How to Not Procrastinate…and Get More Done.

how to not procrastinate

There are things in our lives that need to be done, but for whatever reason, we put it off.  Here are some ways to help you work through that, make progress, and move on.

  1. Determine What You Procrastinate

For me I let the shredding pile build up.  Who wants to take time to shred ten papers at a time for a bit, give the shredder a break, then go back to shredding, oh but wait it’s full now – when you have hundreds of papers? Hm. No thanks.  So it builds up and now I have a trash bag full.  I’ll need to set some time to start fresh.  Maybe I’ll do twenty minutes a day until it’s done and set a timer on my phone… Either way – this is something I should start with.

  1. Determine Why You Procrastinate

Too much work? Trying to avoid a conflict?  Scared or worried? Unsure where to start? There are many reasons why we put something off.  Knowing why you are in this situation can help you understand how to work through it.

  1. Change your Perspective

Sometimes I want to procrastinate putting my clean clothes away or the dishes.  I’ve found telling myself something like: ‘It’ll be done in a few minutes,’ or ‘Better to do it now while I’m thinking of it so I don’t have to worry about it later’ really helps to motivate me to do it.  After I feel much better and it really did only take a few minutes.

Sometimes I want to avoid a particular conversation because I’m worried how it’ll turn out.  In this case positive self talk really helps: ‘I’m sure they’ll understand; they have been in the past’ or ‘I can only do my best.’  This helps me push through the worries, bite the bullet, and get it over with.  Almost every time my worries were for naught.  

  1. Create a Manageable Goal or Plan

If something is daunting to you (like my pile of papers at school) or that big project you’ve been meaning to do.  Start small so you can ensure yourself success and progress.

At school when my papers overrun my counter, I want to do it all and have it all clean.  I know that isn’t realistic in forty five minutes.  So I start with one small pile that I know I can finish.  Then I move onto the next chunk.  I end up feeling more accomplished than if I started working on lots of the piles and didn’t finish any of them, leaving an even greater mess until I could finish.

So start small: one manageable chunk of work at a time.

Sometimes it’s not about work that keeps you from doing something, but the emotions.  Like the conversations I sometimes want to avoid.  In this case planning out your words helps.  Have someone else read it or talk it through with someone else.  Having a support network can help you work through the worry.

If it’s something you have to do that brings back sad or bad memories you’re putting off (like going through a loved one’s belongings after they’ve passed) , maybe tell yourself positive thoughts (embracing the good memories even if they make you sad) or have a reward for working through it. Ask a friend to be with you.  Work for a half hour, or whatever time you feel works for you.  Stop when you need to.  Taking care of your emotional health is just as important as responsibilities you have to do that you don’t want to.

No matter what you procrastinate in your life, you can work through it and complete the task.  We all know that sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to do so, but don’t forget to start small and be kind to yourself.

May you find the path that works for you so you get more things done.

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