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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make

How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make
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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. Some inspirations for you: 30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

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.

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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.

If you find it difficult to become an early riser, take a look at this article on how to wake up early: How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout 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.

It could be hard to figure how to kickstart decluttering, so here’s a guide to help you: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

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: The Nike Guide to Overcoming Procrastination

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.

Learn how to make it work in this guide: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

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.

Make sure you won’t be making any of these major daily to-do list mistake.

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And here’s The Right Way to Make a To Do List and Get Things Done.

13. Have a System

We recommend GTD (Getting Things Done), because, you know, it’s the best: Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You. 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. There are a host of apps for doing this: 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools

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.

How to know if you should automate something or not? This article will give you the answer: To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

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.

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Want some playlists ideas? You can checkout this Spotify Playlist and this article: Productivity Music for Focus (Recommended Playlists)

20. Identify and Face your Fear

Most times, we are afraid of something when we procrastinate. Try to find your fear and and face it. Then you can start creating and working.

What fear is holding you back? Try to look into your fear and face it: Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

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.

Set a limit for yourself and work on each of them until they are done, here’s how: How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

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.

In fact, taking a break helps with your productivity, here’s why: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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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. This list of tools will be very useful for you: 10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time

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. I’d recommend you to try some of these ways: How to Find Time for 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!

Bottom Line

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.

If you want a detailed guide on how to stop procrastinating, don’t miss this: What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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More by this author

CM Smith

A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make 5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed
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Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why We Procrastinate After All?

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

Is Procrastination Bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How Bad Procrastination Can Be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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Procrastination, a Technical Failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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