How To Stop Procrastinating
It’s National Fight Procrastination Day and I bet we could all benefit from celebrating it a little bit. I go through phases of procrastinating, and phases of get sh*t done mode. I wish I could say that I was always in the latter mode but, that simply is not true. There will always be something else to do, if I allow there to be. It’s so easy for me to tell myself that I’m going to clean the apartment on Saturday. But then, I get invited to brunch with a friend. I haven’t seen her in so long. Friendship is important. So then we get a little mimosa-buzzed at brunch and I need a nap. I’ll clean after the nap. Oh, the dog needs a walk. The dog really deserves a trip to the dog park. She’s such a good girl. Aaaand it’s 7pm and I never cleaned and it’s time to make dinner, clean up from dinner, and go to bed. Sound familiar? Here are ways to fight procrastination.
Give yourself small rewards
Promise yourself something enticing each time you finish a task. It could be an episode of your favorite show, a half hour on social media, or even a cookie (hey, nobody is too old to love a cookie).
Do the worst things first
Do the thing you’re dreading the most, the first thing in the morning. Whether that’s washing your car or cleaning your toilet, do it before anything else. Everything else will feel like a breeze after that. And there’s nothing like that early morning energy.
Silence and hide your phone
Put your phone far, far away from you. Silence it. Don’t put it on vibrate—you know that you hear that vibration and go running. It’s amazing how much you get done when you don’t touch your phone for even just an hour.
Add a podcast/show/music
If it won’t distract you, put on a podcast, show, or music that you like while you’re doing your task. It’s much easier to organize a room, clean, and meal prep with a little entertainment in the background.
Break projects apart
You don’t have to do big projects, all in one go. Break them up. So if, for example, you need to go through your belongings to decide what to sell, donate, or keep, just tell yourself that you’ll do one room a day, or a week.
Call a friend
Put on headphones and call a friend that you’d like to catch up with while you do chores around the house. It makes it far less lonely, and allows you to do something you probably would have otherwise done anyways, while being productive.
Announce it to the world
Tell your partner, your roommate, social media, a neighbor—somebody who will check you—that you’re going to do this or that today. This way, you’ll be held accountable. Somebody is going to ask you at the end of the day if you got it done.
Don’t be a perfectionist
Often, we procrastinate because we fixate on doing the thing perfectly. It’s easy to get caught up in unimportant details and then be so intimidated that we don’t even take step one. Let go of perfection and just get going.
Promise yourself five minutes
Promise yourself that you’ll just do the task for five minutes. What will happen is that you’ll get into a groove, and you’ll wind up finishing it.
Don’t talk to procrastinators
You know that you have enablers—people who agree with your excuses not to get things done. They’re procrastinating their own tasks. When you get to chatting, you tell each other that it’s perfectly fine that you’re procrastinating. Stop talking to these friends (at least until the task is done).
Argue with yourself
If you must, then tell yourself all of your excuses for not doing something. Then force yourself to come up with a rebuttal. Before you know it, you will be out of excuses.
Don’t touch your computer
Consider having a rule that you won’t touch your laptop—not even open it—until you’ve done the other things you need to do that don’t involve a computer. You know a computer can be a vacuum of distractions.
Treat the task like an actual appointment. Pick a time and day and put it in your calendar. If you don’t, then something else will always come up. If you say, “I’ll do it when I have time” you’ll never have time. You have to set aside the time.
Do it with someone
If you can get a buddy to do it with you, then do. You can get a friend and you can both go get your cars washed. Or you can both go get your blood pressure checked at the pharmacy. Everything is more fun with a friend.
Say I “get to” not I “have to”
Change your thinking about the task. Force yourself to say, “I get to” do this or that rather than, “I have to” to do this or that.