How to Overcome Procrastination in 7 Easy Steps

How to avoid procrastination

Written by Aeesha McOseni

November 9, 2020

If you are reading this, I overcame procrastination.

In this article, I will tell you how to overcome procrastination in 7 easy steps.

But First, What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of postponing, delaying, and putting off tasks. That voice at the back of your head that tells you to hit snooze. It is not only for sleep but for other activities that make up your day to day life. It is often misdiagnosed as laziness.

Procrastination is not synonymous with laziness, though laziness is an enabler of procrastination. As opposed to laziness, procrastinators are willing to do the work but not as at when it is best to do. According to Dr. Axe, up to 95% of students procrastinate. Similarly, about 50% of adults do too.

Procrastinators tell themselves that there’s still time or worse, that they’re not going to succeed at doing it anyway. So why bother at the moment. Also that there are other more pleasurable things to do at the moment than the daunting task.

For the last case, mine is procrastibaking. It is the action of procrastination by baking.

How Do You Overcome Procrastination?

Do these steps work? Read the first sentence of this article again. But I must say, you do not overcome procrastination the first time. It requires continuous and intentional efforts for every activity you want to do. The steps below are neither one-size-fits-all nor should they be followed in that hierarchy.

1. Create a List

Actually, create 2 lists.

First, create a list of the tasks you are procrastinating on and a list of reasons you are procrastinating.

The first list differs between individuals, like homework, house-chores, reading for tests or exams, work projects, etc. But the second list will be quite similar to a lot of people. The various reasons why people procrastinate include boredom, tiredness, anxiety, distraction. It could also be a feeling of impending failure at doing the task.

2. Set Time Limit

To accomplish your tasks on time, you should create a time limit.

Giving indefinite time is one sure way of never completing your work. It is also important to allow ample time for each task. In the strive of wanting to be productive, you might assign not enough time for the activities on your list. This is a recipe for failure.

3. Get Rid of Distraction

Usually, but not always, the phone. It could be a good book. Or the last 5 episodes of a series on Netflix or your friends’ juicy gist. Anything that puts you off doing your work is a distraction.

Distractions usually promise temporary comfort, making your work less appealing. Don’t fall for it, don’t hit snooze!

4. Get Comfortable

This is where you set the mood, visually, auditorily, and kinetically and visually.

  • Visually: Get rid of clutter. A jumbled up workplace will make you lose interest in work. This might be my minimalism. You can read more about my journey into minimalism here.
  • Auditorily: Remove the annoying noise, plug your ears if you have to. Play something that you find soothing, could be white noise, music, etc. I put whatever I want to listen to on repeat before I start work, letting myself soak in it. This way, it does not act as an active disturbance, but a background feel. For this article, Kiss Daniel’s Sofa is buzzing in and out of focus around me.
  • Kinetically: Put everything you’ll need throughout your work within a hand’s reach. Getting up to get things might frustrate you to give up working.

A jumbled up workplace will make you lose interest in work. This might be my minimalism speaking though.

5. Get to Work

Now that everything is set, start your work. How do you achieve a seamless work-flow? I go either way. Sometimes I start with the daunting task and work my way to the easy ones. Other times, I start with the easy ones then surmount the more difficult ones.

It is helpful to break your work into tiny bits that flow into each other. By doing this, you dilute the anxiety of taking a difficult task head-on.

6. Be optimistic

Know that while you are working, the voice will come again telling you to drop your work for a while for some pleasure. Do not listen to it. But don’t be in denial. Remind yourself of the feeling you will get when you finally complete your task and your reward. Let that dopamine rush fuel you.

7. Reward Yourself

Giving yourself a treat after finishing a task will encourage you to do more. Although, beware of a preward. This is the reward you give yourself before you start your work. It does not work. I repeat it does not work.

My reward for writing this article is a bar of chocolate. Hidden well out of sight until this piece has been completed, edited, and sent.

You must continue putting a conscious effort into learning how to overcome procrastination. Like I said earlier, overcoming this is not what you do once and expect an everlasting result.

Completing your work as when due will make things easier. The psychology behind procrastination says overcoming it can boost the advancement of a career and broker a much better life.

These are the 7 easy steps to overcome procrastination. I hope you find them helpful.

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