9 ways to beat procrastination

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Photo Credit: Donna Yarbrough on Unsplash

There are those rare times in life where procrastination is born out of intuition and our unconscious wisdom is causing us to stall on an action that we shouldn’t take, or an action that we aren’t ready for, or an action that would have ended up being a waste of time.  This does happen occasionally.  Sometimes we aren’t tackling a project or goal for a good reason.  

But more often than not, we are chronically procrastinating and for the all of the wrong reasons…laziness, lack of motivation, fear, no direction, misprioritizing, excuses, etc.  This is when we let our ego-mind think us right out of doing stuff, over and over again. We get into the habit of putting off important things.  And the longer they stay on our to-do list, the heavier they get.

So if this sounds like you right now, here are 9 tips that can help you beat procrastination:

  1. Identify your procrastination language.  What are the piddly things you often do to dick around?  These are easy things that will never end and don’t involve much brain-power.  Emails, messages, house chores, cooking, social media, TV…?  Write your top ones down.  These are your go-to “comfort actions” that enable your dawdling.  By cultivating this black and white self-awareness, you will easily be able to identify when you start acting out your procrastination language.
  2. Eliminate distractions.  Protect your time with some positive no’s.  You may need to start saying some loving “no’s” to friends and family for a short while so you can focus 100% on the task until its done.  William Ury explains how a positive no is really a yes to a priority. Plan ahead and remove yourself from interruptions and temptations. Set the right tone for productivity in your environment (phone on silent, out of reach, water glass full) and challenge yourself to be un-distractible for a solid hour.
  3. Tackle the stuff you least want to do first.  Get the difficult stuff over and done with.  This way you can work hard before you play hard.  However, if this feels impossible and emotionally painful, sprinkle some small easy tasks on the very top of your list just to help you get warmed up into production-mode.  This will make taking action a little less of a stretch.
  4. Push through the ego-mind’s field of gravity.  Pierce through all of the thoughts that are talking you out of taking action right now, by taking action.  Like jumping into a freezing lake – the more you think about it, the more you psyche yourself out about it.  Just do it without thinking.  And if you are someone who could use a little extra help quieting the noisy ego-mind and disempowering those non-productive thoughts, start adding short meditations into your day.  We have some awesome ones on our free app! Just download Ego-Less and start exploring the islands!
  5. Set your intention to do one thing at a time.  Don’t focus on everything that needs to be done, just start with one thing and take baby steps.  If you are heavily marinated in the pull of procrastination, near-sightedness can really prevent becoming overwhelmed.  Let the rest of your to-do list fade into the background and bring your full attention to the single task at hand.
  6. Commit to your follow through.  Nothing steals our energy like unfinished projects.  In metaphysics, they say each thing we’ve started leaves an energy-cord attached to us, and by cleaning up our attachments we retrieve tremendous energy.  Whether you believe that or not, there’s no questioning how much ‘follow through’ affects our mental wellbeing. So ignore the shiny objects and that tantalizing phone, nose to the grind until completion.  This will help you build concentration and become stronger than excuses.  Secure yourself to the task and let your determination energize you through it.
  7. Get positive.  Trust you can get stuff done and know that you will be feeling that platinum sense of accomplishment soon enough.  It’s not as hard as it seems, and once your done, you will wonder why you waited so long to do it. You’ve overcome procrastination in the past and managed to get on top of your priorities before – so you can do it again.  You can and you will.  Start encouraging yourself with upbeat self-talk and positive affirmations.
  8. Let your procrastination muscle atrophy.  Stop procrastinating in life, in general.  If you don’t use it, you loose it. Even those little minor, “harmless” procrastinations keep the muscle alive.  So when you think of something simple that you need to do, do it right then and there or schedule it into your near future.   There is a big difference between procrastinating on tasks and consciously rescheduling them.
  9. STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND READING ABOUT IT AND JUST DO IT!