How To Beat Procrastination and Get Things Done

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Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline. It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite knowing it might have negative consequences.

Here are 10 ways To Beat Procrastination and Get Things Done

Take baby steps
When you’re not motivated to reach your goal, it’s hard even getting started. So even the first small step towards it will seem like an achievement. For instance, if you have some reading to do for your paper, spend ten minutes or so reading a page. Once you’ve taken that step, you’ve already told your brain that a change has happened. Your naturally lazy brain (we are all wired to be lazy) will no longer resist. You will then set off a momentum towards your goal, that will carry you like a wave and get you there.

Focus on the reward and the steps
Mountain climbers would get easily demoralized if they were constantly focusing on the sheer height of what they’re trying to achieve. Instead, they focus on the summit they want to reach, and they also focus on the small steps they’re taking. Not on how steep the path is.

Time yourself
Setting a timer (after putting your phone on the airplane mode) can be a simple way of defining an intent for yourself. You’ll find it easier to focus on. Breaking up the time you spend on the task into bite-sized pieces will break down a complex task into smaller, more manageable parts.

Be kind to yourself
If you failed to meet a deadline you’ve set for yourself, don’t beat yourself up. (At least, not too much.) The first thing you need to do to change the way you work is to stop calling yourself a procrastinator. Often, we are what we think we are. Think of the future, not the past. And cut yourself some slack while you focus on making that extra effort towards getting the job done on time.

Probe the reasons you procrastinate
Every time you find yourself pushing off something you need to do, pay attention to what’s really going on underneath. What are your thoughts? What are you feeling? What are the things you’re brushing under the carpet? How do you usually behave when you procrastinate?

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Sometimes, perfectionists tend to procrastinate in an anxiety-ridden way. When you notice what’s really going on, you can begin to change your behaviors in a compassionate, positive way.

Switch off your phone
In other words, turn off all distractions. Keep away from any environments or external stimuli that could distract you. This means finding a space of energy and focus for yourself, in the midst of the chaos of your everyday life.

But let’s face it, in an ideal world, there wouldn’t be laundry to do, babysitters who cancel last-minute, that urgent help your team leader requests of you, or those emails that need answering urgently. Finding a calm, focused space despite the chaos is possible to achieve. Whether you do it with the help of mindfulness or a productivity-inspiring playlist on your headphones is up to you.

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Get someone to hold you accountable
Rope in a partner to help you overcome procrastination. This could apply to your professional or personal life. Ask someone you trust for help, and hold yourself accountable to them. It’s harder to let someone else down than yourself.

Reward yourself
Give yourself a little reward every time you tick off a box on your To-Do list. Make it a bigger reward for the less agreeable tasks. It could be anything from a cup of hot chocolate to a few minutes on Instagram. You’ll keep things interesting and stay motivated.

There’s a lot we can learn from mountain-climbers about setting goals and reaching them. One big takeaway is that focusing on the reward or the outcome you want is going to give you an additional push towards it.

Make a To-Do list
If you’re fortunate enough to already know ahead of time all the tasks that need completion by the end of the day, make a To-Do list first thing in the morning. As you’re making it, visualize how much time each task will take you.

If you don’t already have an external deadline, create a deadline for yourself. Setting hard deadlines makes it easier to commit to tasks. Imagine you’re the boss that’s waiting for you to hand work in, and hold yourself to the deadline just as your boss would.

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Prioritize the least-favorite task
Put the task you’re most likely to push down to the bottom of the list, at the top. This way, you can get it done first. You’ll have a sense of achievement from it. And the other tasks will follow easily.

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