Is it war? I tend to think so.
Because procrastination is an adversary to be overcome and defeated. And it will take your most valuable asset if you’re not careful: Your time.
So, consider this 7-Step Blueprint your battle plan to help you overcome procrastination by cultivating a winning mindset and a working environment where procrastination is simply not welcome.
As Sun Tzu said in the Art of War, “Be where your enemy is not.”
So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Step 1 – Cultivate A Winner’s Mindset
You need your mind to be your ally in this fight to overcome procrastination, and there are some simple ways to tap into its strength.
1. Remind yourself of the reason for the task at hand.
2. Remember your bigger goals that the task is contributing to.
3. Consider all the negative consequences if you procrastinate and all the positive benefits if you get the task done.
In other words, you’re using your mind to motivate yourself. It takes only a moment, and it will put you in the right winning mindset to be inspired to get to work.
The clock is always ticking and you can never get back the time that you allow procrastination to steal.
“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin
Step 2 – Manage Your Energy Correctly
To overcome procrastination, you need to be energized. Just like in any fight. That’s why boxers do those early morning runs. So they don’t fade out in the fight ahead.
If you’re tired, cranky or cloudy-headed, it’s going to be much more difficult to stay on task, and easier to fall prey to distraction.
So if you want to have the energy to overcome procrastination, you need to make sure that your lifestyle is supporting you with:
- Sufficient sleep
- Daily exercise
- Healthy fuel
And also consider this quote from good old William James: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”
Said another way: Undone tasks (procrastination) will sap your energy, but completing them will give you energy.
Use this understanding as more fuel for motivation, because each win will give you a positive boost, and this is how you build momentum, and become a consistent action-taker.
Step 3 – Plan a Reward for Yourself
This is called dangling the carrot in front of the donkey. And we’re all donkeys when we procrastinate.
So reward yourself when, and only when, you complete the task at hand. NO cheating!
Setting a suitable reward can be an effective tool to overcome procrastination.
Step 4 – Schedule a Time for Your Task, with a Deadline
And then, keep this appointment with yourself like you would a doctor or lawyer. Make yourself that important.
I also like some good old-fashioned written reminders. And if your procrastination is particularly bad, consider some Post-It-Notes where you’re likely to see them often.
Step 5 – Tell Someone About the Task You’re Working On
This is using the power of accountability to motivate yourself even further. Make sure to tell them about your deadline too. You’ve set one, right?!
You might be surprised how strong the instinct to not look like a failure is for overcoming procrastination.
If you don’t have anyone to help you in this way, consider working in a public space, like a cafe, if you can, for a similar effect.
Step 6 – Temporarily Disable Your Notifications
This will create a focused environment and remove the possibility for those delicious distractions that can easily gobble up your time.
Remember Sun Tzu? Be where your enemy is not.
Procrastination is practically allied with social media, random internet surfing, likes, pings, and messages to slowly suck you dry of your time.
When you eliminate all this, you set the stage for focused work.
If you have a big problem with this particular distraction, try using an internet blocking app. You can set your time parameters for when it is in effect.
Step 7 – Go Full Nike
In other words, just do it! And I mean that. Say it like a mantra in your head, or better yet, like a war cry. Pump yourself up and compel yourself into action.
If you do all the previous steps, then it will be much easier to do this.
Often, the hardest part is just getting started, so when you force yourself to just start working, you’ll probably find that you quickly get in the flow and your attention will become more focused.
“The best way to get something done is to begin.” – Author Unknown
You Will Overcome Procrastination
There you have the 7-Step Blueprint to overcome procrastination. You may stumble as you fight, we all do, but the point is to keep on fighting the good fight.
In a short period of time, you’ll know how to finally stop procrastinating.
Remember your goals.
And try to reference these steps as often as you can until they become a part of your normal working character and you don’t have to think about it anymore.
To your success!