7 ways to stop procrastinating

Well, first of all, I have a confession. I have a full list of things to get done today, and yet, here I am, procrastinating by writing a blog post with the clickbait title of 7 ways to stop procrastinating. Fun fact: I didn’t even get all the way through writing this post without stopping to take photos of the dried roses on my desk. How’s that for meta-procrastination?

How to stop procrastinating

Did you know that people often procrastinate because they’re afraid of failing at the tasks that they need to complete? Or, rather, fear of failure promotes procrastination primarily when it reduces people’s sense of autonomy, or when people feel incapable of dealing with a task that they’re afraid to fail at. This can be doubly problematic when you work from home and/or when you’re self employed and don’t technically have a boss breathing down your back/the sunny garden calling your name.

“While we waste our time hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away.”
— Seneca

1. List out all the things you need to do

Use the guilt of your deadlines to encourage you to do something. If you’ve got a huge job on your to-do list, break it down into smaller, achievable bits. That way you’ll have more of a sense of achievement, and less of a ‘oh my goodness, how will I ever get this done?’ Then, pick and number 5 of the most urgent things. Then do them (as an anarchist, I never do them in the order I’ve numbered them.) I love a paper list that I can cross out; and I’ll even put in batches of smaller jobs eg. edit 10 photos and use the cross bar tally system to note the batches you’ll get done.

How to stop procrastinating

2. Smash out a minor job, even if it’s not particularily important

This one I find quite effective. There’s something about crossing off a minor job that seems to start the ball rolling. Take this blog post for instance – it’ll get me into the actually-getting-things-done mindset, and I’ll be able to cross off a load of stuff. << This is one of my favourite ways to stop procrastinating.

3. Set yourself a deadline + reward yourself

So, say you’re doom scrolling on Instagram or Tiktok (yes, I see you) then give yourself to the next round 15-minutes to indulge, and then get off your phone. For example, if it’s 11.35, let yourself watch dancing & pointing videos until 11.45 then put your phone down and open that to-do list. Stuggling to so this and have someone in the house? Set an alarm or tell them what you’re intent on doing.

4. Ban all social media

Turn off all your social media notifications (this has been my default for years as a social media manager with a stable of client, else I’d never actually get any actual content creation done for them.) Also, turn off Whatsapp. Both your to-do list, and your friends will thank you. If you’re really struggling or need to concentrate, use a free app like Forest; your time concentrating can literally grow trees. This is one of my favourite ways to block my ability to pick up my phone and noodle on the internet. (Ps. Not sponsored, just genuinely obsessed.)

Forest App

5. Get an accountability buddy

You simply can’t beat person to person guilt. Pick someone who has a similar goal to yours – for instance a friend and I were taking two separate online courses of around the same length (me here in England, her in the Middle East) and we’d have weekly check-ins to see how each other was getting on. It was calendar noted for maximum effect, and we both got our courses finished (and reaped the individual rewards.)

6. Go for a walk or get a physical chore done

So often this is a good answer to so many problems – get the body moving and the brain will follow. It’s also a good way to mull over problems. Just you, maybe some good music and a lonely ‘to-do’ list that you can pick up when you get back. As one of the many ways to stop procrastinating, it’s also a good time to call someone you haven’t spoken to for awhile. (Personally I’d avoid client catch-up chats, because you’ll end up needing to refer to notes/emails/systems at some point.) Stick that on the list of things to be crossed off for maximum points…

7. If all else fails, just give into the procrastination

Sometimes your brain just needs a rest. 

What’s your favourite procrastination solution?

{ Pin for later procrastination stopping}

How to stop procrastinating

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