How To Stop Procrastinating

September 6, 2018  |  
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procrastination brain young woman uses laptop while sitting outdoors on a park bench.

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.

a little cheering up photo of smiling African American woman eating ice cream

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).

procrastination woman cleaning the kitchen counter, using kitchen cleaning product and sponge, wearing protective gloves.

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.

procrastination young beautiful African American woman smiles at something on her smartphone while relaxing on the couch in her apartment.

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.


Gettyimages.cmo/Casual business, Shot at creative architect office, woman listening to headphones

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.

procrastination doing laundry

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.

procrastination laughing

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.

procrastination woman, sitting in armchair with laptop, arms outstretched

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.

procrastination calculating her budget

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.

procrastination talking on city rooftop

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).

procrastination of an attractive young woman admiring her face in the bathroom mirror

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.

procrastination of a young woman using a laptop while relaxing at home

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.

procrastination woman at home, indoors, technology, relax, music and more

Schedule it

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.

procrastination twenty something girlfriends laughing at the park in the summertime

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.

procrastination American businesswoman smiling in office

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.

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