4 Steps to Overcoming Procrastination

by Miranda Marquit · 6 comments

Procrastination is a very serious issue for  some people. Indeed, there are days when I don’t feel like getting work done, and I procrastinate. We all have those days, but for some of us, procrastination is a chronic problem — something that occurs far more often than we would like.

If you procrastinate regularly, it’s a good idea to take steps to overcome it. Putting of something relative unimportant on occasion is one thing; constantly failing to meet your obligations, or putting things off so long that getting them done on time requires a rush and a decrease in quality, is something else altogether.

Procrastination can result in problems with productivity, as well as causing issues in other parts of your life. If you want to overcome procrastination, here are 4 steps you can take:

1. Figure Out Why You Procrastinate

The first step to overcoming any problem or changing any habit is figuring out the why behind it. Why do you procrastinate? Do you feel overwhelmed, and unsure of where to start? Sometimes, when you’re afraid of failure, it’s easier to fail because you didn’t try, rather than because you crashed and burned. Take a look at why you are procrastinating, and then address that issue.

2. Start Small

Take small steps to make improvements. Whether you are working on a big project, or just trying to get to work on time, it’s a good idea to start small. If you feel uncertain about your ability to complete a project, break it down into smaller parts. If you want to change a habit, create a plan, with small steps, that allows you to make small improvements, a little bit at a time. Like paying off your debt, you should create small milestones that allow you to accomplish your goals and find success.

3. Reward Yourself

Set up a system of rewards so that you can measure progress. Many of us like to feel as though we are moving forward. The feeling of being stuck in a rut — and unable to get out — is one of the reasons many people procrastinate. A rewards system can help you feel as though you are moving forward, and give a bit of an emotional boost. When you feel better about your situation, you are more likely to want to continue making improvements. As you work toward, and achieve various goals, you will be more likely to continue in your efforts.

4. Set Up a System of Accountability

It’s important to have a measure of accountability as well. One way to motivate yourself to get the job done is to make a public posting. This can be especially effective if you care about what others think about you. At the very least, surround yourself with friends and relatives who are willing to support you. You can let them know your plans and they can help you stay on track. As you create your plan, and work on your projects, report to someone about your progress.

Follow these steps, and you will increase your chances of overcoming procrastination. It’s okay to take a day off every now and again, but you don’t want procrastination to become a habit. Overcome it, and accomplish more.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Lawless July 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm

You omitted one of the most common causes of severe procrastination in adults, and that is ADHD. People that suffer from what the medical world call “paralyzing procrastination”, should be properly investigated for Adult ADHD, as this is one of the most common symptoms in adults.

Ee Teck Ee August 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm

It is my decision that from tomorrow onward I will not procrastinate anymore.
I will not fail to express the same determination everyday.

Anthony Badu-Peprah October 3, 2012 at 5:02 am

Yes procrastination has been a canker for some of us. Often its not fear of the future but having too many things to do at a time. I have learnt to prioritize and also say no when I can’t do more. Procrastination often leads to disappointment.

John Opoku October 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I agree with Anthony and exactly that’s what happens to me. I must refuse some of the assignments. I overestimate what I could do in a day.

I will also start small what should be completed next week or two instead of pushing all to last minute or few days to deadline.

Cathy Koentges January 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Not only does starting small help, but also, along these lines, I have found two more things that help me to overcome “paralyzing” procrastination. Break the job down into very small parts and I do mean small, as in sharpen the pencils and wash the desk off. Put them on a To-Do list. These small units are very nonthreatening. In addition, I have found that it helps to just get up and get started on these little jobs before you begin thinking about all the other parts that will have to be done. Just go do the job on the to do list for that day, then stop. You can make the next increment a little larger and the next one larger still. You get the idea. Changing how you feel about doing these projects makes them much more nonthreatening and pretty soon, you learn you can manage anything you set your mind to.

healthiness and wellness February 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Procrastination is just another outcome of surrendering to the way we feel – which is actually not a good thing most times. The way to improvement and success in life is to carefully scrutinize your thoughts and feelings and act against them when necessary.

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