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6 Simple Tips on How to Stop Procrastinating

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How to reduce the tendency to delay priorities.

How to reduce the tendency to delay priorities.
How to reduce the tendency to delay priorities.

Procrastination, the habitual postponement of tasks that should be done now, is as natural as the need to eat or sleep. Most people procrastinate. However, unlike eating or sleeping, it is seldom beneficial and will get in the way of achieving your personal and professional goals.


Why do we procrastinate?

There are two reasons that are most common:

  • We tend to avoid unpleasant tasks and take the path of least resistance. If we have to do a job that seems boring or distasteful, we put it off – until it it can no longer be delayed.
  • The same happens with tasks that feel overwhelming. They might take a very long time, and we cannot see the end, so we become discouraged and leave them until later.

In the process, we sacrifice long-term benefits in the favour of minor, short-term benefits; we are giving up on what we want most for what we want at the moment.

Take control of your own life and significantly reduce procrastination by developing a “do it now” habit instead.
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Here are 6 tips on how to stop procrastinating:

  1. Identify what kind of jobs you tend to put off. Then focus on doing them one at a time. This way they become more manageable.
  1. Stop dragging out the inevitable: By postponing unpleasant jobs, we waste a lot of time and energy on anxiety rather than on action. Spare yourself unnecessary stress and get it over with. You will be more effective, knowing that no unpleasant task is hanging over your head.
  1. Making a public announcement or telling a friend about your commitment to stop procrastinating on a certain task will increase your incentive to persist. A promise of a reward for succeeding can also help.
  1. Perform distasteful tasks during your prime time – the part of the day when you are more mentally alert and energetic – so that it becomes easier. For most people this is first thing in the morning.
  1. Overcoming the overwhelming: Most jobs that produce the greatest value take longer periods of time. Unfortunately, they are the ones that encourage procrastination. To make sure they get completed, break the jobs into chunks and provide interim goals to keep you motivated. Be realistic and do not take on too much at a time. Small chunks will eventually get the job done, and no part of it will feel overwhelming.
  1. Deadlines make all the difference: You can trick your brain into meeting any due date by thinking differently about deadlines. If a deadline is perceived as something occurring in the present, we are more likely to begin the task. Thus, it might help to issue assignments so that the deadlines fall in the same week or month, for example, or breaking longer projects into sub-tasks with shorter deadlines.


More strategies on how to stop procrastination you’ll find in Harold L. Taylor’s eBook Procrastinate less & get more done.

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