How To Stop Procrastinating

Like you, I was a chronic procrastinator for all my life up until my first year after college. I was so used to wasting a lot of my time consuming social media or Netflix that I missed out on great opportunities to truly change my life.

Procrastination is also bad because of the guilt and stress associated with it.

No matter how much you love watching TV, you can never truly escape from the guilt you feel if you have work pending or worse, the shame and stress you feel afterwards.

Often times these negative emotions only make you procrastinate even more. You watch the next TV series to numb them out.

At the moment, I am no longer a much of a procrastinator. I am an incredibly productive person. I write multiple blog posts and create close to 20 pins a day for my pinterest not to mention all my other work.

Here is what helped and what continues to help:

1. Motivation

Sometimes its not even about being lazy. It simply that you do not see a point to what you are doing.

I graduated a few months later from law school because I flanked out of my Accounting class.

To be honest I completely deserved that E. I put in minimal effort because I did not understand why the school was forcing me to take a class I would never need.

After I failed, you best believe I worked hard. I knew that I may need accounting in the future but I needed it to graduate in the present.

In short, remember your why. Remember why you need to actually get this task or project done and get motivation from that.

2. Understand Resistance

I highly recommend Stephen Pressfield’s book The War of Art. In it, he talks about resistance. Resistence is force, I like to think of it as a mental force, that restrains us from doing the work we really need to do.

For writers, we hide behind writer’s block while the reality is that we are afraid. Resistance makes the task look bigger than it really is, harder, more exhausting and less rewarding.

Once you understand that your mind will always try to block you from doing great work. You can counter the resistance.

Think of it like a battle between good and evil in your mind. Distractions are the enemies weapons. You need to win this battle. You need to just write the first paragraph or take the first step and you will break its power.

3. Just start

I have already mentioned that resistance makes tasks look bigger and more daunting than they really are. For you to discover that you they are really doable and even enjoyable, just start.

Tell yourself that if you can just pick up the cleaning rag, that would be enough, and if you can just wipe the surface just once and soon you will find yourself cleaning the entire house.

The pomodoro technique can really help you with this. It is where you set a timer for just 25 minutes and you say that you only have tow work for those 25 minutes.

When the timer goes off and you still want to keep going, you can take a 5 minute break then another 25 minutes to work.

When your brain feels like it is not being taken hostage for an undetermined amount of time, it is more likely to coooperrate.

The way I use the pomodoro technique is instead of giving myself time lines, I use tasks. I promise myself that if I just write 500 words, I can leave. 500 words is the bare minimum and if I achieve it, I release myself from guilt.

Often times, I end up writing three 1200 word blog posts.

4. Create micro deadlines for long term projects or work

I do remember having an entire semester to write a paper and crunching it the night before the deadline. Not good.

If you have to do something over a period of time, give yourself small deadlines. When I was writing my first book, I had a deadline for each chapter and then a deadline for rewriting and proofreading and so on. These helps to keep you on time.

Just remember, as Matt D’Avella says, everything always takes longer than you thought. So add some room and flexibility to your deadlines but not too much.

5. Reward yourself with the "temptation"

I love to watch TV shows and YouTube videos. I work for myself, from home. I can easily spend entire days even weeks wasting time consuming media. 

Instead, I have created a system where TV and YouTube are my rewards for working hard. Once I have written all the blog posts I need to write and I have sent out all my pins, I am allowed to indulge in as much TV and YouTube as I want.

Another way is to reward yourself by changing up the location or style of doing mundane, repetitive and boring tasks.

For example, I can decide to work from a coffee shop instead of the house from time to time and enjoy being outside for the day.

Procrastination has been killing dreams, destroying sanity and conquering talented, high achievers like you for millenia. However, you can beat it. If I was able to, so can you.

Tell me in the comment section if you have any other tips to beat procrastination. Now get off your phone and start working. Just make sure to come back when you are done.