How to beat procrastination

Do you believe that if it were possible to beat procrastination every time you want to do something significant, it’s most likely you’d have achieved a lot more with your life than you have achieved already?

Yes, that’s correct. Science has confirmed that human potential is limitless. Meaning that literally, you can find ways to achieve almost anything you set your mind to achieve.

Now, this is not a motivational speech but; if you look around, you’ll find that whether as a creative person, Web Developer, Graphics Designer or entrepreneur, procrastination is one unique habit that’s stood in the way of most successful outcomes.

Agreed, sometimes there are valid reasons why people procrastinate. For example in the digital world, the stress of taking up on some risky pursuits can get us to postpone or abandon them altogether.

Also, the fear of the unknown, criticism, failure, other people’s opinion can cause a creative person or entrepreneur to abandon a good cause.

But, in spite of the many valid reasons why people procrastinate, a number of other people have forged ahead to overcome procrastination and achieve a lot with their lives.

A number of small entrepreneurs have also gone ahead to build successful businesses starting from the scratch.

All these are proofs that it is indeed possible to overcome procrastination and achieve your goals. And in this guide, you’re going to learn the steps you can take to stop procrastination.

What’s Procrastination?

Procrastination is the deliberate act of delaying or postponing to work on a particular project or activity until it gets too late.

Science says that procrastination is more of a symptom rather than an actual causative factor. And it has been believed to be linked to the brain mechanism just as it has been attributed to be a mental health symptom in some cases.

There are different reasons why different people procrastinate. And I’m going to state some of these reasons below…

Why people procrastinate

  • Fear of failure. A lot of people procrastinate because they are afraid if they get to work on a project they might fail at it or they might not get something perfect. So, instead of getting started, they postpone it.
  • Lack of motivation. For many others, they don’t really have enough reasons to start a project even though the project is very important for them. This can be due to the fact that they are not passionate about such tasks, it’s cumbersome, they don’t have adequate benefits or skill set etc. This is a major issue for so many.
  • Lack of self discipline. Among freelancers and entrepreneurs, Indiscipline and lack of accountability have also been responsible for procrastination in many cases. In some instances indiscipline can also be linked to lack of real motivation to get up and get to work.
  • People also procrastinate when they hate the things they intend to do. For example, if you hate a certain social media platform due to criticism or bullying, it might be difficult for you to keep creating content on that platform.

There are so many other reasons why people get to procrastinate.

Sometimes it gets so bad that even after talking about a project with so much enthusiasm you still foot drag when it comes to implementation.

As someone who’s experienced procrastination, lived and worked with people that procrastinate a lot, the following are some strategies tools that’s helped me and my clients to overcome procrastination…

Isolate the Problem

The first step to overcome procrastination is to identify and isolate the problem.

For example you can begin to introspect. Ask yourself, why exactly do i feel like postponing this task?

Identifying the causative elements makes it far easier for you to isolate it and find ways to fix it.

So, if you find out that the cause of your procrastination at work is because you don’t find satisfaction in the work you do, you can find out what actually can give you the satisfaction you desire and then find ways to target your energies towards that angle.

Identify your Priorities

After isolating the problem, you want to identify your priorities to find out if what you’re doing currently matches your existing priorities. This is a very crucial step to beat procrastination.

Find out, what are the important things that matter to you and how can these things propel you in your journey to achieve your goals.

Doing this gets to give you an idea about what matters. And where you should focus your attention primarily.

The moment you figure out this area of priority, it becomes easier to get the needed motivation that can spur you to overcome procrastination much more easily.

Create a Schedule

Work can get messy sometimes. With a gazillion things to achieve in a very short while, not having a clear idea on what to start with can usher in procrastination, especially when you have a lot to achieve.

To overcome procrastination and avoid getting stuck on thinking about what to start with, you need a schedule as an important tool to create order and get organized. And you can start with creating a work schedule as part of your strategy.

To do this successfully, you can start with asking questions that will help you understand yourself, how you work and your most important goals so you can schedule out things in the best ways that works for you.

For example, if you realize you are always more energetic in the mornings, you can work on scheduling your most important tasks around that time.

Same with creatives. If your most creative hours is around evenings, you can schedule your creative tasks around that period where you’ll get the inspiration to achieve better results.

Set up Reminders

It doesn’t matter that you’ve identified your priorities, created a schedule or set up meeting appointments…

Sometimes, due to your very tight schedule, you might naturally get to miss out on important tasks and activities or forget about them entirely.

When this happens, it adds up to your workload and the things you need to do in the future, making you more susceptible to postponing the work.

How to beat procrastination

Instead of allowing this to happen to you, you can use reminders as an important tool to keep yourself in the loop as you continue to beat procrastination and achieve more with your work.

While using reminders as a tool, you need to discipline yourself to follow through with the reminders you set.

Doing this over time will create a consistency that will enable you to stay more committed to working on scheduled tasks, even without a prompt thus reducing your procrastination levels.

Set Deadlines

A deadline is simply a set time in the future which a particular project or goal needs to be achieved.

It’s an important tool in your arsenal if you want to beat procrastination and improve your productivity.

Personally, setting up goals and deadlines have helped me in achieving a lot compared to when I had no deadline.

As a blogger for example, you should have a deadline for when you’ll create content to be posted on your blog.

Same goes for you as a tech bro or entrepreneur. You should know the dateline when you’ll deliver the website or work on a specific aspect of your business.

Setting deadline gets you on your toes and ready to work. It helps you to be conscious that there’s a time line for a particular job or activity to be completed.

Working with this understanding makes it easier to commit to doing the work so you can deliver on expected timeline thus reducing your susceptibility to procrastination.

Get started

To overcome procrastination, you have to learn how not to wait for the perfect time to get started on your projects. Because most often, there’s no perfect time.

In most cases, perfect timing is an illusion that’s never real. As a creative person or entrepreneur, you might never get to have the best time to work on a project.

And in some cases, the longer you wait, the more you lower your chances of ever getting to work on the project.

This doesn’t have to be so. Ask yourself, what can I do in this 30 minutes or 1 hour that can get me doing something about this project. And then get started with that.

Decide to Work it in Bits

One big reason why people procrastinate is because they see the task they want to work on as being too enormous to be done at once.

To avoid this, you can get get to work on the project in bits. This is a science backed strategy that’s helped a lot of people to overcome procrastination.

So, instead of starting all out on a very big project, chunk it all down. If what you’re working on is a book for instance, instead of waiting to write the whole book in one week, start it in bits.

Schedule a time to write it immediately. It can be 3-5 hours in a week or however you want it, beat it down in bits.

With this you’ll be achieving remarkable success no matter how little. At the same time, you’ll also be able to utilize the best of your cognitive abilities. And with consistency, you’ll get to complete the book in no time.

This applies to other projects too. To deal with procrastination, you can always start it in bits when it looks overwhelming. Doesn’t matter if you’ll do it, leave half way attend to some other things and come back to it. Just get started.

See the Big Picture

This is another important suggestion you can use to fix procrastination.

So, start by asking yourself, what would I gain if I take a step to get started on the work. And what would I lose if I don’t?

This is the big question I ask myself when I find it difficult to get started on a project.

Ask yourself this question. And the answer you get will give you clarity on the cost of procrastination.

From there you can decide whether it’s worth it to get up and get started on what you want to achieve or it’s best to do it some other time.

Forget Perfectionism

Most procrastinators are perfectionists. In fact, perfectionism is one of the biggest excuse for procrastination.

As a creative person, entrepreneur or freelancer, it happens you don’t want to do a shabby job.

You want to create something perfect. The kind of work that everyone will give you all the right nods.

But sometimes, this is a trap. This idea has stopped so many people from getting started on anything. And you may never be able to put out anything if all you do is wait for the perfect work.

What you need right now is not a perfect work but a great job. That’s where you start.

To beat procrastination, you need to work on creating something great. With the experience you gather over time, you get better and better until you can then create the so called “perfect work”.

Reward Yourself

It’s not easy to overcome procrastination because everyone has to deal with it in one form or the other.

But, if there’s one thing you have to do in this journey of dealing with procrastination, you have to be kind to yourself.

While you may make mistakes or find it very hard to deal with postponing what you aught to do, you don’t have to be too hard on yourself. Show yourself the same compassion and kindness you would show to others

Compensate yourself when you finally get to achieve your tasks on time. Build a reward system that allows you to reward yourself each time you overcome procrastination to work on important tasks.

Done well, this reward system can serve as a motivating factor that can boost you capacity to withstand procrastination and forge ahead, considering the compensation you’ll get in return.

Also, when you procrastinate and fail to achieve a task, do not be too harsh on yourself. Try to find out the reason why you had to procrastinate and find a way to avoid such at other times.

Final words

In one word, apart from what you’ve read so far, discipline is an important factor that will help you to stop procrastinating.

Disciplining yourself to use these strategies and staying committed to them can help you to a large extent in your journey on dealing with procrastination.

Also, work on building sustainable systems around how you work. This is a science back strategy that can boost your productivity while reducing the need to procrastinate.

Finally, I want to re-emphasize the need to hold yourself accountable to meeting your deadlines and staying committed to work. You can start this with getting an accountability partner who can be your friend, sibling or spouse. They have to be willing to hold you accountable also.

Want to learn more on how to boost your productivity as an entrepreneur? You can talk to our team here.

Now it’s over to you. What are the top strategies you’ve ever used to overcome procrastination? Drop your comments below.

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    Victor Winners

    Victor Winners

    A Nigerian trained Law graduate and British LL.M candidate, using his widespread experience in tech, law and innovation, to evolve cutting edge and growth driven solutions for brands and businesses in Africa and beyond.As a Law-trained tech expert, Victor brings in over 7 years experience working in the Digital Marketing, SEO, Web Development, Online Publishing, Social Media and Legaltech sectors, to create result driven content and innovative solutions to brands and businesses.Named as one of the top 50 Web Design Influencers Globally, Victor Winners started one of Africa's most widely read blogs on Digital Marketing and Strategy.With this platform, he has impacted the lives of over 2 million readers spanning more than 135 countries in 8+ years

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