10 Ideas How to Overcome Procrastination

Do you know what happens when you give a procrastinator a good idea? Nothing!

Procrastination can be your most expensive cost in life and business, leading to stress, misunderstandings and missed opportunities.

When you scroll on social media, surf the internet, read blogs, watch YouTube or binge on Netflix instead of doing something more productive – realize you’re putting your dreams, goals and desires on hold.

When you imagine a highly productive person, you might think of someone who can focus without effort and never falls to procrastination. You know, the type who sits on the floor in a train station with their laptop and still manages to get more done in an hour than you would in a day at the library.

The truth is, even the most productive people face the same procrastination challenges as the rest of us. The difference is, they apply strategies that beat procrastination before it takes hold of them.

Here are 10 ways to overcome procrastination… starting with understanding WHY you procrastinate:

1. Figure Out Why

When you’re not in the mood to work, procrastination is telling you something important. It could be simple, as the need to take a break or get something to eat. It can also be something complex, as you’re carrying the team on your back or you’re unhappy. Whatever it is, instead of punishing yourself for procrastinating, take a moment to reflect and figure out why you’re procrastinating. This can be the most productive step you take in accomplishing your task.

2. Remove Your Obstacles

Before starting on a task, take a moment to consider the obstacles that might get in your way. Then, develop a plan to ensure they don’t.

3. Remove Distractions

Even if you do everything right, working in the wrong space could lead you to procrastinate. Keep yourself away from social media, television, electronics, friends, kids and loud places.

4. Jump Right In

Start before you are ready. Many people think too much and take too little action. Set your timer and take action immediately. I call it “Speed of Implementation”.

5. Break Up a Project into Smaller Tasks

We often procrastinate because we feel intimidated by the size of a project, which can cause overwhelm and the famous “analysis-paralysis” phenomenon before you even start. Break up the big goal into smaller tasks so you create consistency and increase your confidence and momentum.

6. Practice Micro-Productivity

Micro-productivity is a systematic approach to breaking a project into smaller tasks. It includes 3 steps: First – identify/brainstorm all tasks and ideas. Second – label your tasks by category or activity. Third – complete each task by label or category one-by-one.

7. Celebrate Small Victories

There’s nothing quite like checking something off of your to-do list, to keep yourself from procrastinating. You need to experience this sense of accomplishment by tracking your progress carefully. It’s not about doing small tasks to avoid big tasks; it’s about including small tasks in your daily checklist to build your confidence and momentum.

8. Use Momentum

Once you begin taking action, use the momentum to complete other tasks and projects you may have put off.  When fighting procrastination, momentum, motivation, and clarity are your best friends. The worst time to try and fight procrastination is when you’re standing still.

9. Don’t Be a Perfectionist

We tend to freeze when it’s time to start because we know our ideas aren’t perfect. We fear that what we will produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve?

10. Use an Accountability Buddy/Mastermind Group

Most times, entrepreneurs tend to procrastinate because they do not have anyone to report to. While there may be no one to keep you in line, you should find or create an accountability system (a buddy or a mastermind group) to ensure you will do the things that would make your business grow.

Now It’s YOUR Turn

For five minutes… come up with as many ideas as you can… what do you do/could you do to overcome procrastination?

Let's Brainstorm

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Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

Let's Brainstorm

00:
Days
00:
Hrs
00:
Mins
00
Secs
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00:00:00:00

Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

  1. 1) focus on what you want done the evening before
    2) the next morning you visualize how it feels when you’ve done the tasks you’ve planned for the day
    3) ensure your tasks have one or more purposes (advice from Nisandeh)
    4) start with the task with the highest priority. Break it down and delegate part of it if possible
    5) set a timer for focus time - I usually set an hour to start with after which I allow myself a 10 min ginger break.
    6) Before you start the break take status of your progress and plan which steps to take after the break.
    7)I love making to do lists and checking things off as I go along. It works like gratification for me. I do however realize that my to-do list is way to optimistic. As if the day has 72 hours instead of 24. So when making my to-do list I cut it short with 25% before starting.

  2. 1. Make a list of what you want to do (I hate to admit it)
    2. And mark down if you did something
    3. Do the most important or the easiest things first, because it is a great way to get in the mood
    4. Write down the things you do not want to do down in chuncks
    5. If things take too. much time, ask yourself it it was the right thing to do. Is it worth it?
    6. If things are important but not your thing, get help. I even have my bookkeeper make my invoices. This really changed a lot for me.
    7. I you did not do something, just put it on your list for the next day.
    8. Change the order of the things you must do, untill you have the order that suites you
    9. If things take a lot of time, and you do not want other people to take it over, just ask around, talk to a friend and exchange ideas
    10. Try to make a dayly routine that realy works.

  3. Besides al you already mentioned:
    When I procrastinate I start doing other things. I remove the attractive things ... having time leads me to do the little steps I already planned.
    Working together helps me a lot.

  4. Sorry for dropping out.
    Since following Open Circles, it changed my life entirely.
    Morning routines, goalsetting, to do lists for short and long terms, being more determend, disciplined.
    Reading more books than I ever did, working on personal growth.
    For the idea, procastination.... not doing things you should do.
    Scrolling facebook etc. I notice that going through all the comments, it feels about the same for me.
    Don't be offended please! I read the blogs! You really do good work and I recommend it to the once that can use it!

    1. Hi Jur,

      I really love the energy from your comment.
      Congrats with the change in your live. This really inspires me.
      The FB is very recognizable.

  5. Talk to people about why you are procrastinating and listen to your own answers. Which answers defend your procrastination and which answers encourage yourself to take action? How can your answers in defense be turned into what you need to act?
    Find out how you can make something you hate doing more fun. Consider the example of the Seattle fish market's fishing method.
    Think of a reward when you move from procrastination to action again.
    Examine what you do with procrastinating. Whether you take this further or closer to your mission. Perhaps procrastinating is a signal not to do this at all.

  6. This is how I handle procrastination.
    1. Once a week I make a to-do-list for the coming week and every evening I go through the list for the next day. Has something come up which needs attention first? Can I put forward another item for the day following?
    2. In the morning I look again at my list and see which mode, e.g. creativity, manifestation, focus, will I get the tasks for that day done. I write that down and I also write down the reasons why I will fail for those tasks. Then I write down that I won't fail because in the past I succeeded same and so I will this day. So, I already have tackled some the issues around my procrastination behaviour.
    3. Weekly I have call with my accountability buddy.
    4. Every two weeks my accountabilty buddy and I work together for 2-3 hours. Both in our own business. It helps me with focus and also gives you the feeling that you are not completely alone.
    5. For some time I am working together with someone to create new ideas to reach potential clients, which helps with focus, accountability and being creative.
    6. I move before I start and in between the task.

  7. I learned a lot from Brian Tracy about this subject. Many things have been mentioned here by others as well.

    The main thing to me:

    just say you're gonna do that nasty task for 5 minutes. Once you started, you will continue... 🙂

    Furthermore: plan in advance and eat that frog.

  8. Wowww. I think I missed this topic? Or I just went procastinating again? 🙂 Haha! Either way...

    I love all your idea's and Comments, WOWW! Blown away about the amount of Expertise and Experience we have here in the community! WOWW!! Well done @Nisandeh and Team to giving us this opportunity to get so much value out of it!

    Having that said: I am a huge procrastinator and have always been like that. I just love the excitement and stress that comes with it...

    So I am learning it the hard way and have developed some other success habits when it comes to this topic than many others.

    I don't like the "Eat The Frog First"-methodes, I do not like the "Punish-reward"-thing and I definitely do not like the "it must be your personality thing, just learn to live with it" 🙂

    I did find out how it does work for me and every one who is a bit like me:

    + I always do the FUN-things first. I just give myself 1-2 hours of Playing time before I do the Fun stuff I am procrastinating.

    + I plan my Sundays to be "the day I embrace my procrastination" Ritual! So I plan the Sunday from 06:00-16:00 to come up with as many loos ends that I did NOT do or I just procrastinated, and Then I work trough that list (of course after having a relaxed morning, having some fun and having my many meditations...). When I work through it: It goes then really fast So then I just get it done

    + I just tell me team "Knock at my door as many time as possible about xyz-issue, because I really need to get it done with today". Well... This way I really make my self look like an A$# and embarrass my self, and it does work a lot. (yes yes, I know... That's a kind of "Mea-Culpa"" thing...)

    + I just publicly announce my Idee that I am procrastinating on my Daily Live Show, speak out my commitment to get it done TODAY and promise every body to get then updated about it. Well... Next day: I better have solved that issue, other wise They all will reminder me of it

    + I use and re-use Eisenhower Methode in combination of Braindumping. So I brain dump first, then make the Matrix and then just go over it for 4-5 times until every thing is the right place

  9. Haha! Such an honest comment @Bina! I laughed out loud on your phrase "Procrastination is a close friend of mine in all shapes and forms" !! It is also of my best friends 🙂

    #1 : I never like this one. Do you know What I do in stead? I do just the easy task first so that I get some energy in it. That BIG FAT FROG is always killing my mood, just only by looking at it 🙂

    #3: Love this one!!

    #4: To be honest? This makes me procrastinate even more! Then I will just be looking to ways to leave my desk and just go sit outside 🙂 So with my phone near me, I do get relaxed.. 🙂 Funny how we all react differently on these kind of triggers.. he:)

    Ps: Did I already say; YOU ROCK! ? 🙂

  10. 1. Make my planning the evening before
    2. Depending on my planning I now I'm most productive in the morning.
    So when i have to write: I start with it in the morning
    When I have things to do that I have to do for a long time... I make my to do list en force myself to start with them first thing in the morning > Eat the frog first.
    3. WHen I don't come to action, but I need to: I force myself making a to do list in very small steps and then with all steps a timer of 5-15 minutes. That gets me into a flow. And then things go by itself.
    4. WHen it's a bigger project I put a date in my agenda when I have to be ready. That works for to get me working so I can get my deadline.
    5. Make a half yearplan. A 3 monts plan and a month plan. So I can always go back to my planning, when I think I have nothing to do.
    6. Sound of my telephone off
    7. When it's terrible: I make a plan and go for a walk. Then start.

  11. So true to first reflect on yourself why you procrastinate instead of forcing yourself to actions. It's always inside out.

  12. 1. Choose your environment wisely
    2. Choose who you hang out with wisely
    These to Will help you in pursuing what you are after. It doesn't help you when others comfort you and saying ' it doesn't matter that you did not....' , only to feel 'less bad' themselves procrastinating.
    3. When you "do nothing" it doesn't mean you are procrastinating. Keep that in mind. Don't feel bad about it. You need it.
    4. Look back at when you were procrastinating, and see what it brought you once you came to action! If you can have results today or tomorrow, why wait any longer. In that way you can work on and overcome the "I wish I would have done that sooner" feeling. 😀

    Having said that.. back to my priorities😉

    1. @Frans - I really love your #3. - as a writer I find myself sometimes just "doing nothing" and I tend to say I was procrastinating, but later on I find out it was the best time I had as I came up with brilliant ideas and ways to improve what I was stuck with.

      So thanks for reminding me/us that not all "doing nothing" is procrastination and in the creativity process we should have some space for... nothing!

    2. What are your criteria in choosing your environment wisely Frans? How and when do you know you have chosen wisely? This applies to #1 en #2.

      1. Good question! What is a good environment? You will know best for yourself .. The most important is that you consider it. For me, I am easily distracted. One example: studying in Amsterdam 3 years...result almost zero...changed to a campus in the UK .. straight A's and zero retakes.

        For the people part, this might be more painful. Definitely not a walk in the park. I do not have 'criteria', but you know which people hold you back or have a structural negative attitude, are energy-drainers and no energy givers . My time is scarce, how do I want to spend it? Like saying goodbye to some parts of your customer base. Not that it always feels comfortable in either case. It is all not cast in concrete, however. I love people and to help them. Just make sure there is a good balance and you nurture your own needs.

        How do I notice? I FEEL it. My velocity goes up and I then feel okay with that level.

  13. 1) Treat yourself after completing a dreaded task.

    2) find a community that holds you accountable

    3) Realize procrastination only enhances your suffering. Just get it out of the way

    4) Make it fun. Do the task in a different environment than usual. Work-hub for instance

    5) don't commit to shit you don't want to do 😉

  14. Already so many good inputs.

    My take:
    1. Plan time to plan
    2. If you can finish it in less than two minutes, do it now
    3. Ask others to work at the same time (like studying together, but now its entrepreneuring together)
    4. Keep an eye on the big picture
    5. Communicate clearly what you are not going to do
    6. Play music
    7. Have a routine around working
    8. Work with a timer (pomodoro method)

    Have fun doing things on time!

  15. With the most difficult jobs that I really don't want to do, I promise myself that I only have to work on it for five minutes, just take a nibble. I can do five minutes! Always! And sometimes after five minutes, I keep going. Other times, I stop and I don't beat myself up over it, because I only had to work on it for five minutes, and that's what I did.

    1. Sounds like you found a strategy that works for you Judith. Thank you for sharing. Can you tell something about the results it gives you?

      1. Thanks, Muriel. Well, sometimes a little push is all I need to get the confidence to do the work. So, 5 minutes can be all I need.

        It also happens that I really only do 5 minutes and the job is added again on the schedule for the next day (another 5 minutes - unless it's urgent, of course).

  16. My RAM is completely full after reading so much valuable information 🙂
    There's just two things I'd like to add. To easier handle the problem:

    1. Make it a game, because a game is fun. See you procrastinating self as an opponent you want to defeat by making strategic moves. A playful mindset is a great help in many serious situations.

    2. Make a procrastination budget. 10 Minutes a day for procrastinating (and complaining). Use your budget wisely.

  17. Like every person, you have phases in your life where things don't quite go the way you envisioned. And procrastination then lurks. Also, my mental resilience was and is sometimes tested. Both in business and in private we are all challenged. This can have an immediate impact on delaying actions and thus on your sales results.

    Now I dare say out loud that I have passed the test and that has everything to do with mental strength. And like selling, this is also a skill that can be learned. It has to do with gaining control of your thoughts, your behavior, and your feelings. That's not to say that you can't feel pain, sadness, or disappointment, but what are you doing to get a different feeling? To what extent do you take responsibility for yourself? Procrastination is, in my opinion, a matter of mindset and that's why I like to share the following with you.

    To sell well and do business with conviction you need a positive attitude and mental strength. And this mental strength can - perhaps strangely enough - not be measured in what you do, but mainly by the things that mentally powerful people do not do, such as:

    1. They don't waste time on self-pity.
    Self-pity is destructive and creates negative feelings. A little monster I think it is sometimes. The trick is to exchange self-pity for gratitude. What is all going well in your life? What are you proud of? It's a choice to think about that very consciously.

    2. They maintain control of their power.
    Stand up for yourself. Stay focused on your goals and take steps toward them. In doing so, don't forget to reflect on why those goals are so important to you. What do you want to achieve for yourself, your environment? What is the bigger picture?

    3. They are not afraid of change.
    It remains one of my favorite sayings: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" by John Lennon. Change can be quite scary, but if you shy away from it, you slow down your growth and someone else or time will catch up with you. Being a good salesperson and entrepreneur also means that you have to be able to be flexible and always dare to take new steps if they help you reach your goals.

    4. They don't focus on the things they have no control over.
    If there's one thing that can make you very neurotic and/or stressed out, is if you start focusing all your attention on things you have zero control over. It's better to focus on the things you can do.

    5. They don't worry about what others think of them. Whether they are nice enough.
    What I still see too much are, especially female entrepreneurs, who are very busy pleasing their environment. You become much stronger if you do not constantly criticize yourself and do not bring yourself down with thoughts about what others may or may not think of you negatively.

    6. They don't waste time thinking about the past.
    Apart from the fact that you are living now and not yesterday, it does not solve anything. In fact, it can make you depressed. Be happy with the present and make plans for the future.

    7. Don't make the same mistakes all the time.
    Take responsibility for your mistakes and do something with them. When I look at my own business it is nothing but trial and error. Sometimes you are convinced that you have found THE thing and it turns out not to work for you. You can then sink into a deep disappointment and linger in that or think, 'This apparently isn't working, I'm going to try something else.' Remember what it is you did wrong and avoid making the same mistake in the future.

    8. They are not jealous of the success of others.
    If you always compare yourself to others then there are always people who - in your eyes - have done better than you. Meanwhile, you are already very successful, but you do not see that and that makes you dissatisfied. Do not focus on others but yourself. Learning from others is another story.

    9. They don't give up.
    The road rarely leads directly to success. Failure is an obstacle that you will have to overcome more often. It's part of the process. So many things have failed with me too. And it is precisely in moments like that that it is important to bounce back. Never, ever give up.

    10. They are not afraid to be alone.
    Being alone or working alone can be very good and help you focus on growth. You become more creative, empathetic, and productive.
    11. They don't think the world owes them anything.
    Some people count points. In a kind of "scorebook", they keep track of exactly what happened to them and whether it was distributed fairly. It makes you dependent and passive. Accept criticism, focus on what you have already achieved, acknowledge your mistakes and stop counting points.

    12. They don't expect instant success.
    The trick is to stay focused in the long term. The dot on the horizon. What makes your goals so important to you? Measure your progress and keep moving.

    13. They consider themselves important.
    They have no problem taking themselves seriously. They make themselves and their goals important. If you don't make yourself important enough, others won't either.

  18. That's so funny receiving this topic today... well any day... I'm stuck in procrastination for a few days. I have a deadline approaching and instead of going over the notes I got from my editor and making the rewrites needed, I'm all over the place doing anything BUT those rewrites.

    Procrastination is a close friend of mine in all shapes and forms, but here are some ways I managed to hold it at bay (as they say) when things become really important:

    1. EAT THAT FROG - an expression we have here, "down and under" but maybe in other places...which means that before doing ANYTHING else - I dedicate the first xxx hours of the day to the MOST important task that is on my To-Do list.

    2. USE A TIMER - When doing #1 I always set a timer for 45 minutes. For that amount of time I'm not allowed to do anything BUT focus on that "frog". When the timer rings I can get up, stretch and do a little dance to give myself an award and then set that timer again for the next round.

    3. REWARD YOURSELF - Tell yourself "I'm only going to do this.... the first step to eat that "frog" and then I'm going to award myself with... something that would only take up to 15 minutes...

    4. WORK OFFLINE - When doing this I always make sure I'm offline and my phone is on flight mode

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