Tipping the Balance from Procrastination to Productivity

Tips to Overcome Procrastination
Procrastination can rob you of productive moments in your day. If you are not living your life to the fullest, you are shorting yourself of valuable experiences and opportunities. The number one underlying cause of procrastination is fear. Fear of rejection or failure, fear of the dramatic changes to your life if you succeed and nothing is ever the same again, fear of what others will think, and more. When you hear people say the only thing standing in your way is you, or that you are your own toughest critic, let go of all that fear and embrace your potential with these very helpful twelve strategies for tipping the balance from procrastination to productivity.

  1. Forget the Fake Emergencies

Real, life-threatening emergencies can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime. No one should ever put work above the safety and health of family and loved ones because in life that’s all we’ve really got, but let’s be real people, forgetting to take your trash can to the corner or a sale going on downtown are not good enough reasons to break that fine-tuned concentration and risk all your progress for the entire day.

  1. Ten-Minute Meditation

Everyone understands what it means to have a million things on your mind. From trying to cook healthy meals, cleaning a whole house, working and building a career, trying to stay active and fit, managing kids and pets, remembering birthdays and holidays, doctors appointments, maintaining friendships and other relationships, bills and taxes, endless shopping lists, and oh please someone stop me. Stop. Breathe. You have one day to think about: Today. What do you need to get done by the end of the day? Do that.

  1. Long-Term Tasks

Without completely discrediting the aforementioned tip about only focusing on what you need to do today, it’s important to be smart about it and remember the long-term impacts these tasks can have on your life. If you need to get your taxes done by April and it’s December, it doesn’t hurt to get a little done at a time, then by the time the due date rolls around, you’re already done. Ten minutes of time spent everyday on things that will benefit your future can ultimately free up countless hours for yourself in the future, but also reduce your stress about deadlines. Win-Win!

  1. Work Backwards

Do the things that are the hardest first while your energy is high and your motivation is fresh so that by the time you’re done, the rest of the day is much easier and you’re likely to finish more tasks. The more you finish the better you feel, the better you feel the more likely you are to continue that productivity the next day, and the cycle continues.

  1. The Eisenhower Matrix

This concept relies on the idea that you should make very brief decisions about every new task you face. If you spend ten minutes trying to find the best approach to everything you do, you end up wasting hours per day not doing anything. Trust your instincts and go with your gut. If you mess up you will only get better with more practice. If your decision affects the life, health, or otherwise well-being of anyone including yourself, take the necessary time to consider the situation before making risky or rash decisions.

  1. Baby Steps

If you see that you have a bunch of very small tasks that you can wipe out in five or ten minutes before you sit down to work for the day, then do it. Getting rid of the mundane but otherwise simple tasks can free up your mind to focus on the important things you have to do that day. You don’t have to stress about or be interrupted by thoughts of that long to-do list when you’ve gotten the little items out of the way.

  1. Psych Yourself Up

Never underestimate yourself. Start small, aim for super easy goals and watch your confidence sore as you breeze through seemingly more than you intended. By breaking up your larger tasks into smaller ones, you can better accurately gauge your progress. This also goes hand in hand with…

  1. Elephant Habits

Take your time, be consistent and progress steadily to ensure quality. One big project or lump some of work that may not be due immediately is better handled slowly over time rather than trying to get it all done in one sitting. If you have a project that will take sixteen hours to finish and two weeks to do it, it would be easier to work one or two hours a day everyday than try and manage eight hour shifts just days before it’s due.

  1. Build Your Tolerance

Work is work and sometimes it’s difficult. We have to build up our ability to handle that discomfort if we ever expect to succeed. Always be on the grind!

  1. Action & Reward

Always be aware of why you feel like you can’t do certain tasks so that you can better overcome those negative feelings. The best way to bypass those thoughts is to treat every task like a prize-worthy notch to hit, and then treat yourself when you finish something. A good reward for work well done only motivates your natural instinct to repeat that behavior.

  1. Look At the Bigger Picture

Successful people know that change happens slowly, one step at a time. Keep the end goal in your mind, but keep taking small steps, day in and day out. You’ll get there!

  1. Get Help

Never be afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed to ask someone for help. We’ve all needed help at some point, ask someone to help you or hire someone.

When it comes to making the most of your day, these twelve simple tips can help you go from painful procrastination to powerful productivity, effectively changing your life for the better. Everyone suffers trying to compete with others for the ever-changing illusion of personal and professional accomplishment, but it’s your determination to stick to the grind that will separate you from everyone else and ensure you true success and happiness. So take it one day at a time, don’t worry about what anyone else does, says, or thinks, and never give up!