Do you find yourself always procrastinating? Is this habit something you want to drop but do not know how to go about it? Then you are in the right place. This article discusses insightful tips that will help you learn how to not procrastinate.
If you’ve tried letting go of this habit before now, then you would agree with us that letting go isn’t so easy.
But with the right tips, it becomes doable.
And, thankfully, this article discusses some of these tips.
But before getting into all that, let’s take a quick detour and learn a few things about procrastination.
What Does It Mean to Procrastinate – How to Not Procrastinate
To procrastinate means to put off or delay doing a task that had otherwise been planned.
Procrastination makes people delay the things that they would have done earlier.
Most times, procrastination makes people start doing a task when it is almost due or even when it is already due.
People who procrastinate often delay the things that they should be doing to engage in other simpler or more enjoyable tasks.
A lot of times, the tasks they choose to do instead aren’t as urgent as the ones they procrastinated.
Procrastination is a bad habit and can create a major negative impact on a person’s job and life entirely.
If you are fond of procrastinating as a business owner, then your business might suffer a lot of the consequences.
Types of Procrastination – How to Not Procrastinate
According to some researchers, there are two major types of procrastination.
Active procrastination and passive procrastination.
People who actively procrastinate purposely delay starting a task.
They do this because they love to work under pressure.
They claim that working under intense pressure makes them feel more motivated.
On the other hand, people who passively procrastinate do so unintentionally.
They usually have problems when it comes to making and acting on their decisions.
Aside from these two types of procrastination, procrastination can also be classified based on behavioral patterns.
The following are some types of procrastinators based on behavioral patterns:
Perfectionists often procrastinate because they are afraid of not completing a job perfectly.
A perfectionist might tell you they are yet to start a task because the time is not right.
A typical perfectionist will always wait until they are sure they can do a task perfectly before they start doing it.
Over-doer – How to Not Procrastinate
People under this category often take on way too much work than they can do.
Because of this, they find themselves struggling to start or finish the numerous tasks they have on hand.
Worrier – How to Not Procrastinate
A worrier often spends all their time worrying rather than doing what they have to do.
They delay doing tasks either because they are scared of leaving their comfort zone or change.
Crisis-makers procrastinate actively.
They love to work under pressure.
So, they often delay jobs until the deadline is near.
Dreamer – How to Not Procrastinate
A dreamer is most often in a world of their own.
So, they often tend to put off doing something because they do not know how to pay attention to details.
Why Do People Procrastinate – How to Not Procrastinate
In this section, some of the common reasons people tend to procrastinate will be discussed.
Overcoming the habit of procrastination will be easier for you when you know the exact reason you do it.
Therefore, as you read through this section, analyze each point and figure out which is peculiar to you.
Perfectionism – How to Not Procrastinate
Perfectionism is thinking that everything should be done flawlessly.
This trait might seem desirable from the surface, but it most often isn’t.
This is because people with this trait often set very high standards that are most often unrealistic.
Because of this, they are scared of failing or being criticized.
Therefore, perfectionists tend to delay doing things because they often feel like they will not do them perfectly or well enough.
If this is the reason you procrastinate, you’d likely find yourself delaying doing things because you are waiting for the right time.
The sad thing is the “right time” most times never comes.
People with low self-esteem often have a lot of self-degrading thoughts.
They may always feel like they aren’t good enough, or they are bound to fail.
And because they end up believing these self-degrading thoughts about themselves, they tend to procrastinate.
If you procrastinate because of low self-esteem, then you most likely always think that you aren’t good enough.
These thought patterns will leave you unmotivated to get on with any task at all.
Most procrastinators have this habit because they do not want to face important things.
So, instead of doing what they ought to, they waste their time on irrelevant things.
You might have realized that you often prefer pleasure to progress.
When you should be working on a project, you’d rather be watching TV or scrolling on your phone.
Doing less important things rather than focusing on important tasks often denotes unconscious avoidance.
ADHD – How to Not Procrastinate
According to psychologists, procrastination can sometimes be linked to difficulty concentrating.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) makes concentration difficult for people who have it.
Usually, people with ADHD experience difficulty when it comes to starting a task or project.
If they eventually start, they most times can’t plan, prioritize, and remain on track.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Most people with OCD often tend to procrastinate too.
The reason for this is that people with OCD are usually chronic perfectionists.
Perfectionism is one of the major causes of procrastination because of their fear of falling short of their high expectations and standards.
Other than this, indecisiveness is also another trait OCD causes.
This makes people with this disorder procrastinate instead of deciding.
Depression – How to Not Procrastinate
Depression typically causes a feeling of helplessness, fatigue, and hopelessness.
These feelings often make it difficult for people struggling with depression to begin even very simple tasks.
Depression can also result in self-doubt and this makes it difficult for people suffering from it to complete a task even when they manage to start it.
This is because their self-doubt makes them feel insecure about their tasks and their ability to complete them.
Cons of Procrastination – How to Not Procrastinate
For some people, procrastination is seen as a way out.
A way to hold off doing important things until they are in the right frame of mind to start and complete the task.
This makes them see procrastination as a good thing with some key advantages.
However, this habit comes with so many disadvantages that are a lot more than whatever advantages you might think of.
Knowing these disadvantages will help you work harder towards letting go of this habit.
Therefore, let’s now look at some of these disadvantages.
Your Time Gets Wasted When You Procrastinate
There are only 24 hours in a day, and not all of these hours are spent at work.
So, time management is key for every business owner and leader.
Sadly, when you choose to procrastinate, you are simply wasting your time that should have otherwise been used for something meaningful.
You might also lose other opportunities when you procrastinate.
This is because if you do not finish your work in time, you won’t have the time to take on other tasks.
Procrastination Might Make You Miss Deadlines – How to Not Procrastinate
When you do not start your tasks and projects when you should, you’d most likely find yourself struggling to meet your deadlines.
Sometimes, you might even miss the deadline altogether because the task might end up being more complicated than you thought it is.
Constantly missing deadlines is bad and people might stop taking your business seriously.
Procrastination Might Halt Your Skills and Knowledge Development
Valuable skills and knowledge often come from experience.
When you procrastinate, you miss the opportunity to improve yourself and learn some important skills or knowledge.
Your Productivity Will Be Negatively Affected – How to Not Procrastinate
When you procrastinate, you end up not being as productive as you should have been.
If you constantly procrastinate, then your productivity level will substantially decline.
This is because, each time you procrastinate, the habit of procrastinating becomes reinforced.
Your productivity drops again, and with time, being highly productive will become very difficult for you.
Tips on How to Not Procrastinate
Since you now know the cons of procrastinating, certainly, you want nothing more than to get rid of this habit.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to let go of bad habits.
But when the right tips are followed, it becomes a whole lot easier.
Therefore, below are some sure tips that will help overcome procrastination.
1. Break the Task into Steps – How to Not Procrastinate
Sometimes, people procrastinate because the task they have to handle seems too big to them.
If you find yourself procrastinating because you feel overwhelmed by the job you have to do, then breaking the task into bits and pieces might help.
When you break your tasks into steps, you can easily concentrate on one step without feeling overwhelmed.
If you are still intimidated by the task after breaking it down, break the steps into more steps.
Completing the entire task will be a lot easier when you break it into tiny bits.
Sometimes, the job might end up not being as challenging as your mind might have painted it to be.
So, whenever you have a challenging task, do not procrastinate.
Instead, make a list of the small steps you need to take to get the task done.
2. Have Deadlines for Each Step
When you have just one deadline, the chances of you procrastinating are higher.
This is because you may constantly look at the deadline and feel you still have all the time in the world.
You most likely will keep putting off doing the task until your deadline is just by the corner.
Rather than putting yourself in this tight spot, make sure each step has its specific deadline.
When every step has its deadline, you’d try to make sure you meet up each of these deadlines.
Have it at the back of your mind that if each deadline isn’t met, the whole plan will be a waste.
This will give you a sense of urgency to make sure you don’t put off meeting the deadline of every step.
3. Stop Making Things Seem More Complex Than They Are – How to Not Procrastinate
Remember perfectionism as one of the reasons people tend to procrastinate.
Perfectionists will always want to wait for the right time before they start a project or task.
This is because they have conditioned their minds to think that something is bigger or more complicated than what it is.
If this is the case with you, then you need to ditch this mentality.
You need to stop overanalyzing things and just get doing already.
Make yourself realize that the task you are about to embark on might not turn out perfect, and that is okay.
You do not have to do the task flawlessly.
Do not overcomplicate simple tasks by putting too much pressure on yourself to make them flawless.
4. Change Your Work Environment – How to Not Procrastinate
The environment you choose to work in can significantly affect your productivity.
For instance, your workspace might be set up to be so comfortable that you find yourself wanting to nap rather than work.
You should note that a workspace that made you feel inspired to work once upon a time can lose this effect.
So, you need to assess your workspace and find out if it inspires you to work or not.
If it doesn’t, then you may have to change it into something more inspiring.
Find out the elements that will make you concentrate on your tasks and then add them to your workspace.
5. Remove Distractions
Procrastinators usually put off doing important things in favor of other unimportant things.
These things are merely distractions that take their minds off the things that they should be doing.
Therefore, one way to stop procrastinating is to take away your distractions.
Think of the unimportant things that take your productive time and then remove them whenever you are working.
Your distraction can be your emails, social media, favorite TV show, hobby, and so on.
Let’s assume your distraction is social media.
When you are working, you can briefly turn everything off while you work.
Some people go as far as deleting their social media accounts.
This is a bit too extreme, but if that is what works for you, then do not hesitate to try it out.
6. Plan Your Day– How to Not Procrastinate
One way to make sure you do not procrastinate during the day is to plan the day before you even head out.
This way, instead of starting the day with no clue and then frantically trying to figure out things you need to do, you would already have a clear map of things you have to do.
To ensure you do not procrastinate on the tasks you have for the day, make sure each of them is scheduled.
This way, you will have enough time to carry out your important tasks and not procrastinate because you didn’t remember to do them on time.
7. Do the Hardest Task First – How to Not Procrastinate
When you make plans for the next day, you should always prioritize your tasks.
The hardest job should always come first.
Do not keep your hardest task till the end of your day if not, you won’t feel motivated enough to do it later on in the day.
Tackling your hardest task first thing every morning will leave you feeling better and motivated enough to handle the easier tasks of the day.
8. Motivate Yourself – How to Not Procrastinate
Be your motivation whenever it feels like a task is too difficult for you to handle.
One way to motivate yourself is self-talk.
Self-talk can help you stay calm, focused, and motivated even in the face of the most difficult task.
If you feel nervous about a task, ask yourself why you feel nervous and encourage yourself that you can tackle it.
Learn to be your cheerleader at all times.
You can choose to self-talk loudly or mentally based on the environment you find yourself.
9. Do Not Be Too Hard on Yourself When You Procrastinate
Procrastination is a habit, and like any other habit, it is not something you can get rid of immediately.
So, as you try to stop procrastinating, you might sometimes fall into the habit again.
When this happens, do not be too hard on yourself.
Instead of getting angry and spending your time feeling remorseful, motivate yourself and move on.
10. Reward Yourself – How to Not Procrastinate
If you procrastinate because you want to avoid the stress of working on a project or task, then you need all the motivation you can get.
Getting yourself a reward is one way to motivate yourself to get the task done.
Promise yourself something you’ve always wanted or something you like doing as a reward for getting the task done.
This way, even when the task seems too difficult, the reward will be a source of motivation.
Anticipating a reward will help you stay on track regardless of how stressful the job is.
Conclusion on How to Not Procrastinate
When you procrastinate, you most likely will end up with more work on your hand than what you would have had if you hadn’t procrastinated.
Procrastination has so many disadvantages that can hold you back from reaching your full potential as a business owner and leader.
This is why you have to do everything possible to let go of this habit; the tips shared above will help you along the way.
However, you should note that if you are a chronic procrastinator, then letting go of this habit won’t be something that will happen immediately.
You should know that sometimes you may end up procrastinating despite your efforts.
When this happens, do not beat yourself up or be too harsh on yourself.
Instead of doing this, motivate yourself, and get back on track.