How to Stop Procrastinating: Follow these 8 Easy Tips
Apr 26, 2021
Procrastination is one of the most common and frustrating problems. In fact, I am procrastinating right at the moment I’m writing this article.
We all have those days where we just can’t seem to get off the couch or when we find ourselves scrolling through our Instagram feed for hours instead of tackling that important work project. When it comes to beating procrastination, there are plenty of hacks out there for you to try.
The problem with chronic procrastination is that it can take a toll on your career and well-being in the long run. In this article, you’re going to find some tips from experts on how you can stop being so easily distracted by other tasks and start focusing on what needs to be done right now.
What is procrastination?
Shortly, procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. It is the intentional avoidance of a task we have a deadline for. Pretty much, all of us procrastinate. We all pass through moments when we avoid doing things we don’t like or those we’re afraid of, or that we feel overwhelmed to deal with. Anything that seems overwhelming falls into the “I’ll do it later” procrastination bin.
How can procrastination affect you?
First of all, procrastination affects your business’ success. When you’re procrastinating, you’re missing opportunities. Sometimes opportunities present themselves, but you’re not quick enough to attract them.
Secondly, mistakes can occur when you wait until the very last moment to do something meaningful. Sometimes essential things get left out for the longest time, and then you need to deal with it in a matter of minutes. Does that sound familiar? Avoiding a task never solves it.
Thirdly, it can give you a bad reputation. For example, you don’t want to be that hairstylist who doesn’t pay the suppliers on time or who always promises to remodel the salon, but she/he never actually does it. A bad reputation will eventually affect the way you interact with your clients and providers and will ruin everything you’ve built in your business.
How to stop procrastinating?
Here are 6 easy tips you have to considern if you want to stop procrastinating in your daily life.
1. Write down your tasks
Do you find yourself putting off important tasks until the last minute? If so, you’re not alone. The best way to avoid procrastinating is by making a list of all your tasks and finding the perfect tool for you. For example, you could use Trello or Google Keep to write down your to-do list, your in-progress tasks, and your finished ones.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the activity might seem – if you want to get things done, you need to go up on your checklist with instructions on what you should do. This will help you avoid procrastinating because you will not have that fear of forgetting something anymore.
2. Break down your big tasks into smaller, more manageable parts
Specifically, I’m talking about making a difference between strategy and tactic. Even though many people think it’s the same thing, strategy and tactic are two words that can mean a lot of different things, depending on the context.
Strategy refers to the overall approach used by an individual or group to reach their goals. Tactics refer to specific plans of action designed to achieve that goal.
If you want to be productive and stop procrastinating, write down your tactics and split them into small tasks. This way, every time you’ll finish a task, you’ll gain instant gratification for what you did and you’ll have even more motivation to go on.
3. Set deadlines for yourself and stick to them
Well, yeah, you must hear about deadlines again. Why are they so important? Because if you don’t have a deadline, you’ll live with the impression that you can do that task whenever you want. But it’s not like that.
We love to say “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “I’ll start it on Monday,” but there’s no tomorrow, or Monday, or next week. If you have something to do, finish it now and enjoy your time after that. Because if you don’t, not only you’ll have your work pending, but you’ll live stressed with the permanent feeling that you have something to do, ending in anxiety.
4. Get started with the most difficult task first (if possible)
It is essential to do the hard part first, and enjoy the light tasks after. According to statistics, our abilities are higher in the morning. We are the most productive between 08 AM-01 PM. On the other hand, the least productive hour of the day is after lunch, around 01:30 PM, when our body begins to focus all its energy on food digestion.
If you want to avoid procrastination, try to make your to-do list by putting your hard tasks earlier in the day, so you’ll not have to think about them all day long.
5. Take advantage of technology
Lately, technology has a solution for everything. A smartphone can keep track of our sleep hours, counts how many miles we’ve walked during a day, wakes us up, and sends us to bed with a notification.
Now, what if I say there are apps that can help you save time and avoid procrastination? An example of such an app if you’re working with appointments is an appointment scheduling app. The one I’m talking about allows you to easily schedule appointments, send automated reminders to clients reducing your no-shows, and lets your clients book online on your own online booking page. Now, how cool is that? You don’t have to procrastinate anymore with your pen and paper in your hands… the app does it all for you.
6. Reward yourself when you meet your goals
I’ve already mentioned above that we need instant gratifications in order to be motivated to move to the next task. If you don’t know how to put yourself together and finish what you have to do, just think about what you’ll do after that. “When I finish this haircut, I’ll have a coffee break,” or “after I finish reviewing my financial reports, I will have a walk with my dog” are just some examples of how you can reward yourself after doing what you have to.
7. Stop scrolling through social media
Maybe this is the hardest step when you want to stop procrastinating. There are many things smartphones are useful for, but scrolling through Instagram and TikTok are not on the list.
Social media platforms are an escape from the daily grind and offer funny videos to cheer up your day, but here’s the trap: we lose the notion of time and we find ourselves lost there scrolling for hours, wasting time in the most inefficient way possible.
A great solution for this would be to disable your notifications for social media apps in your phone. Yeah, the first thing in your mind maybe is the same as mine: “so I’ll have to check my phone even more often than before, not to miss some important messages”.
Let me tell you something: if someone needs to tell you an important thing, they call. Secondly, this is the trick: that you’re not bothered anymore by those non-essential social media messages from people that you probably don’t know or sharing information that you probably don’t need to see. This is how to stop procrastinating: not letting notifications and unessential information distract you from the things, people, and activities that really matter.
8. Get enough sleep and eat healthy
Sleeping well and eating healthy food is not only about a diet when you want to lose weight. They are the main elements that keep you in shape and energized for your daily activities. Without those 8 hours sleep and vitamins from food, you will not be able to do your best either personally or professionally. Oh, one more thing: try to make a vice from healthy things/ activities.
Now I’m curious: what are your methods to stop procrastinating? What do you do to put yourself together and start being productive? Let us know in the comments section below what works best for you. 🙂