We get amazed when people finish all their tasks and still have time to do several different activities (gym, dance lessons, etc). Neither are they blessed with more time, nor with some unnatural powers. So how are these people able to stay so organized? Are they better than us?
Honestly, there is no secret. These are people who are able to overcome procrastination and make the most of the time. They know when to work, when to have fun & when to shut down.
Wish to be as productive as them? Here’s a list of 20 ways in which you can overcome procrastination with ease.
1. Remember: without effort, nothing is possible
There are no special tricks that will allow us to finish the task in less time. However, we can choose our attitude towards our responsibilities and how we act when faced with them. One tip is to stop viewing our tasks as obligations and take them on as challenges This way, you’ll be more motivated and satisfied once they’re completed.
2. Write down your priorities
If we start off our day thinking we need to do laundry, clean the dishes, write your 20-page paper, and make it to the gym, it would be quite stressful and you might end up not knowing where to start. However, if we lay out all our tasks and prioritize them it’s easier to tackle them and reach our goals.
3. Be a realist
It’s less probable to become a fluent Spanish speaker in two weeks when you are just a beginner, and it’s hard to do something to the best of your ability if you don’t have clearly defined goals. This is why it’s very important to not only know your goals, but also establish tasks that are attainable. It’s also paramount to know how to delegate tasks to others if convenient.
4. Remember what are your motivations
It’s absolutely necessary to know what we wish to accomplish. It’s important to lay out the steps to your goals so there’s no room for ambiguity. You can write these steps down on post-its or on your phone- the important thing is that it doesn’t remain a fantasy in your head, but that it actually becomes a reality.
5. Don’t be afraid to fail
Overcome your fear of failure. Many goals are reached by trial and error. In problem-solving, it’s important to try different paths to find the best outcome. Failure allows us to come up with creative solutions and challenges us to be better.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel satisfied with a task or it doesn’t make you happy, it’s fine to abandon it. The important thing is to make that decision calmly and not out of frustration or fear.
6. Plan your tasks
It’s not only about planning and not starting the task. We need to ask ourselves questions such as, what are the relevant tasks, how difficult is it, how much time will it take, etc. It’s important to divide each task into smaller tasks in order to not miss anything and tackle the objective with precision.
For example: If you want to get a driver’s license, it’s not enough to think “someday I will pass the test” or “I would love to go for a spin in my new car”. In order to overcome procrastination, you have to take your driver’s learning class, go to and participate in class, practice, etc. Set small goals that serve as guidance to an ultimate objective.
7. Set a time frame
This is a complicated task for a professional procrastinator. However, we can try to trick our minds with different deadlines ahead of schedule, allowing for a grace period to correct mistakes.
8. Reflect on your acts and emotions
If you stop for a moment after each day to reflect what you have accomplished and what is still pending, then you will have an overview of what task you have for the next day. Meditating on our emotions can help you deal with them accordingly, elevate your self-control and reduce anxiety symptoms.
Procrastinators tend to postpone tasks and not realize all the work they have accumulated. Therefore, reflecting can be a great tool to understanding and optimize our work habits.
9. Reward yourself for a job well done
After taking a look at all that you’ve gotten done, you’ll feel good (and maybe even surprised!). Give yourself a reward; an ice-cream, tickets to a movie, a trip, or whatever it is that you enjoy. Awareness of our positive outcomes raises our self-esteem and our self-efficacy.
10. Try to have fun with your job
We don’t always have our dream job or like everything in our school curriculum. However, making a “pros” list of the perks of working there, adapting the work environment to our liking and focusing on the positive aspects of the job are key aspects to overcome procrastination. Even starting tasks that seem difficult may sometimes surprise you and turn out to be better than you thought.
11. Make time to rest
Working while exhausted is counterproductive because it encourages procrastination. It’s important to sleep enough and at appropriate times of the night. Take into account that sleeping well improves your memory.
12. Take breaks
Even if we have a short deadline it’s important to take a few minutes away from the task at hand. This allows us to see our mistakes more clearly or find creative solutions to the problem. Nevertheless, it’s important to establish a concrete amount of time for our breaks, because if we don’t it can lead to endless procrastination time.
13. Keep a constant time for meals
Work or study schedules can vary enough for us to eat at different times each day, but it’s important to try to keep our meals at a constant hour of the day each day. Overcoming procrastination means keeping snack breaks under control.
14. Keep your desk clean
If we have our car keys, notes, colorful markers and a mix of miscellaneous objects on your desk, it’s more likely you will procrastinate or spend more time looking for things you need.
Making tidying up a habit is complicated for those who are not used to it, yet it’s never late to learn to organize your belongings. Overcoming procrastination starts with organizing our workspace to make it more comfortable for us.
15. Remove distractions from your view
It’s not enough to work in a tidy space that allows us to concentrate. You also have to know what elements are more prone to distract us and remove them from our view. For example, close unnecessary tabs from your computer put your phone on the other side of the room. Not seeing these elements help overcome procrastination by not allowing us to divide our attention.
16. Don’t get distracted speaking to others
It’s important to have social interactions, but it’s also imperative to concentrate at work. Therefore, when speaking to coworkers try to keep it short and to the point. Due to the fact that social support is fundamental for task accomplishment, your friends and family will understand if you keep to yourself while you’re working. Posting your work objectives on social media will help you overcome procrastination since others will not interrupt until work time is over.
17. Silence your phone
Phones are the most frequent distractions nowadays. When our attention is spent reviewing our personal social media or watching videos on Instagram, our levels of procrastination increase. It’s important to distance ourselves from our phone or put it on airplane mode in order to overcome procrastination.
18. Find your own method
You can combine the techniques and tips we have given you and even discard those that are not suited for you. The main idea behind overcoming procrastination is adapting each strategy to our personalities. Trying different tips will help you create your personal plan for overcoming procrastination.
19. Don’t excessively punish yourself for procrastinating
In order for overcoming procrastination to become a reality, it’s important to not focus on past procrastination but instead in the future. If we spend all of our time online shopping rather than working, the main thing is not to punish ourselves for it, but instead focus on the task at hand and dedicate a bit more time to finishing it. Deciding how to face future tasks differently and our attitude towards the future is part of overcoming procrastination.
20. Consult with a professional of you need extra help
Procrastination can be a sign of avoidance due to other psychological problems such as depression or anxiety. If you consider you have been procrastinating too much and start to notice it’s taking a toll on your life, we suggest that you see a psychologist who can guide you to overcome your procrastination.
If procrastinating has become an obstacle for your professional and personal development and growth, a psychologist may help identify and work on the underlying problem, therefore helping overcome procrastination.