Procrastination is the plague of this millennium. Is there any cure for this flaw? How can you handle it? Discover the secret today.
There are thousands of books and articles about procrastination. However, not all of them give you holistic solutions and therefore you cannot win procrastination. Focusing only on the mental side of the problem will not solve it. What can you do?
What Is Procrastination
"Procrastination is the habit of delaying an important task, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead. It is different from laziness, which is the unwillingness to act." - Mindtools
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.” - Wayne Dyer
“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.” — George Claude Lorimer
15 Tools Helping Stop Procrastination
Now that you know what procrastination is, the time has come to stop it. Here are fifteen tools which you can use. I will not give you more as this may be daunting. You can try using one tool or some of them combined together. The choice is yours.
1. Name the Daunting Task Differently
We use the specific language according to some cultural background. For most of us, things to be done are called "work". However, work can be "hard", "painstaking" and "menial for poor wages".
We also use the word "job". But also in this case, it can be a "dead-end" or "toxic" one. What can you do then? Find a different name for the same things.
For example, children do not "work" but "play" and "learn". It is even said that by playing they are actually learning new things. Moreover, play, as creativity and new ideas, is also essential in adult life.
Also, " work can be the "mission to fulfil my dreams". So start looking at your task at hand as the mission that, when completed, will materialise your dreams.
2. Change Your Thoughts and Beliefs
What do you think about a given task, job or work? Your perception will determine the way you will tackle it. It can be enthusiasm, curiosity, ardour or reluctance, disgust or even hatred. What can you do to change your attitude? Work on your thoughts and beliefs.
Further reading about thoughts and beliefs:
3. Ask Higher Beings for Help
Procrastination often results from karma and life lessons to learn. This aspect is usually neglected by science and standard self-help. For example, you may procrastinate now because of being a workaholic in your past life, which ended with a heart attack, so now you want to make up your karma by slower work.
Discover your karma and learn from it. However, even if your last life ended because of workaholism; procrastination, when unwatched, can also lead to death (e.g., neglecting important medical checkups). So slow down but avoid procrastination.
4. Ask Your Soul if It Is Worth Trouble
Sometimes your work is against the soul plan implemented in your life. For example, you want to start a business or even have started one. However, whichever task is to be done, you procrastinate, and something sabotages your efforts. It can happen because your mission is volunteering, not a business.
In this case, you will be procrastinating because your soul will impede the jobs which do not fit his/her plan. Therefore, ask your soul to reveal the plan for you:
Dear soul, please, help me understand my life plan better so that my actions will not be sabotaged and I stop procrastinating. Let it happen here and now.
5. Use the 2-minute Rule
This method overcomes procrastination and laziness by making it very easy to start taking action that you can’t say no to. The idea was introduced by David Allen in his bestselling book, Getting Things Done. The 2-minute rule consists of two parts:
“If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.”
“When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”
Therefore, if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, then follow the rule and do this task right now.
In the case of things that take up more time and you procrastinate about them, set the two-minute time span during which you will work on this task.
For example, if you are learning a new language and shelf using Super Memo to rehearse your vocabulary, set a timer for two minutes and repeat only ten words. You can even choose to repeat one word first. The idea is to start doing the task which you procrastinate.
In the case of habits, you can also use the 2-minute rule. For example, you can read your goals, and do some physical exercises for 2 minutes daily. Check which of your habits that you are currently working on can be done within two minutes.
Now think about which big task you could do, using the two-minute technique. Write it down.
6. Break Your Work into Little Steps
You can procrastinate because subconsciously, you find the work too overwhelming. Break it down into small parts, then focus on one part at a time. In case you still procrastinate about the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. The task will be so simple that you will be eager to do it.
Try this tool for your current challenge. Look at the goals you have set for the next week and the tasks which you have assigned to these aims.
Choose the task on which you procrastinate the most often. Write it down. Now think of the steps which you could take to make the task easier. List three of them and start working on the first step immediately.
7. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines
When you have just one deadline for your work, it is like an invitation to procrastinate. You might get the impression of having plenty of time and therefore, keep pushing everything back until it’s too late.
However, when you break down your project, you can create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. Then you know you should finish each task by a certain date.
For example, when you are learning a foreign language, you need to decide how many words you will hear within a week, month, or quarter and then plan the deadlines for each of the four weeks of each month.
Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or rather tempt you to rest and procrastinate?
If it’s the latter, see how can you change your workspace. An environment that makes you feel inspired before may become annoying and demotivate you after a period. If that’s the case, modify the environment again. Let's check how it works on your computer.
Firstly, eliminate your procrastination pit-stops For example, while surfing the Internet instead of working, identify your browser bookmarks to the time-consuming websites and shift them into a separate folder.
Then it will be harder for you to use these sites, as we are usually lazy and don't like the extra work of opening an additional folder. Think of the website which is time-consuming that you use while procrastination. Write down what you could do to make it harder to use this site.
Secondly, tidy your environment. How many times have you procrastinated about a task because you could not find the file or had to open ten folders before finding it? Then create desktop shortcuts or a folder which will be on your toolbar. It is also possible to have the toolbar at the top of your screen.
Now think about what you could do to make it easier to start to do your work. What could you change while using your computer, desk or whole room? Write it down and then take action.
9. Hang out with Inspiring, Positive and Active People
The people you are with influence your behaviours. Think of the five people you spend the most time with. Do they motivate you to take action? If not, try to change the environment and the circle of friends.
Take your diary and list the names of 5 people with whom you spend the most time.
Now think about what impact they have on your life. Which of them motivates you to be more productive (e.g. you go for training with this person) and which consumes your time (e.g. you are watching lots of TV with this person, you listen to his/her victim talk)? Write your conclusions down.
The next step is to define what boundaries to set to increase productivity and how to assert them, or, in the worst case, whom to eliminate from the group of the top 5.
10. Stop Perfectionism and Love Yourself
Do you always have to be perfect? No, you don't. Bill Gates releases new editions of Windows regularly; they are workable but may contain mistakes. Then Microsoft updates the system.
Every writer started with a pen and a piece of paper. Learn to create beta versions of your projects – you can always improve them. And remember, there will never be the perfect time to do something, you can even lose your opportunity waiting for too long.
Now think of one thing that you might start doing, but procrastinate about because of perfectionism. Write it down and commit to start working on that thing immediately.
11. Tell Others About Your Goals
When you publicly announce your goals, then you have no choice – you must achieve these goals. The pressure to keep your good reputation will motivate you to take action because people will ask you about your status on those projects.
It’s a great way to keep yourself accountable for your plans. Now think of your goals for this year. Choose one of them and decide to who you will announce it.
12. Find Someone Who Can Do It
Then it will be easier for you to model their system and accomplish your aim. Seek them out and create the relationship; the business or the personal one. When you see living proof that your goals are achievable if you take action, it will trigger you to take that action.
Now think of people who have already achieved your goal. Define this connection when you contact him/her. This also concerns your spiritual life.
13. Do the Cost-Benefit Analysis
List all the things which you procrastinate. Then shortlist five of them now. Then choose one task which the hardest to start. Make the cost-benefit analysis for this task:
Your task: .................
COSTS OF DOING THE TASK
BENEFITS OF DOING THE TASK
COSTS OF PROCRASTINATING THE TASK
BENEFITS OF PROCRASTINATING THE TASK (pay-offs)
After having listed all the costs and benefits, mark each item from 1 to 10, where one means totally unimportant and 10 means critical.
The benefits of NOT DOING the task, i.e., procrastinating. are your pay-offs which must be eliminated if you want to stop procrastination. Use the leverage and associate these pay-offs with as much pain as possible. Define how you will suffer by NOT doing the task. Choose one, the biggest pay-off now.
What pain I will experience NOT doing the task (list three items)?
14. Analyse the Underlying Problem
You may procrastinate because of something that happened in your past; therefore, your beliefs and thoughts sabotage your productivity. You need to transform your negative thoughts and beliefs.
You may also need to reset your goals as they may not be SMART or have adverse consequences for the environment. For example, if you set a goal that requires more work and therefore, you will have less time for your spouse, the chances are that in the long run, your goal will have an adverse impact on your life (let's say that there will be more conflicts in your relationship).
15. Just Do It
The hardest part is to start. Imagine that you need to wash up. It is always the hardest to take the first dish and remove it. The next ones are easier to handle. The same rule applies to any task you need to do. If you, therefore have applied the 2-minute rule and used other tips described in this chapter, I believe that starting any work may be easy for you.
Bonus Tool: Meditation
As I mentioned above meditation can help you make up your karma which causes procrastination. Let God/the Source and other beings of Light give you a clue of how to stop procrastinating. More about how to meditate is here.
Let's meditate together
Connect by telepathy during meditation on Saturdays at 8 pm GMT. I will meditate with you and other people so that our joint energy can create miracles. Send your intention to the Universe. Transform your life and the world.
More about meditation
In a Nutshell
There are at least 15 ways that you can use to overcome procrastination. Start with your attitude and work for two minutes only. Change the name you give to a given task. Surround yourself with helpful people and stay in a positive environment. Talk about your goals, find a mentor and set realisable deadlines. Good luck. With lots of love and light,
Explore More on Awaken Happy Life
Vicky is an experienced holistic writer and coach that inspires, motivates, and encourages everyone to become the best version of themselves - physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The content of Awaken Happy Life is published for educational and informative purposes only. It does not substitute medical or any other professional advice. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition. The author of Awaken Happy Life is not liable for any consequences of applying any piece of advice published on this website by the reader.