17 Powerful Ways to Overcome Procrastination

No matter how good of a business person you are or how motivated you might be about reaching your goals, there will always be times when you just plain don’t want to get to work. Maybe it’s a big project you’re stalling on at the office or maybe you’re staring down the end of the second week in a row you’ve skipped your gym workouts. Whatever the case, the moral of the story is that you need a way to break through your procrastination – and you need it fast!

When you find yourself stuck in this rut, try any of the following tips to help you overcome procrastination.

Tip #1 – Use “to do” management programs effectively

If you find yourself procrastinating because you feel overwhelmed, implementing a good “to do” system could be the solution that allows you to get down to business. Keep in mind that a good “to do” program is one that allows you to update tasks quickly and capture thoughts as they occur. While a pen and paper might work for some people, most will be better served by a mobile device running programs like Evernote, Remember the Milk or Things.

Tip #2 – Establish appropriate organization systems

It’s no wonder you procrastinate when you know it’s going to take at least 20 minutes to find all the documents needed to get started on a project! Instead, develop strong filing systems for your email and digital documents, as well as organizational plans for everyday items around your home. Doing so will prevent the delays that often cost you big in terms of productivity.

Tip #3 – Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique involves working in 25 minute chunks, punctuated by long and short breaks. Use an app like Focusbooster to monitor your progress, and you’ll likely find that working in small windows is less overwhelming (and less likely to cause productivity) than tackling a large project all at once.

Tip #4 – Don’t “break the chain”

Set daily goals that will help you complete major projects (for example, exercising for 20 minutes each day or writing for one hour) and then mark off the days you meet your goals on a printed calendar. Watching the long line of “X”s grow across your calendar will help you avoid procrastination in order to not “break the chain”.

Tip #5 – Identify your most productive times

If you’re more focused in the morning, set aside this time for your biggest, most complicated projects. Putting off important work until the times when you’re less productive is likely to lead to procrastination.

Tip #6 – Start small, finish big

When your “to do” list seems overwhelming, try to find a few small items that you can knock out quickly. Your feelings of accomplishment will grow and help give you the momentum you need to tackle whatever’s on your project list.

Tip #7 – Create a focused environment

Understand what type of environment you work best in and recreate these conditions as much as possible in your workspace. Taking steps to minimize distractions and make your work station as welcoming as possible will make it easier for you to get down to business faster.

Tip #8 – Identify your Top 3 “must do” items

Every night, before you go to bed, write a list of the top three items you most need to finish the next day. When you have a focused plan of attack ready and waiting for you in the morning, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

Tip #9 – Bet on yourself

If you’re afraid your procrastination will prevent you from meeting an important deadline, place a bet on the StickK.com website for a certain amount of money that will be donated to an organization you don’t like if you fail to complete your tasks on time.

Tip #10 – Batch process similar tasks

The amount of prep work needed for each different project on your “to do” list can make projects seem larger than they really are. Instead, batch process your tasks to complete similar projects at the same time – eliminating the time needed to switch between tasks and reducing your chances of procrastinating.

Tip #11 – Reward yourself at project milestones

When facing a large task, break the overall project down into several smaller milestones and set up rewards for achieving each new deadline. Make sure the rewards are things you’ll be excited to receive (for example, a new book or a nice dinner out) in order to truly give procrastination the boot.

Tip #12 – Eating the elephant

As the saying goes, the only way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time! If you can’t face tackling a large project in its entirety, find one small “mouthful” you can work on in order to prevent procrastination from sneaking in.

Tip #13 – Monitor your internet usage

If you find yourself falling into the vicious trap of funny Youtube videos and cute kitten pictures online, eliminate procrastination by policing your internet activities with free apps like RescueTime and LeechBlock.

Tip #14 – Partner up to prevent procrastination

Having an accountability partner can make all the difference in the world when it comes to ending procrastination. If you’ve got a major goal on the horizon, enlist the support of friends and family members to check in with you periodically and help keep you accountable to the goals you set for yourself.

Tip #15 – Take a visualization break

If you find yourself struggling to take action in the face of overwhelming procrastination, take a few minutes to visualize the end result you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to lose weight, picture your newly-fit self skipping down the beach in a bikini. If it’s a business project you’re struggling with, visualize the extra money being deposited into your bank account or your boss congratulating you on a job well done. Make your visualizations as realistic as possible and you’ll soon want to experience this same success in real life!

Tip #16 – Work on a different project

One sneaky way to get around your procrastination is to start work on another, more appealing project. Then, while you’re hard at work, switch gears and get back to the task you’re procrastinating on. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to make the transition when you’re already working than when you’re shlumping around on the couch.

Tip #17 – Take a Single Half Step

If you’re truly stuck, follow the advice of productivity expert Leo Babauta and take a single half step towards your goal. You’ll likely find that even the smallest of actions is enough to get you in the right mindset to eliminate procrastination once and for all!

Pawel Reszka runs Affhelper.com, a blog where he shares ideas and tips on how to make money online through content marketing.

31 thoughts on “17 Powerful Ways to Overcome Procrastination”

  1. elcosario says:

    excelent Pawel, thanks for this. 😉

    1. Pawel Reszka says:

       @elcosario Thanks man. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  2. This is a common problem for me. I find the best way to be productive is a massive calender above my workstation. That way i can never forget or lose track. I then reward myself throughout the day once certain tasks are completed.

  3. My to-do list of building niche site is very long. I try to break them down as 30-min each task and finish 4 tasks each day. 
    The Pomodoro Technique works great for me! kentkchow 

    1. Pawel Reszka says:

       @Kent @ Niche Marketing Tips  Yeah, I can’t work for longer than 1 hour. I need to break it down too (unless I am gaming lol)

  4. Great post John! My personal favourite is #6 Nothing better than a few quick wins to get you on your way! If I’m having trouble getting motivated I’ll take a few small bites and before I know it theres nothing stopping me!

  5. Nice post. please do keep postings like this.

  6. Nice post. please do keep postings like this.

  7. zeus says:

    You should now guest post on my site also.

  8. BrandonH says:

    Been freelancing for 1 year now. #13 is my biggest struggle. At least I ended up reading something here instead of at the Oatmeal. Speaking of The Oatmeal…

  9. awesome tips.. i like the picture 🙂 it really describe myself… hard to not procrastinate…  🙂

  10. Dess71 says:

    Oh my! This is my major problem in life itself. I do things very late. I study my education when the exam is two days away. MOst importantly I spend more time in mindless browsing everyday. This helps a lot. Thanks Johnny.

  11. Abhik says:

    Okay, I’ll read this later 🙂

  12. MindyDrake says:

    Nice post. I like this tool too: http://www.e.ggtimer.com/pomodoro.

  13. mehdi17 says:

    That blank picture is not very inspiring.lol

  14. Joe Cassella says:

    The picture that is not there is me for sure. I like all 17 tips. I will definitely use the later. HA! HA!  
    Seriously very good tips.

    1. Pawel Reszka says:

      Funny thing is that at first I thought John was seriously going to find an image for this later. Took me a while to get it lols

  15. fas says:

    Good tips, this is the major problems, bloggers face.

  16. Stefanie says:

    That picture is too funny! I unfortunately am a huge procrastinator, so thanks for the article. I really am trying to not be so lazy, so I appreciate the suggestions.

  17. online Money says:

    Great list of thing to help me have the motivation to actually grow my business rather than watch tv or play online games when I should be working.

  18. carlton says:

    I do agree with all the above,especially point 5–as i have noticed that many at times i procrastinate when my concentration power had diminished-and find it easier to push the activity to the following day

  19. Dan Ang says:

    This is a great article and applicable to everyone everywhere in any field.

  20. miketea1 says:

    I will definitely read this later

    1. cklinkert says:

       @miketea1 Haha, nice 🙂

  21. about flash says:

    great another archievement comes my way today ..thanks for this pieace

  22. farzen says:

    Yeah flash-about has good archievement usually 

  23. Focus focus focus… this is one ultimate key to almost anything.

  24. SarahKenner says:

    Thank you … that’s just what I need ..if anyone wants 100% commissions you deserve here is how   .http://empowernetwork.com/livefromthebeach.php?id=arianna17

  25. Rob Merlino says:

    I think I’ll read this…tomorrow ;p

  26. John Chow dot Com says:

    Good idea!

  27. Sean Grimes says:

    Nice article. My problem is that if I don’t follow a tight robotic schedule, I will procrastinate all the time. For example, I hit the gym for about 1 hour to an hour and a half 5 days a week. If I do too much before my normal workout schedule, I ALWAYS end up not working out that day. For me, something has t give. I can do a lot, but I can’t do it all if I want to maintain a good stress level.

    Stay focused on what you want to do. Only shoot for one goal at a time.

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