How to stop procrastinating and start succeeding? 6 ways to stop procrastinating and get things done

Do you keep putting things off and then regret them later? You have an exam in a month but you are in no mood to study. You keep postponing the studies till there’s a day or two for the exam and then you feel overwhelmed and panic. You have a presentation to give in 1 week but you keep procrastinating till the last moment.

Does that sound like you?

You might be telling yourself right now, “yeah, that’s me. I’m a master procrastinator”. But the author of the book ‘5 second rule’ Mel Robbins says "you’re not a procrastinator! You just have the habit of procrastinating. Then you can also learn the science of breaking that habit". Sounds fair?

Let’s dive right into the topic- What are the different reasons we procrastinate and how to deal with each type of procrastination?

Why do we procrastinate?

1. Not interested-

The most obvious reason you procrastinate is that you are not interested in the task you’re going to do. It might be a subject that’s boring for you or some monotonous excel sheet work that you have to do. It’s boring for you but you HAVE to do it.

How to deal?

Try to mix it up with an interesting task. If maths is boring for you and you love reading English, study maths for 15 min and then study English for 15 min. If you don’t like working with finances, play your favorite music in the background while working. If you’re not someone who can focus with the music on, sip your favorite drink with work.

2. Fear of failure-

Many times, fear of failure is the reason we procrastinate. “What if no one buys my product?” “What if people criticize my blog?” “What if I can’t score well in my exam?” “What if I get nervous and can’t present well in the meeting?”. These are some self-talks that hold us back. It feels comforting to just ignore all this and binge watch that Netflix show instead of working on that scary project, isn’t it?

How to deal?

I will give you step by step solution to this.

  1. Write down what exactly are you scared of? Let’s say you are thinking “what if no one buys my product?”

  2. Ask yourself- what would happen if that’s the case? You might think “if no one buys my product, that’d mean my product is useless”

  3. Again go on asking yourself- what would happen if that’s the case? Let’s go on with the statement we have assumed. “If my product is useless, that’s mean I don’t even know the basics of business” “If I don’t know the basics of business, that’s mean I AM a failure” “If I am a failure, that means I can’t do anything in my life”

  4. Now logically think about the last statement, Is it true? Just because you failed at one business YOU ARE NOT a failure. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do ANYTHING in life. Right? Think positive- even if you fail, you’ll learn a lot in the process, you will gain experience that you can pass on to someone else.

Try this technique and see how your energy levels rise as soon as your fear disappears. Feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram if you have trouble finding out the exact thought behind your fear.

Check this post to know how to deal with failures.

3. Fear of criticism-

No one likes criticism. It hurts our ego, it can also break us if harsh. You might be afraid of how your boss is going to react to your presentation. I am always afraid of what my boss will say if my experiments fail. So many times I keep procrastinating the experiment itself.

How to deal?

Learn to take criticism in good spirit. Don’t take criticism personally. Analyze the criticism you got and see if there’s anything you can learn from it. Once you learn this art, fear of criticism will not make you procrastinate.

Developing more self-love is also a way to overcome this fear. Here is an article to know how to love yourself unconditionally.

4. Overwhelmed-

Often we are overwhelmed by how difficult a task seems. It looks too big to tackle.

How to deal?

One way to deal with this is to break down the task into smaller chunks. If you have to make a presentation, it can be divided into steps like-

  1. Search data

  2. Note down data

  3. Make a draft of the presentation

  4. Make introduction slides

  5. Make five slides with the actual data...and so on

Another amazing trick that I have read in the book ‘feeling good, the new mood therapy’ is to create cheat sheets. Make 3 columns, in the first column write down tasks. Label the 2nd column as ‘expected difficulty’ and 3rd column as ‘actual difficulty’

Before you begin the task, write down the expected difficulty. Let’s say making a sales call seems 95% difficult for you. Write 95% in the 2nd column. After you make the call, write down what was the actual difficulty.

Most of the time, it’s just in our heads. You know what I mean, right?!

5. Perfectionism and overthinking-

We want everything to be perfect. You don't feel like publishing that article till you feel 100% satisfied (and that won't happen very easily), you won’t attend that interview till you feel 100% ready. But you’ll never feel 100% ready. Your creations or work will never be fully perfect.

How to deal?

Dare to be average. Yes, that’s the only way. Stop seeking perfection and stop overthinking every detail. Check out this article for tips to deal with overthinking.

6. Laziness

If none of these are stopping you from doing your work, then you’re procrastinating because of sheer laziness!

How to deal?

5 second rule- In the book ‘5 second rule’ the author says, “if you want to act on a goal, you need to move your body in 5 seconds, else your brain will kill the motivation”. So, whenever you feel lazy, count backward, 5,4,3,2,1...and start moving, Trust me it works!

2-minute rule- You are lazy to exercise. But if I tell you to exercise for just 2 minutes, you wouldn’t mind it right? In his book ‘atomic habits’ the author suggests to start doing a task just for 2 minutes. Stay in the gym for just 2 minutes and go back, workout for 2 minutes, and stop it. Most of the time, once you start doing something, you’ll most likely continue it. It’s a way to trick your brain to just get started.

Quick tips to get things done-

Here are some quick tips to stop procrastinating and get things done.

Plan well-

Planning gives you direction. Plan your day well

Fix a deadline-

Give yourself a deadline that’s ahead of the actual deadline. And start working for your deadline.

Don't rely on motivation-

Motivation won’t always be there. So, build systems. Push yourself to do things even when you don't feel like it. Motivation will follow.

Get an accountability partner-

Ask your friend or a family member to hold you accountable. This helps a great deal.

I hope this gave you some motivation to break that procrastination habit and start being productive.

Share this article if you like it. I’d be always happy to help you out so feel free to connect with me on my Instagram.

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