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I used to be the absolute worst with procrastination.
I would get behind with everything then I’d scramble to meet deadlines, and it just used to make me feel so so shit.
I’m guessing if you clicked on this post you can relate…
However, then I figured out how to stop procrastinating, for good, which is exactly what I’m going to tell you about in this post!
Table of Contents
- Want to watch this post as a video?
- Why do we procrastinate?
- The Procrastination Solution
- FIVE BONUS Anti-Procrastination and Productivity Tips
- FREE GIFT FOR YOU
Want to watch this post as a video?
Why do we procrastinate?
I used to really really beat myself up about my procrastination habit until I realized why I procrastinated…
Like I would start off the day with a manageable to-do list.
Do a load of laundry, finish a report for work, clean the bathroom… So doable.
But then I would just procrastinate until suddenly it would get to like half four and I would’ve done nothing on my list. Yet somehow, magically, life will have added like six other items.
I bet you can relate to that.
So then I’d also need to go to the bank, call my auntie back, get a birthday present for someone, get a load of laundry dry and remember to grab something out of the freezer for tomorrow night.
None of these are major big things, but they definitely do all add up and it just starts to get really, really overwhelming.
And because I was so overwhelmed I would do the most logical thing…
Open up Facebook and start scrolling.
Really not helpful.
But you know what was causing me to procrastinate?
It was fear.
There was something, or even sometimes multiple things on my to-do list that I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do, scared I didn’t have the ability to get done, scared I wouldn’t have the time to get done. or scared it wouldn’t be good enough when I did do it.
Just a whole list of scared.
No wonder my brain was trying to put off the task. It was just trying to protect me and keep me happy and safe!
Except it was kind of making everything worse…
The Procrastination SolutionBut then, in one of my many researching sessions on trying to find some way to stop procrastinating, I came across this awesome quote. Unfortunately I don’t know who said it, but here it is:
“Just focus on starting and the finishing will take care of itself.”
Alright, I thought, I’ll give that a go.
And it did help quite a lot, well actually a lot a lot!
But it didn’t solve the issue until I realized why it worked.
Why just focusing on starting rather than the whole project, whatever it is you’re doing, has such a big impact.
Normally your first task to get something started is pretty easy.
Write a sentence, open a document, walk downstairs. All tiny, insignificant tasks.
All tiny, insignificant tasks that aren’t overwhelming or scary!
So then I started to break down those scary tasks on my to-do list that was causing me all the problems into inch by inch action plans.
So it was no more “go to the bank”, now it would be:
1 – Put on shoes
2 – Grab car keys
3 – Grab handbag
4 – Get in car
5 – Drive to bank
6 – Walk in bank (etc, etc, etc)
It seems like really really silly, right?
I mean, can you imagine that on your to-do list, it looks ridiculous.
But that’s the whole point. Because whilst you might think going to the bank isn’t a particularly overwhelming task, for some of us say with social anxiety and stuff like that, going to the bank can be a massive deal.
And there’s probably things on your to-do list that I might look at and have no problem with that you’re putting off and procrastinating on because they’re overwhelming to you.
So now we’ve taken that task that was so so overwhelming and turned it into a series of just really short and easy tasks. Like there is absolutely nothing scary about putting your shoes on. That’s easy to do. Tick, off the list, done.
And then when it’s that easy, there’s no need to procrastinate.
That’s the trick and that’s why the quote, “Focus on starting and the finishing will take care of itself,” is so important because we procrastinate when we see this big project that is just too much for us. It’s too scary. We don’t know how to do it.
But when you break it down into each tiny tiny easy peasy steps you just don’t need to procrastinate on picking up your handbag…
You just won’t.
It really works and that is how you stop procrastinating.
I told you it was really simple and easy and literally one tip.
It can feel like a bit of a pain at first. Breaking down your to-dos into those tiny tiny parts, but if it means you save seven hours of scrolling on Facebook I think it’s worth that extra 15 minutes…
FIVE BONUS Anti-Procrastination and Productivity Tips
Now while that is the tip I used to beat procrastination, and I use it even now a few years on from when I figured it out (I actually figured it out when my depression was really bad and I just needed to find out a way to still get stuff done because I had commitments like many of us do.)
However I do have a few other tips that can help with procrastination. They’re not quite as effective as the one I’ve told you, but if you want a little bit of an extra productivity boost then these can really really help.
Bonus Tip One: Progress Over Perfection
Always remember progress over perfection.
99% of the time you don’t need to be perfect, so just focus on progress.
In reality nothing’s ever perfect, but you will get pretty darn close to perfect when you just keep doing the thing.
The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
Bonus Tip Two: Plan Tomorrow the Night Before
Always, always, always plan tomorrow the night before, or if you prefer like I do, plan the whole week on Sundays.
It depends what works best for your brain, but always, always, always make sure you’ve planned before you actually wake up for that day because there is nothing worse for your productivity than planning that morning. It just completely throws the day.
However, when you’re planning that to-do list, make sure you put the most difficult task first.
That’s actually called eating the frog and there’s a book all about it, which you can check out here.
But the reason we want to do that is because if your most difficult task is first, and you have a load of other stuff to do, A) once you’ve got that first difficult task out of the way all those other things will be super easy in comparison and you’ll just rock through the list. And B) you kind of force yourself to get that difficult task done because you’ve got all this other stuff you have to do as well.
I always plan to do my most difficult task or the task I’m least looking forward to first. Basically the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on, get that done straight away.
Bonus Tip Three: Never Rely on Willpower Alone
Never ever rely on willpower and always try and make the task easier.
Willpower, yeah ideally it would work, but it doesn’t. Never assume it’s going to work, so make the task as easy as possible.
Trust me on this, just make it easy.
Whatever you can do to make it easier do it, don’t assume your willpower is gonna help you push through.
Bonus Tip Four: Try the Pomodoro Technique
I really recommend you give the Pomodoro Technique a try if you struggle with focus and/or getting started in particular.
Basically, it’s where you set a timer for 25 minutes and you work for 25 minutes, then you set a timer for five minutes and take a break for five minutes. And you keep repeating that pattern.
It works for two reasons.
One, because your actual working block is quite small so you feel like you can easily commit to 25 minutes of work.
Two, because you’re rewarding yourself for that work with a break, which is basic positive reinforcement (often used in dog and child training…) You could do the reward a little differently so it’s even more valuable to you, like you could reward yourself with a walk or a snuggle with your dog. But the whole idea of rewarding yourself each time you do something that’s a bit more difficult that you don’t love does really help!
Bonus Tip Five: Change Your Mindset
Change your mindset to be wanting rather than having to do the thing.
This may be a bit difficult because how many of us really want to do work?
But just change it in your head. So rather than thinking “I have to go and do work now” change it to “I get to go and do work now.”
Yes, it’ll kind of be a lie in your head, I get that, but just by changing how you’re thinking about it, by forcing yourself to think that way will make it easier and eventually your brain starts to believe it and you might even find yourself looking forward to work.
FREE GIFT FOR YOU
I really hope this post has helped you with!
Now if you clicked on this post because you’re actually working towards a goal, but procrastination among many other things, keeps getting in your way then I have something that could help!
It is a free PDF (because we all love free!) that you can download that is all about the NINE mistakes nobody talks about that stop you from hitting your goals!
And it might be possible that you’re making one of those mistakes and that they’re stopping your from reaching your goals!
So if your goal is getting further and further away or your progress just isn’t as fast as you would like, then click the button below and grab your FREE printable PDF .
Plus there *might* be a BONUS Goal Planning Worksheet in the emails that follow…