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How to Kick the Procrastination Habit

How to Kick the Procrastination Habit

Are you a procrastinator?  I was.  I always seemed to put off stuff for later even when I could get it done right away.  A few months ago, I had an eye-opening experience.  I received an email from a brand about partnering with them on promoting their product.  I saw the email, and instead of replying right away, I told myself that I’d get back to it later on.  Of course that email got buried deep in my in-box and I never did reply.  Well this particular brand was pretty persistent.  When I failed to reply to their email, they headed to my Facebook page and sent me a private message about a week later.  I felt bad and finally replied to them and wound up collaborating with them on a project that paid very, very, very well.  I almost missed out on a great partnership because of my chronic procrastination.  From that moment on, I decided to make a change and took some steps to stop procrastinating.  While I haven’t fully kicked the procrastination habit, I have made a lot of progress.

If you need to overcome procrastination, you understand the stresses and pains that can result from delaying things. You may miss out on great opportunities, you might leave things for the last minute and then have to rush to get things done, or you might just not be motivated to take action Happily, conquering procrastination is fairly straightforward, once you have the right tactics. Here’s how to stop procrastinating in a few easy steps:

  • Begin with your most difficult daily task. Perhaps you have a huge backlog of emails to respond to, or maybe you have to make a difficult (but important) telephone call. Perhaps you have to complete the final few pages of a report for your boss. Regardless of what the task is, complete it before you do anything else. At the start of the day, you are more alert and better prepared to deal with problems. Also, once you have done this you will feel less pressured and you can relax somewhat, and give yourself a pat on the back. Better yet, your tasks for the remainder of the day will feel less daunting. You will be amazed by the effectiveness of this technique.
  • Be thoroughly committed. Write down which habits you need to change, and which new habits you need to adopt. Write down a deadline for achieving this, along with a strategy for acquiring these new habits (and ditching the unwanted ones). You should commit to this strategy for one month, by which time your new habits should feel like part of your normal routine. This makes it easier to continue the good behavior. Tell as many people as possible about your goals. Inform your friends and relatives, write a blog post about it, put a notice up in your office, and promise to provide people with progress reports each day via email. By making other people aware of the fact that you want to change, and constantly updating them with your progress, you will have the incentive to see it through because hey, you don’t want to let them down.
  • Remove all distractions. This remains to be a tough one for me.  I often find myself clicking over to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and wind up wasting lots of time. A few tools I found that can help with this are Freedom, StayFocusd or Rescuetime.  All of these tools will help you increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on these time-sucking sites. 
  • Take regular breaks. If you find it hard to concentrate and are not fully committed to your tasks, take a short break. Set an alarm for fifteen minutes, read a magazine, telephone a friend or take a brief nap. Look at the things that have distracted you, to remove the temptation after you return to work. Make sure that you stick to the time limit though, and don’t press the snooze button when the alarm sounds (yeah, I’ve done that!).
  • Avoid perfectionism. Of course, a certain amount of planning will help you to achieving your goals. My problem is that I tend to over think everything  and if I don’t think my results will be perfect, I procrastinate. A perfect example is this blog.  I purchased the domain name for this blog a full year before I actually took the plunge to start blogging. I was afraid that I would fail so I dragged my feet.  When I received the notice from the domain company that the domain name was going to expire, I finally decided to just go ahead and do it. The lesson here is, rather than striving to be perfect, just aim to make a start on your next major project. Believe that you can do it and you can.

“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”  ~Victor Kiam

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "

20 Comments

  • Breaks definitely help! Sometimes I just need to walk away for a few minutes.

  • Great stuff! I have a problem with overthinking and over planning too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone point it that out as a major problem before. you can focus so much on your ultimate goal that you never get started.

  • This is such a problem for me. If the project is huge, I feel overwhelmed at first so I push it off and push it off. I’m the worst.

  • I completely agree that it’s important to get that most dreaded task done first! If I don’t then I know I will push it off until the dire end! I always feel so much better when it’s accomplished!

  • Distractions get me. I can focus and tell myself I’m not going to stray, but I always end up straying… Twitter, Facebook, the blog…all very tempting.

  • Uh – I think I may read this later. lol. Just kidding. I have to employ tactics to avoid procrastination – I’ve had to do that all of my life. Distraction is one of my culprits.

  • Removing distractions have proven to be difficult for me. And they are more internal distractions than anything. I am currently working on overcoming my procrastination.

  • Thank you for the tips Diane. I’m not to much of a procrastinator, but my husband is so I’m going to share this with him.

  • I know that I am sometimes a procrastinator. Especially when is something I really don’t want to do. But I mostly have trouble with managing my time. I am horrible at it.

  • These are such great tips! I just downloaded StayFocused and cannot wait to try it — I’ve been looking for something like that because I find myself mindlessly clicking between websites when I need to be focusing. Thanks for writing this!

  • I can be a procrastinator at times. When I’m on point I do really well but sometimes as a working mom you are always working so you never get a break and it’s like having 20 to do lists.