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How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make

How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make

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

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

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.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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