Simple Tips to Help Prevent and Overcome Procrastination

Have you ever delayed finishing a task for whatever reason? If you nodded your head yes, then you have experienced procrastination – like the majority of us! Procrastination is a trap that most of us have fallen into at least one time. We are going to explore common reasons why we procrastinate and share some tips on what has helped us when it comes to putting things off. 


Sometimes procrastination can be viewed as laziness however the two are different. When you procrastinate you are actively avoiding a specific task and you choose to do something else that is more enjoyable or easier. A faulty sense of time can be another reason for procrastination. We may feel we have more time than we do to get something done. As time ticks away we are left with the lingering task that needs to get done. Now that we understand a little about why we put things off, here are a few things you can do to overcome procrastination. 


Recognize that you’re procrastinating: 

Not sure if you’re procrastinating or not? These are some common things you may do if you’re avoiding a task: 

  • Waiting to be for the “right mood” or “right time of day”
  • Reading the same email over without dealing with it
  • Starting a task and getting up to do something else (anything else) 
  • Changing the due dates on tasks to give you more time

If you do any of these or anything that resembles the above – you are procrastinating!


Commit to the task or tasks you put off: 

Focus on doing the task – from start to finish. Write down the task that needs to get done and commit to a time that you will do it. When you sit down to complete the tasks, put all of your energy and attention to getting it done. 


Minimize distractions: 

Turn off your notifications, social media, email and other sources of distraction. 


Create a to-do list: 

Every night make your to-do list for the following day. Add each task in order by priority. This will help to ensure you don’t “forget” about the tasks that you find unpleasant. You can also schedule your hardest or most time-consuming tasks to be completed during the time of you that you are at your best. 


Don’t try to be a perfectionist: 

Perfectionism is an all or nothing mentality. Something is either perfect or it fails. There is no in between. Waiting for the “perfect” time to start something is also a sign of being a perfectionist. Perfection and procrastination go hand in hand. Change your inner dialogue to be doing better or doing your best rather than perfect. Remember – done is better than perfect. 


Forgive yourself: 

Don’t beat yourself up about things you’ve put off in the past. If procrastination has caused you to feel guilt, stress, anger or upset, use that to make changes in your behaviours. Begin to implement new habits and changes when it comes to tasks you don’t overly enjoy. 


Set a reward: 

There is nothing wrong with finding something to reward yourself with once you have completed your tasks. Things such as a fancy coffee, tasty treat, binge-worthy Netflix show or any other guilty pleasure can be enjoyed once you’ve accomplished what you need to get done. 


Once you have recognized why you procrastinate, you can start to work on ways to overcome that behaviour. You may be surprised at what you can accomplish when you add positive changes towards certain tasks. 



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