10 Practical Ways to Beat Procrastination

According to Abraham Lincoln, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Charles Dickens also mentioned how supposedly, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Procrastination affects all and pushes everything until the last minutes. Procrastinators aren’t bad people, they are bad at accurately predicting how they’ll feel the following day, struggle with self-control, but also claim to work best under pressure.


Form habits that specifically target the sources of procrastination and take baby steps to combat the origin.


Divide a huge task into smaller tasks

The key behind breaking tasks into little parts is to trick your mind into thinking that the task is simple enough to do right now. When working is too overwhelming, we subconsciously procrastinate due to the difficulty. Break your work into little steps to make it seem more manageable.


Change environments

Some people have the habit of working in bed with a laptop computer, for example. Change where you are and minimize the temptation that lures you into sleep and resting or staring into space instead of getting your tasks done. Take a quick look over to your work desk and bedroom, does the work desk in your office make you want to work more, or does it make you dread the tasks more? If you’re in your bedroom, does it make you want to sleep and rest even when you aren’t that tired? Try to increase inspiration and decrease procrastination by revamping your workspace and environment in general.


Timeline for specific deadlines

Take advantage of the saying “procrastinators work best under pressure” by having a more specific detailed timeline. This helps with putting things into better perspective since having just one deadline gives the impression that there’s still a lot of time left. Divide the task into workable chunks according to tip #1, then work on the smaller tasks by a certain date. Keep the deadlines workable without too much leeway to develop a good sense of urgency but not entirely helpless and panicky.


Identify what’s causing your procrastination

Do you make it too easy for yourself to procrastinate? Review and check all your resources to see if your distractions are a little too accessible. Check your bookmarks, websites, app notifications, etc, to see if they’re too visible and distracting. Make your non-work-related bookmarks less accessible by stashing them away in a separate folder in the meantime. Trying to stop procrastination is more of a conscious effort than a drastic, extreme method of depriving and stopping yourself (which may only trigger a ‘deprive-then-binge cycle’ later on).


Hang out with the right people

It could help to hang out with people who you think may inspire you to take action. These ‘inspiring’ people can include good friends, family, colleagues who motivate you to take the right steps and can also influence a behavior change for the better. Pick the people who you think are hard workers and will be a positive driving force who will help with your change. “Hang out” doesn’t necessarily mean to go out and have a good time, but just surround yourself with inspiring people. Do activities, attend seminars, go to group discussions, anything and anywhere you think will help with your work, and not just a simple get together with no outcome.


Get a buddy

Together with hanging out with the right people, get a buddy, a BFF of sorts who’ll be your reliable companion to make the change for the better even more fun. Studies show that to reach goals, it helps to have someone to do the same (or different) changes and go through the same (or different) challenges with. According to The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), the key to a higher success rate is accountability. When you have someone to commit to, that accountability helps increase the chance of success by up to 95%.


Tell others about your goals

Let people know what you’re trying to accomplish. Most likely they’ll ask about your project every time you see each other, which is another way of keeping yourself accountable. Who wants to share negative stories when asked how the change is going, right?


Reach out to those who have achieved the outcome prior

Not just with procrastination, but along with other achievements you want to accomplish, there must be someone in the past who went through the same predicament you’re currently going through and succeeded. It may be enough for some to read success stories but an option is to reach out to those who have achieved the same goal and stuck it out through the years or however long it has been since they decided to change. Connect with these people even through social media and ask the questions you have or just commend their hard work and revel as their living proof that you’re on the right track and your goals are achievable.


Re-organize thoughts, re-clarify goals

Do you think your procrastination problem is really getting out of hand? Do you need to go through drastic ways just to correct your ways? There are times the procrastination has been going on for an extended period that you might be losing sight of your original goal, or just outgrow the goals due to time. Take a brief break from what you’re doing, re-organize your thoughts, and make sure you’re on the right track.

Stop over-complicating things and just do it!

No amount of planning and training will ever prepare you enough for the real battle. Just do enough strategizing and planning, then start and just do it!


And when a task or project is along the lines of the things that you have little expertise on, know that MicroCreatives is here to help!