9 essential steps to stop procrastinating and start getting things done:
Procrastination is a very common problem. It is also a huge obstacle to your personal development and success. It’s human nature to delay doing difficult and unpleasant tasks in favor of something easier and more pleasant. Unfortunately, doing things that are difficult and perhaps not the most enjoyable is needed for you to achieve your goals in life. The good news is, you can beat procrastination!
1. Divide and conquer
One reason you might be putting off starting or working on a task is that it seems enormous to you. You feel as though there is no point to starting something you feel you won’t be able to finish.
To combat this issue, break up your task into smaller subtasks which will take less time and energy. Then compose a sort of to-do list of these small subtasks for yourself with scheduled times to do them. This will make the task seem easier and you will feel more up to the job. After finishing each subtask, make sure to give yourself a break. Relax in a stress-free environment and don’t worry about the rest of the tasks until it’s their time.
2. Make the first subtask the easiest
Getting started is the toughest part of any task or job. By giving yourself the simplest task to do at the very beginning, you will make starting easier.
3. Get motivated
Make sure to contemplate the reasons behind what you need to do and why it is urgent. Try to find new reasons for doing unpleasant things that are important to you. Write down a list of reasons why YOU need to do this. Make it personal and focus on what this task means to YOU.
Use visualization to imagine what you want to accomplish with the task you keep delaying. See the task as your opportunity to achieve these things. By thinking about all the good things that you will gain from completing it, as well as seeing the task as an opportunity, you are associating positive emotions with the task and seeing it in a more positive light.
4. Stop the excuses
The best way to stop making excuses for procrastinating is to set your priorities straight. Make sure you don’t take excuses as valid reasons to stall.
Really think about each excuse. Don’t just let a fleeting thought of “I’m too tired” enter your mind and convince you just like that. Force yourself to think about the validity of the excuse- does that task really take all that much energy? Is having a bit of extra rest really more crucial than getting this done?
Don’t convince yourself that you will start the task after the excuse is eliminated, it is afterall an excuse, and what exactly it is isn’t really important. You will never run out of excuses. So the best thing to do is question them and reveal them to yourself as meaningless.
5. Don’t expect perfection
Nothing in this world is perfect. Make sure not to put unreasonable expectations on yourself.
6. Redefine failure
Fear of failure is a common problem for people when faced with new challenges. This is natural. You’re afraid that if you fail, you will have wasted your time and effort, as well as feel worse about yourself.
To get over that fear, think about completing the task as success itself. Even if your hard work still wasn’t enough to achieve your goal, you have succeeded in defeating your habit of procrastination by finishing the task and not giving up.
So really, at worst your life in general will remain the same after failing at this task, but you have conquered your tendency to procrastinate. Also, you will have learned something. Every experience is a learning experience.
It’s always worth it to do something rather than nothing. The only true failure you can experience is not starting the task at all.
7. Include other people
In order to feel more accountable for completing the task, make sure you tell some supportive people about it. This will serve as an excellent motivator for you throughout the whole project.
8. Set your own deadlines
From beginning to end, set deadlines for yourself for every part of the task.
Do this even if you have an external deadline set by someone else. Make sure that the deadlines are realistic. People have a tendency to set unrealistic deadlines for themselves. Set them as though you are setting them for someone else- that will help you do it in an objective, reasonable way.
9. Don’t let yourself get distracted
It’s common to sit down at a computer with the purpose of doing one thing, but quickly about forget it because of distractions such as surfing the web or playing computer games. What was at first meant to be a momentary break from the main activity completely draws you in.
Don’t let that happen. Your subtasks should be manageable enough that no breaks during them are needed. Make sure that when you need to start the task, there are as few distractions available to you as possible.