14 Psychology Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!
We have all been there!
The scenario or what you should be doing Vs what you are actually doing.
You know what you want but for some reason, you aren’t doing it. And what makes it worse is that you continue to put it off again and again.
But with a little understanding, you can solve all of your life problems. Take the time to understand the real reason behind your problem, instead of plastering over the issue. This way you can start to really grow as a person and business owner.
So instead of just seeking for ways to only stop procrastinating, let’s look at the reason why you are procrastinating and how to fix.
Stop Procrastinating — The Why
Because we are all so different, we all have different reasons for procrastinating.
Think about what yours are?
Are you fearful, lazy or overwhelmed?
Do you lack self-worth or confidence?
Do you have no motivation or are you unorganized?
If you are not sure why then STEP 1 might help you out…
#1 STEP –
Get and pen and paper, sit down alone and have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself (out loud or in your mind) why are you procrastinating? Why are you reluctant to get things done? Sit with the question bouncing around inside your head for a little while (with your eyes closed if it helps). Then when your comfortable open your eyes, still sitting quietly and let answers rise to the surface in your mind and begin to write them down.
If you are creating mental blocks through fear or self-doubt then you have to invest time in yourself and get rid of these harmful emotions. Read… 7 Tips for Beating Fear of Success When Starting a Business and How to Boost Business Confidence for Big Business Success.
If your procrastination is about life management, so you feel overwhelmed, disorganized and have no motivation then it’s time to stop drowning and to start swimming. Read… Power Actions When You’re Lacking Motivation to Start a Business and Exposing The Real Secret About Why You Have No Motivation
Once you know the reason why you are behaving like this, now it’s time to become self-aware and start recognizing your signs.
Stop Procrastinating — Self Awareness
It’s important to recognize the signs you display when you are beginning to procrastinate.
Think about what these signs are. For example…
When you are faced with work you don’t want to do, what are your first thoughts?
- Check your phone?
- All of a sudden become hungry?
- Only want to do low priority tasks?
- Have the urge to check your Facebook account?
Whatever it is, these are the signs you display to avoid what needs to be done.
Write them down!
STEP #2 –
Put practices in place so you have no excuse to procrastinate.
If you are starting your to-do-list at 9am, plan to eat and check all social media by 8.30am. Make sure you have no excuses to stop working. So when you do have the urge to stop you can be dedicated to keeping your butt where it is and on staying focused.
Stop Procrastinating — Psychology Says…
The overall message psychology tells us about procrastinating is that we lack taking action in order to avoid pain. Taking action will only cause us pain and it’s in our DNA to do everything possible to avoid pain.
Not psychical of course, but we tell ourselves that by doing the work we miss out on that film we’ve been dying to watch or that family get-together or ‘gossip hour’ at work when everybody drinks tea, eats cake and chats.
The pain of social exclusion and family abandonment is all a possibility if we choose to continue with our work!
Is this a little dramatic? Yes, but it’s how the brain plays. Don’t forget this and play smarter. Think and feel the emotion you’ll experience once you’re done.
As Dr. Ferrari of the American Psychology Association states, one of my favorite sayings is…
“Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator”.
And he beautifully puts it…
“Procrastination is not waiting and it is more than delaying. It is a decision to not act. It is very helpful and useful to gather information to make an informed decision, but when one simply continues to gather beyond the point of adequate resources, then they are being indecisive and the waiting is counterproductive.
Let’s live life now and enjoy our lives. Don’t delay because of fears or insecurities.”
In the book Learning and Motivation Strategies: Your Guide to Success written by Bruce Tuckman, Dennis R. Smith and Dennis A. Abry they state the top 15 procrastination rationalizations are…
- Ignorance: “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.”
- Skill deficiency: “I don’t know how to do it.”
- Apathy (1): “I really don’t want to do this.”
- Apathy (2): “It really doesn’t make any difference if I put this off.”
- Apathy (3): “No one really cares whether I do this or not.”
- Apathy (4): “I need to be in the mood. I’m not.”
- Fixed habits (1): “But I’ve always done it this way and it’s hard to change.”
- Fixed habits (2): “I know I can pull this out at the last minute.”
- Fixed habits (3): “I work better under pressure.”
- Inertia: “I just can’t seem to get started.”
- Frail memory: “I just forgot.”
- Physical problems: “I couldn’t do it; I was sick.”
- “Appropriate” delays (1): “I’m just waiting for the best time to do it.”
- “Appropriate” delays (2): “I need time to think this through.”
- “Appropriate” delays (3): “This other opportunity will never come again, so I can’t pass it up.”
Any sound familiar to you?
So, by now you should know…
- Why you are procrastinating
- The signs you display when you are procrastinating
- What they professionals have to say
So now let’s head towards our 14 solutions that will have fully focused and achieving daily.
#1 — Stop Procrastinating — Discipline Thy Self
After having read what the professionals had to say, the overall message I received was it comes down to discipline. Useless you are a chronic procrastinator, like the ones Dr. Ferrari talks of, where he says …
“If you find that you procrastinate so often, in all areas of your life as I mentioned before, then this is a problem. We have found some links with chronic procrastination and personality challenges like ADHD, passive-aggressive tendencies, revenge, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other areas that I cover in my new book. But let’s remember that while everyone puts off an occasional task, it is the person who does that habitually, always with plausible “excuses” that has issues to address.
We don’t view procrastination as a serious problem but as a common tendency to be lazy or dawdling. But we have shown in our research it is much, much more. For those chronic procrastinators, it is not a time management issue — it is a maladaptive lifestyle.”
If this doesn’t sound like you, then your issue lies in discipline. Empowering yourself with the why’s and the signs of your behavior is a huge step, but with this knowledge you have to enforce personal discipline to gain results.
#2 — Stop Procrastinating — Facing Old Enemies
Facing old enemies means looking at your emotional body and being honest about other aspects that could be holding you back. Do you have low self-esteem? Do you doubt yourself a lot? Do you feel successful? Do you have no support at home?
Digging a little deeper and looking at other aspects that might be holding you back could be all is needed to stop you procrastinating.
#3 — Stop Procrastinating — Ask Yourself This…
There is no point in trying to achieve super productivity if you are working on the wrong stuff. You are trying to stop procrastinating while also completing the right kind of work too.
So ask yourself…“Am I getting the right stuff done? Is my focus where it should be? What are my reasons for completing this work?”
#4 — Stop Procrastinating — Planning to Death
It can be difficult to cope with a huge task in one go. Also, when you work like this, it’s harder to see the progress as you work through.
So break it down and create easy chunks that you can complete daily and see the progress you’re making.
#5 — Stop Procrastinating — The Night Before
There is nothing worse than sitting at your desk or looking at your computer and you go blank. If you know you have work to do tomorrow then plan and prepare the night before (or even better the day before).
When you do this with plenty of time ahead your mind isn’t under pressure to perform and you have more time to consider and think about everything that needs to be done.
#5 — Stop Procrastinating — What’s the Deadlines?
Once you know what needs to be done and it’s has been broken up into chunks the next things is to give yourself deadlines.
When does the work you’ve planned for tomorrow realistically need to be done?
Don’t create added pressure by thinking when you want it done by, rather than when you can do it by.
#6 — Stop Procrastinating -Distraction and Temptation
To literally stop yourself from accessing social media you can use a Chrome Extension called Work Mode or a free app like GetColdTurkey.com which stops you from viewing certain websites or social media accounts.
These apps are great BUT although these apps are good starting points, I believe that you have to master the art of self-control.
Think about it, so you’ve blocked your social media accounts. What about when your best friend calls you for a chat or your sweet tooth remembers those biscuits you bought yesterday.
Distraction can become everything if you allow it. Control you temptations and this way it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing you’ll be able to stay focused.
#7 — Stop Procrastinating — David Allen and Pomodoro
Best seller author David Allen has a 2-minute rule which can be used in 2 ways. The first is to use these 2 minutes for the things you put off that could be done in 2 minutes. Like washing the dishes, taking the rubbish out, deleting old emails.
The 2nd way to use it is to use these 2 minutes to just start. You’re more likely to continue with a project once they have started it.
For example, if you wanted to start an online business selling t-shirts. Which needs a website, this will obviously take a little longer than 2 minutes!
But starting is the key, think about what can be done in 2-minutes.
- Look at other websites for design inspiration
- Experiment with the different domains you could use
- Read blogs on how to create a successful t-shirt business
Use the 2-minutes rule to be the starting platform for your journey.
Next, the Pomodoro Technique which is setting a timer for 25 minutes and working consistently on a fixed item for 25 minutes. Then you stop, take a 5 minute break and do it again.
Check out the tomato fun filled video…
#8 — Stop Procrastinating — Reward Yourself
All work and no fun is boring, you have to reward yourself when you achieve your goals. And rewards don’t have to be expensive weekend spa breaks. Do something for yourself that you wouldn’t normally do. What I mean is, if you are used to getting a takeaway on the last Friday of the month, don’t reward yourself with 2 takeaways in one month.
Do something new to really trigger your mind into seeing, feeling and knowing that this is a reward. Like a massage, a (super luxurious) Lush Bath Bomb or pick up something from Groupon or Wowcher (UK only).
As long as the reward is not typical to you then you’ll really feel special about your achievement.
#9 — Stop Procrastinating — Feel That Joy of Success
Visualize yourself having achieved the goals you are procrastinating on.
Get yourself into the success frame of mind and that feeling that you have completed your work. If you choose to use affirmations then opt for affirmations in the ‘present tense’. Which means you have already done it (completed the project). your subconscious mind thinks that you have achieved what you want, rather than telling it you want/plan to achieve it.
So your subconscious mind thinks that you have achieved what you want, rather than telling it you hope or plan to achieve it.
Learn how to change your state so that you become a person who set goals, acts on them and achieve results.
– READ THIS BEFORE WATCHING — Although this video is over 9 minutes long, you only need to watch between 0m.58s — 2m.10s
#10 — Stop Procrastinating — Find Big Inspiration
We all procrastinate and sometimes you need a little extra something to get yourself motivated. Find the images, words, affirmations, incantations that inspire you. Who’s videos, blogs or books make you want to get up and just take on the world?
Once you know what resonates with you, you can create your own playlist depending on what you need. For example, if you feel like abandoning all hope today, you might need a 1 hour Tony Robbins YouTube video.
If every Monday you feel you can’t get out of bed you might need 5 minutes scrolling through your favorite Instagram motivational pages.
#11 — Stop Procrastinating — Speak Up
Another great method to hold yourself accountable is to talk about your goals, this way others are aware of what you are trying to achieve.
Consider an accountability partner who is someone you check in with within a planned schedule and you discuss what you’ve done, what you plan to do, how you’ve progressed etc. Accountability partners work better when it’s somebody who has a work schedule and plans similar to yours. But as long as it’s someone you trust you can ask a family member or friend to have a once a week meeting where you discuss what you’ve done and what you need to do.
#12 — Stop Procrastinating — Check Your Goals
Just because you have made a plan it doesn’t mean that you have to blindly stick with it. Some things just need to be tested out and we need to know what works and what doesn’t. There is no point in continuing with the things that do not work, right?
So don’t be scared to change your plans, alter and change things around to make sure you’re on track with your goals.
#13 — Stop Procrastinating — Just After Lunch is Perfect
If like me you have certain tasks to completed in the morning and certain tasks to complete in the afternoon then, you’ll find it useful to have a short revision after lunch. After lunch, I like to check that…
- I’m on track
- I’ve completed the right tasks
- The tasks that I need to prioritize the most
If you are completing one big task for the whole day then use the afternoon to check what you’ve done, what’s left to do and what you’ve achieved so far.
#14 — Stop Procrastinating — “Starts with what you hate, no wait! Start with what you like. No, I mean…”
This one is a tricky one and after much thought, I decided that it should be included. Some of us stop procrastinating by starting with what we like and others work better by starting off with what we hate first. This is down to personal preference and you have to test it out to see what’s best for you.
Me personally, I like starting with what I dislike first. The start of the day is when I have the most energy and enthusiasm. Trying the do my most creative work at the end of the day is a no-go for me. I finish the difficult work first, then my afternoon ‘load’ seems a lot easier.
So see what works best for you, personally.
When it comes to your procrastination just remember that any progress is better than no progress at all.
So even if you start by finishing 1/3 or 1/2 this is much better than 0%.
When you are trying to stop procrastinating it is important to focus on your goal; however what you are truly practicing is forming new habits.
Form new habits so your procrastination doesn’t have a chance to sit around long enough to grow.
Now at the end, the community would love you to share in the comments your best tip to stop procrastinating and what one of the above will you be trying out?
Thanks for reading
PS — If you know someone who would make use of these tips to stop procrastinating, you can make a difference, share this post and pass it along.
Originally published at www.StartBizQuitJob.com on June 23, 2016.