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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 January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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