How To Overcome Procrastination

Procrastination.  It's like an 'anti-christ' to a planner, getting in the way to our productivity!  But it happens to everyone.  So what is it, why does it happen and how can we overcome it?

Procrastination is defined as "to delay or postpone action intentionally and / or habitually."   And there are primarily two reasons why people procrastinate:


1. You're Burned Out

Are you tired, exerting yourself too much and just "don't feel like doing it"?  Well, then most likely, burnout is to blame.  You need some time to re-focus and energize.  Here are some tips on how to overcome burnout.  As the saying goes, "Sometimes you have to step backwards, to move forwards."

Tip 1: Get More Sleep

Dedicate the time to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  This allows your body and mind the time it needs to recharge, so that you can face the day ready for new challenges.

Tip 2: Get Some "Me Time"

Do what you love...anything that allows you to decompress and just turn off your to-do list.  For me, that's taking a yoga or spinning class, gardening or reading.  For my husband, it's binge-watching TV.  Whatever it is, take the time and don't feel guilty about it!

Tip 3: Make A Life Audit

Once you've allowed yourself to de-compress, take some additional time to just review how and where you're spending your time.  Are there things you're doing that you can delegate or possibly completely eliminate?  Check out my blog post on the Eisenhower System for help on how to prioritize your tasks.

Procrastination Does Nobody Good

2. You're Dreading The Task

Sometimes, it's the actual task that is causing you to procrastinate.  It's usually something that isn't fun, maybe requires a lot of resources like time or money, or even possibly something that you're afraid to do.  Whatever it is, here are some ways to get around these particularly odious things we have to do.

Tip 1: Tackle The Tasks You Dread First...Before All Other Tasks

Author Brian Tracy calls this "eating the frog" or tackling the hardest, most dreaded task first on your list.  Just swallowing that dreaded task first, will give you a sense of momentum and push you to accomplish the other, less dreaded tasks on your list.

Tip 2: Set A Timer And Focus On That Task For Only 25 Minutes At A Time

Known as the Pomodoro Technique, this system helps you to focus your day on those most important (and often dreaded) tasks by dedicating 25 minutes on it at a time, with a 5 minute break.  This means no social media, phone or email interruptions during those 25 minutes!  Taking a task in smaller chunks really helps you to stay focused on completing the task.

Tip 3: Give Yourself A Reward

Yes, it may sound childish, but sometimes tasks need an a little extra encouragement to help you get it checked off.  Decide ahead of time on a reward for completing that dreaded task...and write it down!


Source: Special thanks to Abby Lawson for her insights on "How To Be Productive When You're Not Feeling Motivated".

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