21 Effective Ways to Avoid Procrastination

Let’s get straight to it... here are 21 ways to avoid procrastination that work, wherever you are: 

1. Suffer

One of the best ways to avoid procrastination (and to overcome it) is to go through the pain of feeling it.

Allow yourself to procrastinate on something. Take time to really notice how it feels.

2. Be clear about what you want to do

Clarity is essential.

Before you tackle doing it, make sure you know what it is you’re going to do. You're less likely to procrastinate if you know exactly what it is you're aiming for.

3. Be aware of it

You can't reach a solution if you don't know what the problem is.

Why, and how, are you procrastinating?

4. Decide if you actually care enough to do that task

Are there enough valid reasons for committing to it?

If not, dump it.

5. Defer it

When something lands in your inbox or on your desk, do it the following day.

Try this cure for procrastination - it really is one of the most effective ways to get things done.

6. Commit it to writing

There’s power in them lists!

Whatever it is, write it down and keep it with you.

Visual reminders work.

7. Make it easy enough

This is the key to overcoming procrastination about anything.

8. Ready, fire, aim

Don’t wait for everything to be perfect.

Start, then make it better.

9. Break it down

Remember, starting is the hardest part… unless you make it the easiest.

Make it a habit to do things in chunks of time that you can face.

Any length of time on a task will move things on.

10. Time it

Grab an egg timer; set it for any length of time that doesn’t scare you.

Now focus single-mindedly on your task for that length of time.

11. Work when you work best

What are your most productive times of day?

Whether it’s early in the morning or last thing at night, do it when you’re least likely to get distracted.

12. Sell it to yourself

Before you do something, take a minute to focus your thought on it.

Imagine the feeling you’ll get from accomplishing something, then get to work on it.

13. Sell it to yourself some more

These procrastination quotes should do the trick.

14. Pick and choose

On any given day, work though a finite list of tasks.  

Doing them in any order you want enhances the feeling of having a choice.

Having said that, the list becomes infinitely easier if you…

15. Do the worst first

Got something hard or unpleasant to deal with?

Do it quickly.

If you get it done in one go, great. If not, time box it daily until it’s done.

16. Be accountable

Tell someone else what you’re going to do and when you’ll do it by.

17. Sort out your space

Got a messy desk? Can you get your hands on what you need without too much effort?

Your work space often determines whether you can and will get on with a task or put it off.

18. Eliminate distractions

Phones, TV, the internet... remove yourself from what you know will stop you.

19. Prepare a reward

When you actually do something, reward yourself for doing so with something minor but meaningful.

20. Do it on a specific day

Remember this old Scottish proverb:  

What may be done at any time will be done at no time.

21. Make it a habit

Do things when they show up, not before they blow up.

*  *  *

Apply these 21 ways to avoid procrastination to help you actually do what matters to you! 

Do you need to get a better balance in your life?

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