Strategies to Stop Procrastination and Boost Productivity

December 20, 2023
how to overcome procrastination

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Do you often delay or postpone your tasks and keep them pending until the last hour? If yes, you have formed a habit of procrastination and you need to learn how to overcome procrastination.

The habit of delaying or postponing tasks until the last hour is called procrastination. Procrastination is being unable to do or complete work even when you want to.

It’s not just you. In fact, a study states that about 20% of adults today identify as chronic procrastinators. In this article, we will give you a detailed account of how to overcome procrastination and boost your productivity.

Why Do You Procrastinate?

There can be many reasons for procrastination. These reasons can vary from person to person and the type of work they are required to do. Some of the reasons why you procrastinate can include:

  • Inadequate reward for work
  • The complexity of the task
  • Non-availability of resources
  • Long and stressful work environment
  • Boring or monotonous work
  • Unorganized workspace of an unorganized way of living
  • Distractions such as social media, gossip news
  • Poor concentration

Types of Procrastination

There are mainly three types of procrastination:

1. Classic procrastination

In this type of procrastination, you tend to delay or postpone the tasks even when you know that you have to complete them within a specified period of time. This results in last hour rush, accumulation of pending work and missing deadlines.

2. Creative procrastination

It means you are focusing on less important tasks. It is engaging yourself in some work that makes you feel busy and productive but you keep on delaying the work that you should be doing.

3. Priority dilution

This type of procrastination involves picking up tasks without prioritizing. It is like practicing chapters with less weightage in exams two times and not reading the chapter with high weightage at all.

Procrastinators Vs Non-Procrastinators

The difference between procrastinators and non-procrastinators is evident from the level of contentment and success in their life, These are the major differences between one who procrastinates and one who is a doer:

1 Worried about the outcome of the task1 Believes in completing the task without worrying about the output.
2 Overthink and overprepare before initiating work.2 Initiates work with adequate planning but does not delay it with overpreparation in want of perfection.
3 Take the burden of their work.3 Finds fun and enjoys doing their work.
4 Struggle to achieve a mediocre level of success.4 Goal achievers and outperformers.
5 Take up multiple tasks together and end up with a lack of concentration and pending work.5 Act realistically and complete tasks one by one with full focus
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How To Overcome Procrastination in 9 Steps

If you want to boost your productivity and achieve your targets on time, it is important to beat the habit of procrastination. Here are a few ways to overcome procrastination:

1. Recognize That You are Procrastinating

If you are aware of the importance of completing a task and have adequate resources to complete it, but you continue to defer the task, you are surely procrastinating. Recognizing this is the first step.

2. Figure Out Why You are Procrastinating

The work to be done could be boring, difficult, stressful, or unrewarding for you. There could be other such reasons too. Finding out the reasons for procrastination can help you figure out ways to overcome procrastination.

3. Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies

Now that you know your problem and the reasons behind it, you should work towards eliminating it. Adopt anti-procrastination strategies like avoiding overthinking, not thinking about the final output, making your work fun and interesting, following a healthy routine, working in small chunks, and taking breaks between work.

4. Schedule Your Work Consistently

The best way to overcome procrastination is to make a schedule or to-do list for your work commitments. Scheduling your work gives your brain a defined mind map to act continuously. It stimulates your mind to take action and complete the task as per the schedule.

5. Create A System for Starting New Tasks

The toughest thing for procrastinators is to get started. A good start can result in efficient and timely completion of the work. Hence, before starting a new task, you should do effective planning, gather all required resources, prepare a chronology of steps to be taken for completing the work and then take action to initiate a new task.

6. Disentangle Your Feeling

Feelings of frustration and irritation lead to procrastination and vice-versa. It is important to disentangle your feelings and break this vicious circle to overcome procrastination.

7. Use Self-Compassion to Overcome Strong Negative Memories

Unpleasant memories of the past such as negative feedback for work, unsatisfactory reward or failure could cause you to procrastinate your work. If this is the case with you, then you should use self-compassion to deal with your negative memories and overcome the thought of procrastinating.

8. Reverse Brainstorming

Reverse brainstorming involves thinking about ways in which a problem can worsen and then acting in the opposite way to solve a problem. Think about ways in which you can worsen this problem such as, by stopping working at all, ignoring deadlines, piling up pending tasks, etc., and then think and act the opposite of it to beat procrastination.

9. Learn to Accept Friction-Filled Work

You should not expect that your work life will be smooth and hurdle-free. Accept the difficult and complex tasks; take them on as a challenge, instead of a burden.

Scientific Ways to Stop Procrastination

You can rewire your brain to get back on track by following scientific ways to stop procrastination. Here are a few scientific ways to stop procrastination:

1. Set Daily Targets

Every morning make a to-do list. Try to complete your tasks within the set duration. Setting targets stimulates your brain to work and avoid procrastination.

2. Take Moments of Self-Realisation

Self-realization is the best way to form or break a habit. To overcome procrastination, give yourself a reality check about what you have been missing or could miss in the future due to procrastination. It will give your mind a reason to fight back and get back to work.

3. Avoid Distractions

Distractions such as unnecessary phone calls, social media, noises, etc. can break your rhythm. If you get engaged in such activities, your brain loses focus and you start to procrastinate the main task.

4. Add Fun to Your Tasks

Sometimes boredom and monotony can trigger procrastination. Add a few fun-filled breaks and interesting activities in between your tasks to avoid boredom.

5. Prioritize Your Tasks

Maintain a chronology of tasks on a priority basis. It will direct your brain to pick tasks one by one without procrastination. When you will see the list of tasks completed by you it will keep you motivated to work without a delay.

How To Overcome Procrastination As A Student?

Procrastination is one of the biggest problems faced by students. If you are a student and struggle with missed deadlines and poor productivity, here are a few tips to overcome procrastination as a student:

Stop Thinking and Start Immediately

The best way for students to overcome procrastination is to stop thinking and start acting. Thinking a lot about your problem and doing nothing will take you nowhere.

Follow the Pomodoro Technique

This technique has proven to be quite helpful for students who procrastinate. The thought of long study hours scares every student and is a major cause of procrastination. As per the Pomodoro technique, you only study for twenty-five minutes and then take a five-minute break. Then again resume studies for twenty-five minutes and again take a five-minute break.

After completing three slots of twenty-five minutes each you can take a long break of thirty minutes. Studying in small slots will eliminate the fear of long hours and help you overcome procrastination.

Reward Yourself

Reward yourself with your favorite thing after achieving each target. For example, eat your favorite chocolate, listen to music, talk to your friend, or do anything fun and interesting. This will make you excited to complete the task with dedication, rather than getting bored.

Communicate Your Goals

If you are among those students who set goals daily but keep on postponing them without any reason, then you must try this. Talk about your daily goals to your friends, parents, or teachers. This will create a sense of accountability and you will try to meet your targets without procrastination habit.

Also Read: How to Be Productive and Maximize Your Potential: 16 Tips for Improving Productivity

How to Overcome Procrastination in Daily Life

Procrastination and laziness go side by side. You feel lazy and you tend to delay your work. If the reason why you procrastinate is your laziness, you should beat laziness to overcome procrastination. Here are a few ways to overcome procrastination in your daily life.

1. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

An unhealthy lifestyle, poor sleep quality, disturbed routine, and eating unhealthy food are some of the factors that lead to laziness. With a lethargic and lazy mind, you are likely to procrastinate your tasks for no reason. Hence, to overcome procrastination and laziness you must follow a healthy routine and live a healthy lifestyle.

2. Refrain from Overburdening Yourself

You should not try to work more than your capacity. If you take on multiple tasks and are not able to complete them on time you are likely to get demotivated. To avoid this, you must accept that you cannot work beyond your capacity.

3. Stay Organised

If you keep your work or study area organized you can complete your tasks more efficiently. An unorganized and messy environment can prevent you from initiating your tasks.

4. Maintain Continuity of Work

Working for a short while and taking long breaks can disturb your rhythm of work. It might overburden you with incomplete tasks. It is better to take short breaks while working and maintain continuity to avoid laziness and procrastination.

Drink adequate water to keep your mind active: Taking a few sips of water at small intervals will keep your mind active Proper hydration can help you overcome laziness and procrastination.

Turning Procrastination into Productivity

Overpreparation for perfection without any action can lead to procrastination. Hence, it is important to act rather than keep thinking and planning. Taking a first step and starting your work is one of the best ways to overcome procrastination strategies.

Whenever you realize that you are about to fall into the trap of procrastination, you should immediately initiate a task and try to finish it. A single accomplishment can act as fuel to take you further and help you overcome procrastination and boost your productivity.

And for more career tips and useful information view our more blogs on Life Skills.

Frequently Answered Questions(FAQs)

What are 3 solutions to procrastination?

To overcome procrastination, try these three strategies:
• Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps. This makes you feel less overwhelmed and makes the work seem less daunting.
• Set clear and realistic deadlines to create a sense of urgency and accountability.
• Use positive reinforcement, such as rewarding yourself after completing a task, to stay motivated and reinforce productive behavior.

Why am I procrastinating so much?

There can be several reasons for your procrastination. It could be due to fear of failure or perfectionism, feeling overwhelmed by the task, lack of motivation or interest, or even a habit formed over time. Understanding the underlying causes and addressing them, along with implementing effective time management techniques, can help you overcome procrastination.

What is the 2-minute rule of procrastination?

The 2-minute rule is a strategy to combat procrastination. It suggests that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, you should do it immediately rather than putting it off. By taking immediate action on small tasks, you prevent them from accumulating and gain momentum towards tackling larger tasks. This rule helps in overcoming the initial resistance and getting started.

Is laziness and procrastination the same thing?

Lazy and procrastination are not exactly the same thing, although they can be related. Procrastination refers to delaying or postponing tasks, while laziness implies a general lack of motivation or willingness to engage in activities. Procrastination can be a result of various factors, while laziness is more of a persistent attitude toward putting in effort.

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