Wednesday, April 29, 2009

7 Tips to Stop Procrastinating

As much as we would all like to think we are always "on schedule" and "timely," the harsh reality is that many times, when faced with a project deadline, you are always working until the last minute to finish it. There is no shame in this. In fact, I've heard rumors that people work much better under pressure. There is obviously a lot of pressure when you're still working on a project 5 minutes before it's due to the client.

But, that isn't always the case. Procrastination is actually one of the most common problems we face today. There are so many distractions and ways to become sidetracked. How can you avoid them? Below are 7 ways to help you stop stalling and actually start doing.

1. Stop thinking and start doing.

You will always have a plan for a project. But could too much thought be a burden? The answer is yes. Instead of getting caught up on how to create the "perfect plan," which we all know does not exist, try to set a solid, well-structured plan that can be created in a reasonable period of time and execute!

2. Don’t blow a task out of proportion.

If you put off something hard, it will most definitely make it impossible. As you continue to put something off, you can't help but think about it more and more. The reality is that when you are dwelling on the task at hand for so long, it actually becomes a negative thought. This makes for a very tough project to accomplish. So, plan a little and take the proper action.

3. Just take the first step.

It's really easy to get overwhelmed when you look too far into a project. Sure, it is something you should be thinking about, but not suffocating yourself with. When you have trouble beginning the first step, it's hard to get out of that funk. Soon enough you're wandering the internet for hours in hopes to put the project off anymore. So, take that first step. It will put you in the mindset that you are being productive and putting effort into the task.

4. Start with the hardest task of your day.

Sometimes we dread calling that super annoying client or writing up a 5 page research paper. The fact is you will have to finish it no matter what. The trick here is to do the hardest thing you have to do that day first. This clears your mind and completely relieves you of the stress you would have if you put it off. Feel good about yourself and start the day off right by tackling what you dread the most first!

5. Just make a decision. Any decision.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

That quote pretty much speaks for itself, but do not take it lightly. We are faced with hundreds, possibly even thousands of decisions a day. You may not always choose the best possibility, but at least you are taking action to way onward!

6. Face your fear.

It's many times hard to just take action right away. Putting it off is always the easier solution, but why is that? We could be scared of failing or worried that we will look like a fool. The reality is you have to take responsibility and just do it! Even if you fail, it only makes you stronger and teaches you what not to do next time. Take a hold of your fear of starting and just start already.

7. Finish it.

Is there something that you have put off for so long that you just haven't gotten around to finishing it? There's always something with all of us and the truth is that this can be very daunting. It can put you in a very negative state of mind even though you may not realize it. Just try to finish what you started. But, if you start a project that you don't like or think you could do better, then do it over. Restart and make it even better. You'll feel a lot better about yourself in the end!

Thanks to the Positivity Blog for the inspiration!

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  1. nice post Josh! I can never have enough of "stop procrastinating" articles ! :-)

  2. Thanks Ani! I don't think any of us can get enough of these kind of articles. Haha!

  3. Good post, #2 and #3 are killers for me.

  4. It's kinda intriguing, but most of these above mentioned things are things not based upon laziness or slothfulness, but things based on entirely different problems: fear, overplanning, lack of confidence,lack of persistence/perseverence, overthinking. Most people would associate procrastination with laziness, but in these cases it is entirely focused on the negative feelings and emotional issues that make us stop working. Great post!

  5. Justin, now you know how to take care of that! Haha! Let me know how it goes.

    Nate, I couldn't agree more and it's nice you pointed that out. Laziness is a factor, but not the overriding one in this case. Glad you liked the post. Expect more in the future!

  6. Good post Josh. I am a huge procrastinator and it's a habit I definitely need to get out of.

  7. I read this article last year. I have some words on the subject as well.