How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make
We all procrastinate. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing, but it can turn into something evil and nasty if we aren’t careful.
So, how to beat procrastination?
Try these simple procrastination beating techniques to destroy this deadly foe:
1. Get up and Move
One of the best ways to “change the channel” of procrastination is to change your scenery.
Rather than sit in front of your computer or TV all day, get up, do some stretches, jog in place, do pushups, and move until your frame of mind has changed.
2. Set up Reminders
Setup a daily (or hourly) reminder that you should be working on something or at least not wasting your time (unless you have time to waste).
You can also set up reminders that give you motivational quotes.
3. Get a Motivation Buddy
There is nothing like having someone on your side when it comes to making your goals a reality.
If you start to slip into procrastination, your motivation buddy will get you back in the game.
4. Make Yourself Accountable
You can do this with people around you or even with your motivation buddy above. A great way is to announce your change publicly and be vocal about it.
Hit the social networks, your blog, write letters, whatever it takes to make yourself more accountable to getting work done.
5. Create Something Every Day
No matter what it is. Artwork, photos, videos, a journal, some code, anything that gets you into a creative mood and gets you working.
6. Wake up Early
The nicest part about waking up early is that it is quiet and still. You can concentrate on a few big tasks as soon as you get up and get a bunch of work done that would have taken many more hours during the bustle of the day.
7. Go to Sleep Early
You can’t wake up early and work if you don’t go to sleep early. We need to recharge and being tired is definitely a motivator to keep procrastinating.
8. Clean and Clear as You Go
Sometimes we see how big a mess is in our lives and rather than doing anything about it, we procrastinate.
If you spend 15 minutes a day or just clean and clear things as you go (email, physical cleaning, tasks, etc.) the load of things to do isn’t as big.
9. Cut the Cable
Sitting in front of your TV isn’t a good thing (all the time). Beat procrastination (as well as save some money) by getting rid of your cable.
10. Just Do It
We have all heard the excuses. So, rather than making up new ones, just hunker down and get to work.
11. Schedule Time Blocks
If you know that some tasks are coming up as due and you have a lot of work to do on them, take out your calendar and schedule some time blocks. This will give you a set time to work and help you beat procrastination.
12. Follow a Task List
It’s hard to get stuff done when you don’t know what to get done. Have a task list with you to make sure that you have the right things to do at the right time.
13. Have a System
We recommend GTD (Getting Things Done), because, you know, it’s the best. You can also try out goal setting which will help you focus on your task.
14. Don’t Check Emails
One of the worst things that you can do when starting to “work” is checking emails. Checking emails first in the morning isn’t good for you. It will put you in an “non-action” mood.
Instead, pull out your task list and work on a big task first. Check email later.
15. Get Rid of Social Networks
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, everything — Turn them off completely to beat procrastination. Focus on the task at hand.
16. Time Yourself
One good way to get to work is to set a specific time for yourself to work. Say, 25 minutes (ie. Pomodoro Technique).
After the set amount of time, rest and do whatever you want for a little bit. Then, work for a set of time again.
17. Track Yourself
One of the best ways to know where you are spending your time and find free time to beat procrastination is by tracking yourself.
Find your weaknesses and change them.
18. Automate When You Can
If you hate doing some menial on your computer, then try to automate it whenever you can. It will save you time and allow you to concentrate on more important, interesting things.
19. Create a Playlist
Jam out to some music to beat procrastination. Create a “beating down procrastination to a pulp” play list that puts you in a state of flow with your work.
20. Identify and Face your Fear
Most times, we are afraid of something when we procrastinate. Try to find your fear and face it. Then you can start creating and working.
21. Realize It Will Never Be Perfect
If you can’t work on something unless it is perfect, then you should find a way to leave earth.
Nothing is perfect. Perfectionism can secretly screw you up.
Make something real and awesome. That will be great enough.
22. Become Mindful
Know what you are doing at all times to beat procrastination. Don’t get stuck in a mindless rut of web surfing, channel flipping, comment flaming, balderdash. Be aware of your surroundings.
Mindfulness can improve your focus and productivity.
23. Set “Goals” for the Day
At the beginning of each day, identify a handful of things that you want to accomplish. Some say three things. It depends on how large the tasks are.
24. Give Yourself a Break
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are having a tough time beating procrastination. Remember, you are human and we love to sit and stew in our own uncompleted mess of work sometimes. Just work hard to get out of it.
25. Stick with Tools
You are reading Lifehack because you love the idea of productivity and productivity tools. I’m writing for Lifehack because I love them too.
Trying to find the perfect productivity tool can be an excellent way to procrastinate.
26. Entertain Yourself
Go to a movie, a play, an art museum. Getting away from work is a great way to beat procrastination as well as refuel your creative energy.
27. Work Less
One reason we procrastinate is because we are trying to do too many things at once. Stop multitasking.
Identify key projects and complete those first. You won’t feel overwhelmed and will be able to get to work.
Less is more is the fundamental theory of productivity.
28. Have Some Quiet Time Every Day
We are constantly plugged in to the digital world. We constantly have music or sound on. It can be overwhelming and stressful, causing us to tune out of work and life.
Give yourself at least 15 minutes of quiet time every day to refocus and be with yourself.
29. Don’t Settle
Don’t think that “you are just lazy” and that “this is the way you are”. It doesn’t have to be and you don’t have to let it be. You can beat procrastination!
So here’re the 29 ways you can try to beat procrastination. Pick the best one for your current situation and then get back to work.
Adapted from an article by CM Smith for Lifehack.