How to Beat Procrastination Once and For All

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hourglassProcrastination gets the best of all of us, even if it’s infrequently. Sometimes, there are simply things we don’t want to do, have built unrealistic expectations around, or overwhelm us to the point of immobility. And when it hits, procrastination can develop into a cycle that preys on emotional insecurities and lack of motivation.

If you’re able to anticipate procrastination, its possible to use it to your advantage and increase your productivity by applying strategies like structured procrastination. But while procrastination isn’t always negative and can actually help us get more done, its undeniable that some of us manage it better than others.

Not only can unconstructive procrastination diminish your ability to meet deadlines and fulfill responsibilities, but it can also create stress, reduce confidence and cause disappointment. If you’re one who has an adversarial relationship with procrastination, here are some ways you can battle and conquer it for good.

Use Time to Your Advantage

Time and procrastination go hand-in-hand, and there are ways to manipulate time to your advantage when it comes to succumbing to procrastination. If you find that you’re procrastinating on minor everyday activities (like getting up on time and being punctual for meetings), try setting your clock 10 minutes ahead.

When it comes to work, you can get time on your side by building extra time into deadlines. Allowing yourself a little flexibility by padding your scheduled time can reduce stress and make it easier to meet deadlines. You can also reduce the time pressure of your work by overestimating time needed to complete a project and creating a more relaxed work environment.

Make It Urgent

When it comes to getting things done, some of us need a sense of urgency in order to avoid procrastination. If you prioritize your to-do’s, your most important tasks should remain in your view until they are completed. And when you assign a specific timeline to your top priorities, the urgency you create can push you to completion.

Focus on the Challenge

Do you thrive on a challenge? If so, focusing on the difficulty of the task and making it a competition with yourself can encourage your success. In many ways, fear can play a role in this situation as well. Consider the consequences of not completing the task on time…sometimes the fear of failure or of letting someone down can help you avoid procrastination.

Plan a Reward

Think about what completion of the dreaded task will look and feel like, including the sense of relief and accomplishment you expect to experience. If you make a promise to yourself that you will enjoy some type of reward once your to-do is complete, you can increase your focus and desire to get it done.

Take a Break

It may seem counterproductive, but one way to beat procrastination is by walking away. Taking a short break from the pressure to complete something can be enough to restore your perspective and motivate you to get it done. If you find that you frequently need this downtime in order to be productive, you can schedule it into your daily activities to help you throughout the day.

What do you do to beat procrastination when it starts to hurt your productivity?

Image credit: gsilva

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

productivitytime management
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