give a pat to yourself. Praise yourself or use a fist pump and say yes.
You want to make yourself feel good about it so that you will want to do it again. I have a friend who has a treadmill in his house but he didn’t’ really use it. And because he loves to watch drama, he will reward himself with the drama while running on the treadmill.
There are many ways how you can reward yourself. You just need to be creative about it. And you don’t really need to give yourself big reward every time.
9. Engage a Supportive Partner
Another powerful strategy to end procrastination is to get a buddy who will support you and monitor your progress. They said that getting to the gym is difficult, how about if you can find a buddy to go together with you?
Don’t you think that you will be more tempted to do and you will be more driven to do it? Of course you would.
So get yourself a supportive partner. However, make sure you get the right person who will support you and not dragging you down instead.
10. Use Time Block
This is truly a powerful way to end procrastination. You block out a time say from 9am to 10am to do the things that you want to get done. And within this one hour, you cannot do any other thing except putting your full focus into getting the task done.
I personally find that this is a very powerful strategy and I have applied this technique and get a lot of articles written, such as this blog post. Usually I will time block my morning time to write articles.
Find a way how you can use this technique too. Schedule a time to get a certain task done. Remember, you cannot do any other thing except the task that you have time blocked for.
Related article: Time Blocking: a Productivity Power Tool
11. Visualize Your Dreams
Visualization is a great tool to get you motivated. When you imagine about achieving your dreams, living in your dream house, driving your dream car, having fun and love with your family, etc, you will feel more driven and wanted to get things done.
If you always find yourself lack of motivation to do things, this could be a great solution for you. In fact, all the professional athletes used this method to drive up their motivation and perfect their skills.
Yes, you read that right, visualization helps you to practice in your mind and make things a reality. This is what has been taught through the Law of Attraction. You can also make visualization easier for you by creating a vision board.
12. Create Milestones and Realistic Deadlines
Do you track your progress and know what your standing is right now? Do you know how far you are from your goals? Some people feel lazy and have no motivation to work on their dreams and goals simply because they lack the milestones to track their progress and they have no deadlines, or unrealistic deadlines.
When you have no idea where you are, how would you have the motivation to do it? For example, if you want to lose weight but you never weight yourself and you don’t have any clear idea how much weight to lose and by when, trust me, you will never reach that goal.
On the other hand, some people have deadlines for what they do, but unrealistic ones. They set their goal to make a million dollar within a week. It is not that it is impossible, just that it may not be probable for most people.
Therefore, their mind sabotage and they already know that it is not really possible for them. And when they sabotage themselves, they will never have the desire to work on that goal.
13. Get Psyched Up
Here’s what you can do, psyched up yourself before you start working on your task. Professional athletes will do this as well before their games.
Have you ever watched the movie Rocky? Where the song “Eye of the Tiger” is playing and Rocky is training hard? This song psyched up a lot of people and I believe when you hear it, you will instantly feel motivated as well.
So all you need to do is to listen to these uplifting songs and watch short motivational video to get yourself driven before you work on your task. Lack of motivation will not stop you, but a lack of will, will.
Related article: Sports: Psych-up Techniques
14. Make a Public Commitment
This is almost similar to putting yourself on the line. When you announce to the public and tell people what you are going to do and achieve, you will feel more pressure and tend to make it happen.
However, you have to make sure that you share with people who will support you instead of splashing cold water on your face. This is another way of creating commitment so that you will not back down and put things off.
So share your goals and your progress with a few of your friends or family members that will support you.
15. Revisit Your Purpose
Not feeling motivated? Maybe you have forgotten your purpose why you want to do it in the first place. It is said that if your reason for doing something is not strong enough, usually you will procrastinate and not do it.
Just like quit smoking; is your reason strong enough? If your health deteriorate because of smoking and do you think your desire to quit smoking will become stronger? You know the answer.
Thus, if you don’t have the motivation to do something, revisit your purpose. Find out why you want to do it in the first place.
16. Break It Down
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Some people may feel overwhelm with their tasks. If you feel that the task is too huge to tackle, break it down.
Just like you don’t have to write the whole book in one sitting, all you need to do is to write one page today. And how can you write a page? By joining the words and writing the sentences.
You have to understand that you just can’t get things done in one go. Rome was not built in a day. And you can’t build a successful business in just doing one thing. Understand that success is through repetition of right decisions and taking the right actions from time to time.
17. Engage the Automatic Mood
When it is time for you to do your task, what is in your mind? If you think, you will not do. So don’t think about it and just do it. Like a robot, you just do without thinking whether should you get it done.
Most people procrastinate because they think too much. They worry too much and they are afraid what ifs… So stop thinking and just do it. You have to put yourself into the mechanical mood and tackle the task automatically.
A very good example would be making cold calls. Some people may think that it is difficult or don’t know what to say. Well, to make it happen, you just need to pick up the phone and dial the number. This will put you into action mood and you will know what to say next.
18. Motivated by Fear
The next time before you want to put things off, think about all the consequences if you procrastinate on it. For instance, if you procrastinate on going to the gym, imagine that you will get fat, lack of energy, becomes unhealthy and all your friends may mock you.
When you think about the consequences of not doing the task, I’m sure you will feel the fear and wanted to take action right away.
Just make sure that you imagine the long-term consequences when you put things off.
19. Manage Your Little Voice
The reason most people procrastinate is because their little voices manage to talk them out and put things off. In other words, they fail to manage their little voices inside their head.
Think about it, when you put things off, what are you thinking in your head? You are rationalizing that it is alright to do it later. When you tell yourself this, you will end up procrastinating on the task that you suppose to get done.
So learn to master your little voice in your head. Use these voices to help you and grow, and not to make you procrastinate.
If you wanted to learn about managing your inner voice, read the book, “Little Voice Mastery“ from Blair Singer.
20. Outsource It
No motivation to do? Don’t like to do it? Then don’t do it, outsource it instead. Ask other people to do and in exchange of money or other things. If you hate washing the dishes, exchange the mundane work with your kids.
Of course, some work you just want to do it yourself. For those that you hate to do or sometimes feel like no motivation to do, just outsource it.
21. Make It a Challenge
Most people love challenge. When they are challenged, they tend to do things more seriously and they wanted to prove to others that they can do it. This is a very normal human drive. And you can make use of this drive to put yourself into action.
For example, you can challenge yourself that you will do the task for 1 month consistently. And if you succeed with that challenge, you will reward yourself with something you love.
The principle is similar to setting stretch and short goal that will stimulate you and make you think out of the box and make you driven.
It is said that meditation can help you to better focus in your task at hand. Not only that, meditation can calm you as well.
You should really try this. You can practice meditation everyday or you can do it before you start working on your task.
If you don’t know how to meditate, learn it here.
23. Reduce Your Commitment
Sometimes more is not necessarily good. Less may be more at times. What this means is that when you are overwhelmed with to-do lists and things to tackle, you may end up with less productivity.
One way to make sure that you will get most of the important things done is to reduce your commitment and focus in what’s important.
Each morning, do the most important thing first before you start your day. You reduce your biggest commitment by tackling the biggest and most important task early in the morning.
Once you get the task done, you will feel lighter and you will feel satisfy. This way, you will be able to go through your day easier.
There are many techniques and methods to overcome procrastination. You have to understand the reason why you put things off in order to apply the right strategy to get rid of it.
Putting yourself on the line, get yourself psyched up, visualization and time block are powerful techniques that you may want to try out.
Of all the tips above, my favorite is to time block and to stop procrastination. What is your favorite? Let me know. 🙂