7 ways to stop procrastinating and be more productive

If you’re a procrastinator you want to learn how to stop procrastinating.

Procrastination can leave you feeling paralysed, trapped and frustrated.

If you want to stop procrastinating and get into action the 7 steps in this article will help you form better habits.

If you’ve procrastinated over anything, you’re familiar with the pain and stress that goes hand in hand with not starting projects or leaving things to the last minute.

You’re familiar with the time you waste doing everything other than getting started on the project or activity you’re procrastinating about.

We’ve all experienced the same thing.

What is procrastination  

An activity may seem exciting but you’re having trouble getting started in the first place!

There are many reasons that procrastination rears its head.

Procrastination is simply the habit of delaying an important task, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead.

Procrastination can restrict your potential and lead to stress, frustration and an inability to move forward and take action.

The first step to learn how to stop procrastinating is to recognise that you’re doing it. Then, identify the reasons behind the what and the why of the procrastination and then develop appropriate strategies to stop procrastinating.

How to stop procrastinating 

When we procrastinate, we squander opportunities and put off important tasks we should be doing, often until it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

When we procrastinate we put off things, hide from important work, find distractions and only face the work when it’s unavoidable.

Chronic procrastinators repeat this process over and over again. 

Procrastination is a bad habit that paralyses and frustrates us but could be the source of excitement and motivation.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life, use proven strategies to help you overcome procrastination and get into action.

How to overcome procrastination

There are also several strategies you can use to learn how to stop procrastinating in the future so you can take action on achieving your bigger and better goals.

1. Stop chasing an impossible ideal

When we set goals for ourselves and our business we build a picture of what our ideal future looks like.

Once we have this vision, we set goals and actions to help get us there.

Two things then come into play.

Be energised by your goals to stop procrastinating 

We set up ideals that are often so far ahead from where we are right now that the ideal feel impossible to achieve.

This future ideal has been set up without really thinking about them, without really being engaged and inspired by getting to this ideal.

There is no preparation.

No thinking about what might need to happen to reach this ideal.

We then get stuck, start procrastinating and sometimes avoid even trying.

Our ideal gets further and further away from where we currently are.

Stop procrastinating by focusing on progress 

Let me explain as this will help you learn how to stop procrastinating in the future. 

If you are always measuring your progress against your ideal you’ll never be happy. 

Your ideal will always be in front of you – which will cause you to stop and not make any forward progress.

This can be rectified by a simple mindset shift, that can help you stop procrastinating.

Measure progress backwards

Start measuring your progress from the present day back to where you started from rather than measuring forward.

When you measure backwards you’ll see how much progress you’ve actually made.

This process can help you stop procrastinating, increase your confidence and allow you to each for bigger and bigger goals.

Rather than being self-critical, you’ll feel happier with the progress you’ve made. 

In order to learn how to stop procrastinating measure backwards, rather than constantly chasing some ideal in the future.

2. Stop thinking that nothing is ever good enough

Perfectionism and always comparing can create instant paralysis and procrastination in your business.

When you spend a lot of time across social media you are bound to be inundated with stories and images of how peers and friends are ‘succeeding’

They may have more friends, connections, money, followers than you. 

Peers, influencers or friends be reporting making more money or doing this or that, which can naturally cause you to compare their circumstances with yours.  You start procrastinating.

The thing is, you have no idea what’s happening ‘back stage’.

You don’t know about their life or the real performance of their business.

To help you learn how to stop procrastinating, don’t compare yourself to others.  Stay on your own path. 

Celebrate every success you have and step back and express gratitude for what you’ve achieved once in a while.

3. Stop procrastinating by setting achievable goals  

When you don’t have clarity around your future direction and have specific, measurable goals to work towards you are far more liable to procrastinate.

You won’t know what to do next or what path to follow.

This can leave you feeling confused, stuck and powerless, which creates procrastination.

To help you learn how to stop procrastinating, set out ambitious but achievable goals that include your objectives and some concrete ways to reach them.

How to set and achieve goals 

I work with my clients on 3 Year and 90 Days Goals. 

Goal setting gives you clarity and something specific to work towards, creates focus, builds confidence and increases capability.

When you have no clear destination, don’t be surprised if you can’t seem to build any momentum.

To get started, set 5 specific, measurable goals you want to achieve in the next 90 Days.

To help with daily goal setting, plan your day more effectively, download my FREE Daily Productivity Planner to help your stay focused and productive DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

4. Identify your bigger purpose

Motivation and confidence matter.

When you’re not clear why you’re doing what you’re doing – what your purpose is, than it can be very easy to get stuck.

This is when procrastination sets in.

If you don’t have clarity about what you’re trying to achieve and understand the difference it will make in your life, and the reason for doing it, motivation and confidence can grow.

Emotional engagement will motivate you to take the next step towards achieving your goals.

Why procrastination makes us feel stuck

When you procrastinate and get stuck, step back and ask yourself, “Why do I want to reach this goal again?” and write down your reasons.

Whatever your key motivations, when you find yourself dragging your feet, stop to remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place.

Reconnecting with your purpose will always help you create a strategy to stop procrastinating.

5. Get clear on your action steps

Goals can be big things that are going to take a lot of time and effort over time to accomplish.

People can get stuck and start procrastinating by focusing on the enormity of it. To get to your goals, focus instead on the steps that you’ll need to take to get there.

If you want to learn how to stop procrastinating, reduce the amount you want to do.

Set only 5 goals to achieve in the next 90 Days. 

Create smaller, achievable goals that feel easier to achieve.

James Clear talks about how to stop procrastinating using the 2-minute rule. 

Explore the dangers that will stop you reaching your goals.

Look at the opportunities that are in front of you and the strengths you currently have that can be maximised.

Cut your bigger goals into enough projects and action steps that feel achievable to eliminate the fear you may feel just getting started.

6. Cut back your to-do list

When you only have a small number of goals to work towards, this will automatically reduce the number of tasks you have to work on.

If left unchecked, the whirlwind of activity in your mind and life will constantly distract you from reaching your goals, and create procrastination.

This creates more and more complexity which means it harder to get clarity on your next step to take.

The key to learn how to stop procrastinating is to simplify, and then simplify some more.

Focus on your most important activities to stop procrastinating

Focus on your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) each day.

Choose three and only three, you have to filter your tasks and eliminate, automate, or delegate everything that is outside your most important tasks.

You can have a small list of non-essential tasks that can be handled at the beginning or the end of the workday or worked on together.

7. Create more accountability

When you feel confused, isolated or powerless it can be difficult to have clarity on where you should spend your time and what you should do next.

Accountability is essential for goal success and to help you stop procrastinating.

This accountability comes in a number of forms – peer group, fiends, accountability partner, mastermind group, mentor or coach.

The bottom line is you need someone who will hold you accountable without succumbing any excuses.

This could be a business coach, mentor or accountability partner.

Their purpose can be as a sounding board, to push you and motivate you, to remind you of the road you set out on, and why getting over the finish line will be worth it.

If you want to learn how to stop procrastinating, identify an exciting project and take that first step on starting that project now.

What are your best tips to stop procrastinating?

This article was originally published on the Lucemi Consulting blog.

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