How to stop procrastinating

Overcoming Procrastination: Strategies to Stop Delaying and Start Doing

How to overcome procrastination
  1. The Pomodoro Method
  2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  3. Create an Effective To-Do List
  4. Utilize the 2-Minute Rule
  5. Setup Accountability Systems
  6. Apply Mental Contrasting
  7. Identify and Eliminate Distractions


Procrastination is the enemy of students, working professionals, and entrepreneurs. Many of us have given in to the urge to put off what we could do today until tomorrow, and when the deadline comes around, we feel terrible that we didn't act sooner.

Today, with so many distractions and digital gadgets always calling, putting things off is easier than ever. This complete guide will help you understand the different levels of procrastination, figure out why we do it, and, most importantly, give you solid ways to stop it.


How to Solve the Puzzle of Procrastination

It is essential to understand why people put things off. Many people think it's a problem with managing their time, but it's usually caused by something more profound, like fear, wanting to be perfect, or not having enough desire to do what they want.

This blog isn't about blaming our weird psychological traits. Instead, it's a plan to avoid these problems and regain control of our work and, by extension, our lives.

How to procrastinate less

Timeless Techniques to Tackle Procrastination

There are many fronts in the fight against putting things off. Here are some tried-and-true methods backed by studies that work for a range of personalities and tastes:


1. The Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro Technique is built on 25-minute blocks of focused work and a short break. 

Here's how it works:

Set a Timer: Choose a task you want to work on, then set a timer for 25 minutes. This 25-minute period is called a "Pomodoro."

Work on the Task: Focus solely on the task at hand during the Pomodoro. Avoid any distractions or interruptions. The idea is to work with intense concentration for the entire 25 minutes.

Take a Short Break: Once the 25 minutes are up, take a short break of around 5 minutes. Use this time to relax, stretch, or do something unrelated to work.

Repeat: After the short break, start another Pomodoro by setting the timer for another 25 minutes and continuing to work on the task. Repeat this cycle of working for 25 minutes and taking a 5-minute break.

Long Break: After completing four Pomodoros, take a longer break of around 15-30 minutes. This longer break is meant to give you time to recharge before starting another set of Pomodoros.

The Pomodoro Technique helps break down tasks into manageable intervals, making it easier to maintain focus and avoid burnout. Additionally, the frequent breaks can help prevent mental fatigue and maintain productivity throughout the day.


2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Make your S.M.A.R.T. goals clear, easily measured, within reach, relevant, and limited in time. With S.M.A.R.T. goals, you have clear targets that leave no room for doubt or confusion. Setting goals that meet these criteria will help you stay focused and prevent you from putting things off out of fear of being too busy.

Here's what we mean by S.M.A.R.T goals.



3. Create an Effective To-Do List

To-do lists can be helpful and harmful at the same time. A poorly made plan can cause confusion and stress, but a well-thought-out one can be very motivating. Using the Eisenhower Matrix to set priorities, start each day with challenging or unpleasant tasks to keep going and avoid getting tired of making choices later in the day.


4. Utilize the 2-Minute Rule

You should do it immediately if you can finish a job in two minutes or less. Productivity expert David Allen popularized this rule. Doing this successfully stops minor problems from growing into bigger ones and helps you organize your daily tasks.


5. Setup Accountability Systems

People need to be accountable to others, and that can be a strong motivation. Outside accountability structures, like telling a friend about your goals, joining a study group, or getting a coach, can help you stay on track with your work.


6. Apply Mental Contrasting

As you think about the good things that will happen when you finish a job, you can use a technique called "mental contrasting" to help you picture them. By directly comparing the possible pleasure with the possible delay in completing the job, we can strengthen our resolve and often find the energy to start.


7. Identify and Eliminate Distractions

In this digital age, many things can confuse you. The first step is determining what distracts you: Is it your phone, social media, or the fridge? Once you know what is trying to get your attention, you can take steps to keep it from getting too much during focused work times.


How to eliminate distractions

How to Make Progress with Your Own Habits and Mindsets

The above methods give you tactical ways to handle your tasks, but the habits and ways of thinking you develop are just as important, if not more so, in the long run.


Nurture a Growth Mindset.

A growth mindset, believing that skills and intelligence can be improved, helps you see projects more open-mindedly and positively. It looks forward to obstacles and doesn't see failures as a sign of how good someone is but as a chance to learn and grow.


Regular Review and Reflection

Remember to check in on your work often. Think about what went well, what didn't, and why. Reflecting on yourself helps you stay on track with your goals and lets you make changes as needed.


Prioritize Sleep and Well-Being

A tired brain puts things off. Getting enough sleep, working out, and eating well should be top priorities because they are essential for brain health. Taking care of your mind and body will help you feel more energetic when you do things.


Reward Yourself

You can't say enough good things about positive feedback. Give yourself a small reward every time you finish a job, whether Instagram for five minutes, walking around the block, or indulging in a favorite snack. The little benefits like these make working more fun and satisfying.


Long-Term Plans for Long-Term Productivity

The goal is to stop putting things off for later and to create a way of life that encourages long-term success and productivity.


Craft a Routine That Works for You

People are creatures of habit, and a well-thought-out practice can give you the structure to stop putting things off. Figure out when you're most effective and plan your most important tasks for those times. Stick to the same daily routines and habits at work to build focus and routine.


Learn to Deal With Setbacks.

Setbacks are going to happen. How people handle these problems sets busy people apart from those who put things off. Building psychological resilience helps you get back on your feet after failures and losses, which makes procrastination less likely as a way to deal with stress.


Invest on Ongoing Improvement

Personal growth should always be a top concern. Investing in ongoing improvements, like reading books on time management, going to workshops on productivity, or finding a mentor, will make sure that you always have new tools and ways of looking at things to deal with procrastination head-on.

Check out our Ultimate 365 personal development books in ONE.


Best personal development books

Surround Yourself with the Right Environment

Your natural and social surroundings significantly impact how much you get done. Find and eliminate unhealthy relationships, and make your desk a good place to concentrate. Make sure your setting helps you reach your goals, whether it's a quiet corner at the library or your home office.


Sometimes procrastination seems like an impossible enemy to beat, but you can beat it if you have a set of methods, a proactive attitude, and a desire to keep learning throughout your life. Follow these ideas slowly, making changes to fit your specific needs, and see how things change as you stop putting things off and start doing them. In the future, you will be grateful.


Unlock your potential, defeat procrastination and keep growing with our summaries of 365 of the most influential books in personal development, business, psychology and many other self help topics.

Click here.

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