How To Overcome Procrastination And Get Things Done?

Procrastination can sneakily undermine your efforts, leaving you overwhelmed, stressed, and unaccomplished. Learn how to get back to action, raise productivity and achieve a desired outcome.

According to research by Dr Piers Steel, the world’s leading expert on procrastination, approximately 20% of adults identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. One in five individuals struggle with persistent delays in task completion and goal achievement. A 2010 US study found that employees spend an average of more than two hours a day doing nothing, excluding lunch breaks. As a result, the US economy lost more than $1.2 trillion in 2010.

The bad habit of postponing things

Procrastination is a silent yet formidable enemy that lurks in the shadows of one’s aspirations, dreams, and goals. It stealthily sabotages one’s efforts, leaving them overwhelmed, stressed, and unaccomplished.

What is getting in the way?

Procrastination often involves a combination of fear (if you procrastinate with something, first ask yourself, what are you afraid of?), poor time management, perfectionism, and lack of motivation. Recognising these underlying factors is the first step towards reclaiming control over your actions and decisions.

How to get things done?

The good news is that defeating procrastination is possible. You can break free from its grip and shift towards productivity and success with the right strategies and mindset.

How to take action, raise productivity and achieve a desired outcome in 7 steps:

1. Set Clear and Achievable Goals

One of the most effective ways to combat procrastination is to set clear, realistic, and achievable goals. This approach provides a sense of direction and helps create a roadmap towards your desired outcomes. For example, a clear, measurable goal is “I will create my CV by Monday EOB and write a cover letter by Tuesday evening so that I can start applying for a new job via LinkedIn from Wednesday morning onwards.” (set measurable deadlines!)

2. Prioritise Tasks and Create a To-Do List

Identify the most essential tasks and focus your energy on completing them first. Creating a to-do list can help you organise your day and stay focused. Remember to allocate sufficient time for each task while being realistic about your capabilities.

3. Practice the Two-Minute Rule

As productivity expert David Allen states in his Two-Minute Rule, if a task requires less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately. Adopting this rule eliminates the tendency to postpone trivial tasks and cultivates a habit of immediate action, which empowers you by growing your sense of ability.

4. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

Complex and daunting tasks often seem overwhelming. Break down large tasks into small steps and complete one step at a time. Make sure you celebrate each small victory along the way, as it will fuel your motivation and momentum toward accomplishing the larger goal.

“There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” Desmond Tutu

5. Eliminate Distractions!

In today’s digital age, distractions, from social media notifications to email alerts, abound in various forms. Identify the distractions that hinder your productivity and take proactive measures to eliminate or minimise them, for example, by using productivity tools or apps that block distracting websites and help you stay focused on the task at hand.

6. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

Your mindset plays a crucial role in combating procrastination. Instead of dwelling on past failures or succumbing to self-doubt, cultivate a positive attitude that fosters resilience and perseverance. Perceive challenges as opportunities for growth. Embrace setbacks as valuable learning experiences. They are necessary if you want to grow and feel satisfaction when you succeed.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself in your quest to overcome procrastination. Recognise that occasional setbacks are a natural part of the process and refrain from being overly self-critical or judgmental. Acknowledge your efforts and progress, regardless of the outcome. Remember, even the smallest step forward brings you closer to your desired result.

Heads up!

Procrastination may seem impossible, but you can conquer it with determination, discipline, and a strategic approach. By setting clear goals, prioritising tasks, eliminating distractions, and cultivating a positive mindset, you empower yourself to take decisive action and achieve your full potential. If this still sounds overwhelming, consider getting a coach to boost your motivation and keep you accountable.

And heads up, you will get there eventually!


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