How to stop procrastinating

Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

This is one of those things I’ll openly admit I still struggle with. It’s hard work shaking it off. But I’m getting better at it and that’s all that matters right?..

I like to think I’m quite organised and focused, but some days all I seem to do is procrastinate. I could have a list as long as my arm but still not be able to snap out of it. I have a million and one things to do, places to go, people to see but absolutely nothing in me to get it done.

I’m learning though so that’s a good sign.. I feel like at the moment I’m managing to keep procrastination to a minimum, and I’m happy about that.

Anyway, there are a few things I’ve been doing that have seriously helped with the process. And although I’m not perfect at it just yet, they have definitely made a difference and could do to you too..

Set yourself achievable goals – Just to be clear, you can do absolutely anything if you put your mind to it, so nothing is unachievable. I just mean, set goals that are in your reach at that time, taking into consideration; time, money etc.

Break down goals – Instead of frying your brain with a goal, break it into small pieces. Looking at a goal as a whole can be kind of daunting, but when it is broken down into smaller goals it makes them much more manageable. Once you get started on the smaller goals, the bigger ones don’t seem so hard.

Start with smaller tasks – work your way up to bigger ones – This could work both ways, you could start with the harder ones to get them out of the way or vice versa. It purely depends on the sort of person you are and which technique works the best for you. If you’re not sure, try them both.

Organisation – Organisation is the key for me being productive and therefore not procrastinating as much. I find that when I’ve got everything planned out in front of me I can spend less time thinking about it. The ground work is already done for me, all I have to do is the actual task. As far as blog post go (I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post). I try and get everything ready, my notebook filled with blog post ideas, the post I’m going to write today, broken down into smaller parts and all the information I want to include. This works the best for me, having it all prepared ready.

Use lists – I’m pretty sure I’ve wrote about this before too, I’m very much a list person. I love lists of all kinds, I have lists on top of lists. It’s just a technique that works for me. I’ve always been the same, ever since I was a child. If I have it in front of me, everything I need to do that day, I will do it. There’s nothing worse than looking back at the list you wrote the previous day and realising you haven’t done any of it. It’s a kick up the bum if you like, just in paper form.

Create a timeline/ schedule – I suppose these work in the similar way to lists. But they come in very handy. If organisation is what works for you then a schedule will too. You can buy cute little books that takes away all the hard work of creating a schedule/timeline (or you could just use a piece of paper), both will do the job. Write down everything you need to get done that day, but in the order you would like to do it in, this way you can tick it off as you go along. Write down at what time you want to do a certain task, it helps with time management too.

Routine – Routines are handy in every day life, not just to avoid procrastinating. I’m very much a routine person, I like a routine, it gives me a sense of control. Don’t get me wrong, some days I don’t follow them but it’s not all that often. I like my routine, it fits around my life perfectly. This way if there is anything I need to squeeze in, I can make a bit of time.

Always take breaks – Breaks are super important, especially if you want to avoid procrastinating. I find that if I don’t take breaks every now and then I lose my concentration. I become bored and lack inspiration, sometimes we just need to step away for a moment in order to keep our creative juices flowing. 5 or 10 minutes will do the trick, go grab a cup of tea or a snack, sit outside in the fresh air if the weather is nice or simply go and cuddle your pet. Do whatever you like, just take a break from your task.

Move away any distractions – *Your phone*. Phones being the obvious one but everyone has their own individual distractions. Whatever they may be, move them out of reach. I find myself reaching for my phone, especially when I’m doing something that requires lots of my attention, it’s a distraction technique that I don’t necessarily like. So now I move it out of my way so I can concentrate properly and just get on with it.

Put time limits on things – If you work better under a little bit of pressure (time limits) then do this. Work out how long it may take you to do the task and set yourself a time limit. If you’ve got a busy day and you need to utilize it as best as you can, time limits will come in very handy.

Do the hard things first – I mentioned this briefly in another point. This works the best for me as a pose to doing the easier things first. The hardest tasks that require lots of attention and possibly lots of time are best to be done straight away, probably first thing in the morning. My brain works at it’s best in the morning so this is when I tend to do them.

Tell someone about your goals – Confide in someone about your goals, no matter how small. Telling someone about them is a little bit like an insurance policy. Once they are aware of your goals, it makes it harder for you to not complete them. Mainly because you don’t want to go back on your word, but also because sometimes we need a little kick up the bum and they can provide this. They can help motivate and push you whenever you may need it.

Change your environment – Sometimes changing your environment can help. It can become a little tedious if we sit in the exact same space day in day out. We become so accustomed to our normal space that we end up losing our creative flare. Change it up a bit every now and then, sit outside if the weather is nice (which is where I am writing this post). Go sit in a cafe or simply just change rooms.

Hang out with people who inspire you – This isn’t always that simple, we don’t all have people around us that can give us some inspiration. If you do, then great, use that as much as possible. Being around like minded people has a way of helping us reach our goals. We can definitely do it without the need of other people, but it can be nice to be around people who have similar goals to us. Someone to bounce ideas off is always good.

Don’t be so hard on yourself – Nobody’s perfect – Most importantly, give yourself a break. You don’t need to be perfect at everything, nobody is. Allow yourself time to make mistakes (we need them to improve). Procrastinating is annoying and we all wish we didn’t do it, but we do.. and that’s fine. Use as many of these techniques as you can, find the ones that work the best for you. And just give it a go.

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