1. Mark Your Accomplishments.
Procrastination has a simple root.
It’s something we don’t want to do.
“It” can be anything, but it’s something that we’re not compelled to do now. And we don’t have to! The task at hand is something that dwells in the vague future, and without definition of the immediate, it fades and feigns from action.
But what if you wanted to get it done?
Then you would.
It’s simple, right? Procrastination is about motivation, or lack thereof. Now, I don’t mean you should reward yourself every time you solve a problem — that sets a dangerous personal precedent — but you should take some time to savor the accomplishments reaped from fighting procrastination. Check your task off! Enjoy the hard earned spoils that naturally appear after doing what you’re supposed to. Soon, you’ll train your body to recognize relief, pride, and a happy vibe of accomplishment as the result of getting to business.
Subtly, quietly, you’ll be more eager to embrace that.
2. Mark A Plan (Even If You Cancel It)
It’s harder to procrastinate with calendars and planners.
You still can, of course — I do an admirable job of it, after all. But if you keep yourself accountable, even lightly, you’ll find a slight gravity nudging you to the task at hand.
Knowing you have a list that says something means there’s evidence, and, begrudging or otherwise, you have a hint of an external incentive nagging you.
It’s okay if you cancel your plans. Just keep making them. And, eventually, you’ll find yourself fed up. The visual, tangible proof of your procrastination will itch its way to help you change.
3. Take Account Of What Needs To Be Done
Procrastination often is subtly paired with ignorance.
I procrastinate cleaning my room because I forget. Because it’s always dirty and I’m used to it, even as it slowly creeps up to the unacceptable.
Similarly, many things simply don’t occur to me. Groceries and other errands are all retroactive to me; I should’ve gotten eggs, shampoo, toothpaste, but I’ve forgotten. Those chores in the past tense. And, as I scrounge to borrow from my room-mates, I find myself again in a pattern of lingering failure.
But, because it lingers, it becomes a routine. You adapt to the pattern you’ve stumbled into.
So, take some diligence and take account of what you have to do. Make a plan for them, even a plan you’ll cancel, and mark your attempts as successes in and of themselves.
Every success starts with a conscious effort. Be diligent and aware, and it’ll be harder to procrastinate. Plus, the more you have to do, the easier it can be to procrastinate with something else productive. Not in the vibe to start working? Call your family, like you said you would. Not ready to call Grandma? Clean your room. Not down to clean your room? Get to that math homework, unless you want to do that reading, but didn’t you want to hit the gym today…
Any of those would be productive. And, when you list them out, the easier it is to procrastinate something with something else successful.
It’s kind of the best.
4. Bring New Eyes To Your Habits
Habit is a powerful thing.
Where are you losing money or time? What inefficiencies are leaking out your energy?
Take a moment to examine where you’re getting your lunches, your drinks, and how you leave your room on the daily. How’s your grocery shopping game? How’s your list-hustle?
When you make an active choice to watch how you waste time, you’ll be able to recalibrate your habits.
Take account of the thing you take for granted, and peek at your life with new eyes. You might find hiccups and habits that you never knew; like how one Netflix episode turns into another, or how you actually spent two hours on social media when you said “two minutes.”
Some people never take new eyes to habits out of fear or embarrassment. Don’t be one of them. Accept that this is a problem a lot of people have, and even though facing those problems can be more difficult than living around them, the first is far more useful.
Each problem or bad habit you discover is a new opportunity.
Challenging your habits takes a moment of initiative, but is often the easiest way to find quick ways to improve.
Procrastination is hard work.
Why not make it easier on yourself and quit?
Really! I’m not being sarcastic. If there’s some dragging, small and annoying chore, don’t let it take real estate in your head. It takes time, effort, energy and anxiety to successfully put off an unpleasant task. And, if you’re really not going to do it, you should quit now.
If you’re as lazy as you always feared you were, you at least owe yourself the efficiency of finality.
If something is causing you a lot of procrastination and angst, cut it out. Say “no” and move on. Life is too short to procrastinate annoying, small chores – when you have the chance to drop them, do it.
Take a moment and find the things you can quit. Savor the joy of letting them go.
And as for the ones you really do have to do? You just cleaned out some mental room to refocus on them. Look at you! Efficiency through giving up. What a country.
No internet and no phone while you work. Get it done.
Sure, it’s not that easy. You’ll itch for them and besides, you’ll still distract yourself. You’ll need to Google something or take a walk or get a snack or…
Fine. Okay. But by narrowing the range of distractions you have, the shorter your distractions will be.
Take it from an expert in procrastination; work goes a lot better when you have fewer distractions. At the very least, turn your phone to “do not disturb” mode. It’ll help give you a productive mentality that you shouldn’t be disturbed.
Freedom can lead to distraction. Streamline yourself and watch your productivity rise to match your limits.
7. Just Do It
You know that thing you thought of a third of the way through this article?
Do it. Right now.