22 ways to break out of procrastination

fed up with procrastination? have you tried these suggestions?

  1. replace, “how am i going to finish this?” with “what small step can i start on right now?”
  2. ask yourself why you delay doing what you need or want to do? is it because you feel you ‘have to’ to do it? is it because you cannot clearly see the benefits? is it because you will need to move some twigs in the nest of your comfort zone? is it because want to wait until you feel like doing it? is it because someone else would do it better?
  3. be aware that you don’t procrastinate in every area of your life. even the worst procrastinators have areas where they never procrastinate
  4. plan ahead realistically
  5. make a daily “to do” list
  6. replace deprivation with guaranteed fun
  7. don’t start over-ambitiously
  8. list all the things you have to do and then prioritise the list
  9. create a vision of the result and be motivated by the vision of the outcome, not the thought of the process
  10. offer yourself a tangible reward for getting it done quickly
  11. imagine: how will you feel tomorrow if you haven’t done something?
  12. get yourself an appointment book
  13. don’t wait till you feel like doing it; the feeling will come when you start doing it
  14. replace “have to” with “want to”
  15. realize and accept that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do
  16. do it, delegate it or dump it!
  17. devote no more than 15 minutes to a task, then decide whether to spend another 15 minutes on it.
  18. ask yourself: “what am i afraid of?”
  19. break tasks into manageable chunks
  20. realize that an imperfect job completed today is always superior to the perfect job delayed indefinitely
  21. decide what you can do and what is beyond your influence
  22. replace perfectionism with permission to be human

now let me be honest – i haven’t come up with these suggestions on my own; they’re a compilation, with only a few changes, of what steve pavlina has to say on the topic (enlightening, as always!), as well as webhome and seiyaku.

what do you think of these suggestions? have you tried any of them? have they worked? why or why not?

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

6 thoughts on “22 ways to break out of procrastination

  1. Leah J. Utas

    You’ve got some really good suggestions. I don’t normally procrastinate,but I do find if I make a ‘to do’ list I am more likely to get something done. Plus it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to cross the items off.
    I’m not afraid of doing a lousy job something, either, and that’s a great help. Get that first failure out of the way and all.

  2. jeffy

    The “next action” concept from #1 and David Allen’s Getting Things Done has been very useful for me. The hardest part is getting something down to the level of an achievable step. I still tend to write next actions like “get tiles for oven for crispy pizza” when the real next action is “measure oven racks” (real example from my current todo list)

    Another thing that helps me also came from David Allen and that’s clearing the decks. If my email inbox isn’t empty then I can spend the whole day pretending I’m dealing with email instead of working on my important projects. Same goes for physical inbox and workspace. I have to process my inputs (basically your #16 with the addition of “defer it”, i.e., put it in my project list for later action) before I can work on my projects.

    Still no baby?!

  3. Grail

    Helpful list, but I’m not so sure about no. 3.

    I can’t think of a single thing I’ve never procrastinated on, though I really am a serious procrastinator (serious? That makes it sound like I study it!).

  4. isabella mori

    hi grail, thanks for stopping by!

    if number 3 doesn’t work for you, don’t use it!

    (i’ll bet you $7.95 though that there are at least three things that you’ve never procrastinated on)

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