With social media such a prominent part of everyday life nowadays, not to mention the fact that we seem to spend over 50% of our lives glued to our phones, it’s easy to see why people find it so hard to focus and concentrate.
The internet is the procrastinator’s best friend, and while that’s all well and good if you’ve got nothing to do, if you are trying to work, study, or be productive, procrastination is something you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
Don’t get us wrong, procrastination can be approached positively with a little know-how, but generally, it is something you’ll want to avoid if you are looking to become more productive.
For those looking for tips on how to stop procrastinating, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you have a report to file, an impending deadline looming, a workout to go crush, or anything else for that matter, here are several tips on how to stop procrastinating.
1. Create a detailed timeline
Okay, we’re all guilty of spending too much time online, looking at memes and watching funny videos when we should be working, but the fact is that some people are more guilty than others.
If you’re spending too much time procrastinating, whether it be on the web, talking to friends, watching TV, or anything else, a great way of getting back on track is to create a detailed timeline for you to follow.
If you’ve got several jobs due, make a timeline for when each job needs completing by, and then set specific goals relevant to that job.
If for example, you have an essay to write, each day set yourself a set amount of words to complete before you get to leave the computer and enjoy your free time. The amount of words you set as a target will depend on you, but don’t leave your desk until you’ve met the goals set out in your timeline.
2. Remove yourself from distractions
In terms of how to stop procrastinating, distractions are certainly worth taking into consideration. Sometimes distractions are unavoidable, especially when working from home, but if you can remove yourself from them, you should remove yourself from them.
If for example, there’s a TV on in the background, perhaps being watched by one of the kids, providing you can do so, why not take your work and find a quieter part of the house? It’s not ideal, but if the TV is no longer distracting you, at least you can get some work done.
If there are people at work who keep talking to you, or even each other, when you’re trying to work, again, try to find a quieter part of the office to go and work in.
3. Use the 5-minute rule
The 5-minute rule is often encouraged by experts when it comes to avoiding procrastination, and it is very simple to apply.
The basic premise behind the 5-minute rule is that, if you are planning a job that takes less than 5 minutes to complete, don’t plan it and think about it in your head, instead, just get off your butt and do it.
Say, for example, you’ve eaten your dinner and know that you have a sink full of dishes to wash. You could go and sit and watch TV, and constantly tell yourself in the back of your mind that you’ll wash the dishes after your favourite TV show has finished, or you could simply spend less than 5 minutes just doing them and getting the job out of the way.
That’s all well and good for odd jobs around the home, but what about complex jobs in the workplace that will take several hours? Well, again, apply the same principle, but instead of the 5-minute rule, how about going with the 1-hour rule?
Basically as far as how to stop procrastinating goes, the message to take home here is to not think about doing something and don’t keep psyching yourself up and telling yourself you’ll do it later, instead, just go ahead and get started.
4. Remove any distractions
Earlier, we spoke about the importance of removing yourself from any distractions wherever possible, but what about for people who constantly find things to distract them when they’re supposed to be doing something productive? Well, in this instance, you’ll have to take some responsibility and get rid of these distractions.
Your phone for example, is likely one of the biggest distractions going, and if you constantly find yourself reaching for your phone and checking social media or browsing the web when you’re supposed to be working, go ahead and place the phone out of arm’s reach.
Even if you need the phone for work, just place it somewhere that would require you to get out of your seat and check it, and you’ll be amazed by what a difference it makes. If your phone is within arm’s reach, the temptation will always be there to pick it up and check it.
The same principle goes for a TV, a loud radio, magazines, books, or anything else that is likely to distract you and cause you to procrastinate.
As the saying goes ‘out of sight, out of mind’ but just make sure that doesn’t apply to your work or the jobs you’re supposed to be doing.
5. Change what you’re doing
If you’re finding yourself constantly distracted and finding various ways of procrastinating and putting off what you’re meant to be doing, why not change what you’re doing?
If you’re looking for tips on how to stop procrastinating, one of the best things that you can do is change your surroundings and change what you’re doing.
By doing this, you are essentially breaking the cycle of procrastination, and you can therefore use it as a way of “rebooting” yourself and getting in the right frame of mind.
If you’re sat at your desk, scrolling through social media on your phone, put the phone down, stand up, leave the desk and go for a short walk or perhaps do some light stretching? Basically, get up, move about, and do something that breaks the cycle of procrastination.
6. Set yourself reminders
In terms of how to stop procrastinating, accountability is very important.
One of the best ways to beat your procrastination is to set up reminders so that you’re holding yourself accountable.
If for example, you’re writing an essay or working on a specific project, use your phone, tablet, smart speaker, or any other device and set yourself reminders regularly to stop wasting time and to do what needs to be done.
Some people take this a step further and set reminders which provide them with motivational quotes, speeches, or even songs that motivate them and inspire them to be productive, to work hard, and to do what needs to be done.
7. Make yourself accountable
When setting reminders, you’re making yourself accountable to yourself, and your smart device, but not your peers, family, friends, colleagues, or anybody else for that matter.
As mentioned, accountability is crucial for anybody looking to beat the dreaded procrastination bug, so go ahead and make yourself accountable whenever possible.
For anybody looking for tips on how to stop procrastinating, be vocal about your goals and targets, and perhaps even tell people around you to say something to you if they see you slacking off or doing anything other than the tasks which you are supposed to be doing.
8. Try to wake up early
If you watch motivational videos or listen to motivational speeches from successful and driven individuals, one thing nearly all of them will say is that waking up early is a great way to become more productive.
Try to wake up an hour earlier than you’re used to as that way you can plan your day properly and get done all of the smaller tasks which may have been holding you back.
If for example, you work from home and have got to prep lunch and/or do the dishes, by getting up early you can get them out of the way nice and early so that you can go ahead and focus on the more important and more pressing tasks ahead.
An hour doesn’t sound like much, but when you wake up an hour earlier and get started on the smaller, more distracting jobs, that hour makes an enormous difference.
9. Go to bed earlier
A lack of sleep is one of the worst offenders for a procrastinator as, when we’re tired, we often find ourselves lacking energy and motivation, and find that our minds wander and we get distracted much easier.
Not only that, but if you’re going to be waking up earlier, you need to be going to bed earlier to make up the difference.
Each night, give yourself a set routine for going to bed and give yourself a set time for going to bed and getting to sleep.
Sleep is needed to mentally and physically recharge, and providing you are getting enough; it’s a great way to be more productive and to get more done.
10. Keep your workspace clean and tidy
As another saying goes ‘tidy office, tidy mind’.
For anybody looking for tips on how to stop procrastinating, one of the simplest and most effective strategies is to keep your workspace clean and tidy.
If your workspace is free of clutter, dust, and detritus, you’ll quickly discover that you can find things much easier, and your motivational levels will also be boosted by being in a nice, clean, and organized workspace.
We aren’t saying that you need to deep clean your entire office and workspace, but try to keep it clean and organized, and you’ll find that your motivation increases and you’ll be less tempted to procrastinate when you know you should be working.
11. Stop making things more complicated than they need to be
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to finding ways of how to stop procrastinating is they make things more complicated than they need to be.
Instead of going from A to B, in their heads, people will go from A to D, to J, to P, to Z, and finally to B.
Stop looking for excuses and trying to talk yourself out of doing something because of some obscure reason and instead get started now. If you wait for the perfect time to start, you’re going to be waiting a very long time because there is no perfect time to start.
Stop making things harder than they need to be, stop running hypothetical situations and outcomes around in your head and instead just go ahead and get started.
12. Stop making excuses
Another common mistake that people make when it comes to procrastinating is that they spend too much time making excuses and talk themselves out of doing what it is that they’re supposed to be doing.
If you’ve got to cut the grass and have been putting it off, don’t talk yourself out of cutting it because there are a few dark clouds in the sky or because it’s a bit chilly. Instead, throw on a warm top and get out in the garden and get that grass cut.
In terms of how to stop procrastinating, stop looking for excuses because, in all honesty, if you’re looking for an excuse, no matter how trivial it may be, you will find it and you will talk yourself out of doing whichever tasks you’re supposed to be doing.
13. Turn tasks into routines
One very effective strategy for people searching for tips on how to stop procrastinating is to turn everyday tasks into routines.
If for example, every day at work you know you have to sort through emails before you can start work, don’t just read an email or two here and there, instead, get into a routine of setting aside 10 minutes or so every morning at work, and dedicate it solely to reading and replying to emails.
When you turn tasks into routines, they become second nature to you, and you’ll find it much easier to get them done and out of the way.
Once you turn the repetitive and monotonous chores into routines, they will require less effort, and you’ll already be mentally prepared for getting them out of the way before you’re able to start working properly.
14. Learn how to say no
Some people find it much easier to say no than others.
Whether you’re a people pleaser, or whether you just struggle to say no to people, no is a word which you should familiarize yourself with if you wish to be able to get through the day without procrastinating.
If you’re supposed to be working on a report due at the end of the day, learn how to say no to a colleague who is perhaps asking you to do an errand or chore which they could quite easily do themselves.
This may sound harsh, and we certainly aren’t saying that you should become a cold-hearted and selfish individual that never helps anybody but themselves, but sometimes when it comes to ways of how to stop procrastinating, you need to be a little selfish, and you need to prioritize yourself.
15. Don’t try to rush
Another awesome tip based upon how to stop procrastinating is to slow down.
The simple fact of the matter is that we’re all late now and then, we all make mistakes, and sometimes, we will miss deadlines or underestimate how long a task is going to take, which will result in us being late.
If you have a task to complete which, you know straight away is going to take longer than you first anticipated, don’t try to beat the inevitable by trying to meet a deadline which is impossible to meet.
Instead, try to reorganize your schedule, move some things around, and don’t be afraid to be honest and ask for an extension if needed. It’s not great not being able to keep your word and do something when you said you’d do it, but if you’re open and honest and explain the situation, the individual you’re doing the work for will likely appreciate your honesty, request a new estimation for completion and be more than happy to grant it to you.
If you try to rush, you’ll place yourself under a great deal of stress, plus the quality of the work will suffer, and nobody wants that.
16. Try to make it enjoyable
Okay, we understand that sometimes work isn’t fun or enjoyable, but whenever possible, if there is a task that you keep putting off, try to find ways of making it fun.
If you know you need to clean the house for example, why not throw some of your favourite music on to make the cleaning more enjoyable?
If the jobs that you’re doing can’t be made enjoyable, how about giving yourself rewards for meeting specific goals and targets?
Put simply, if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and will be less likely to procrastinate.
So, there you have it, just a few tried and tested methods on beating procrastination.
If you have been looking for tips on how to stop procrastinating, hopefully, the tips you’ve read about today can be implemented to help get you back on track and meeting your objectives sooner, rather than later.
So, put down the phone, stop watching funny videos, stop looking at memes, and stop procrastinating!
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