If you often brush things off or leave things until the last minute, you probably tend to procrastinate.
It doesn’t matter what you procrastinate on.
It could be that you like to get ready at the last minute and then you always end up getting to work or school late.
It could be that you wait until the last minute before you pay off a bill and the one time you forget, you get fined.
In this post, we’ll cover how to overcome procrastinating and laziness so you can stop the negative cycle and start a more positive habit of taking action.
You’ll finally be able to get everything on your to-do list done and be on your way to achieving all your goals.
So let’s begin, shall we?
What Is Procrastination?
First off, let’s define what procrastination is.
It’s the act of knowing you have to do something, but you put it off because of a variety of reasons.
You’d rather do anything but the actual task at hand.
The Dangers Of Procrastination
Constantly procrastinating can keep you from reaching your potential.
As you continuously put things off until the last minute and don’t keep your word to yourself that you’ll finish something, the more you will see yourself negatively and lose confidence and trust in yourself.
Regardless of what you tend to procrastinate on, procrastinating can negatively affect your productivity, self-confidence, and even your health. It can even be detrimental if the task you didn’t complete was very important to finish.
This is why you should work on overcoming procrastinating as soon as possible.
Stop Procrastinating In 30 Days Challenge
Before we get into how to beat procrastination, check out my Stop Procrastinating In 30 Days Challenge. This guided challenge will help you take back control of your time and make significant progress with your goals as you turn your procrastination into productivity in the next 30 days.
How To Beat Procrastination Once And For All
Although it’s a bad habit, procrastination can luckily be unlearnt just like any other bad habit and be replaced by more positive and productive habits.
Related Post: The Best Procrastination Books To Read Today
Start A New Positive Cycle By Forgiving Yourself
If you tend to put things off, you probably beat yourself up all the time.
To first start off your new positive cycle of actually getting stuff done and stopping procrastination and laziness in its tracks, it’s important to forgive yourself for all the times you failed.
It’s a funny place to start, I admit, but it’s the first step.
There’s nothing you can do now about the past so beating yourself up anymore isn’t helpful. It already happened. It’s done with and there’s no going back.
Speaking negatively to yourself will probably end up making things worse and your anxiety might be more likely to drive you to keep your habit of procrastinating.
You can proactively do something about the future though, so let’s focus on that instead.
Eliminate Procrastination By Learning From The Past
First, learning from the past will be your best friend.
You can use your frustration for a good cause now and think about the deeper reason why you tended to procrastinate in the past.
Here are some possible ideas:
- What triggers made you put the task aside?
- Why did you feel like you already couldn’t do the job which prevented you from even starting in the first place?
- Do other people or things often distract you and does this increase your tendency to procrastinate?
For example, maybe after analyzing your past actions, you might find that you get overwhelmed when you have more than two big tasks a day pending to do in your planner. So going forward, you know you have to cap it at that or you’ll feel burnt out and put everything on the back burner.
Whatever it is, finding out what these factors are will help prevent you from procrastinating again and you’ll be able to do something differently next time.
Grab my free Procrastination Journal for 12 days of journal prompts to help you figure out the root cause of your procrastination and how to learn from it going forward.
Procrastination Journal Prompts
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Related Post: 50 Daily Affirmations To Beat Procrastination
Give Yourself Compassion
Second, give yourself the compassion you deserve and tell yourself you forgive yourself.
You’re not going to get it right every single time but all that matters is you’re trying to be better and you’re taking the steps to move forward every day.
Re-assure yourself that you’ll try to do better and just like any habit, it’s going to take time to work on it and master it.
You’re very likely to fail at removing this habit from the get-go but know that it’s all part of the process of learning what works for you and what doesn’t.
Try adding the practice of daily procrastination affirmations to overcome your limiting beliefs and change your mindset to a more positive one.
Plan & Set Your Goals
Once you’ve gotten past your failures from the past, it’s time to plan and set your goals.
Setting goals will help you know what actions need to be done to get closer to kicking procrastination to the curb.
Without goals, it’s going to be pretty hard to know what to do first in order to move in the right direction. You’re more likely to end up doing tasks that are anything but whatever you are procrastinating on.
So, think of your goal plan like a planned path on a map that’ll tell you what to do to get to where you want to be in the future.
Know Your Why
Before you set your goal, you have to first figure out your why with each goal you set. Without knowing the reason why you’re even trying to accomplish a goal, you’re sure to fail.
This is especially important when you’re just not feeling motivated. And you’re bound to feel this every once in a while. It’s only natural.
Having a reason that will continuously push you to reach your goal will help you during these times.
Write this down somewhere you can see it so you can refer back to it.
Choose A S.M.A.R.T. Goal
Next, let’s set your goal.
Check out my in-depth post on how to slay your goals. This post will lay out how to use S.M.A.R.T. goals to your advantage.
But to just re-cap that post quickly, your goals that you set need to be specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely.
Making sure all of your goals have these characteristics will improve your chance of achieving them as you’ll be giving yourself a deadline and certain parameters to gauge if you’re doing well or not.
Related Post: 55 Daily Affirmations For Achieving Your Goals
Break Down Your Goal Into Action Steps
So once you have a goal, write it down somewhere where you can revisit it in the future. Then, write down all the small steps that need to be completed in order to get there.
For example, you have a goal of finally publishing a book and you know you’ve been procrastinating on this for months. You just never seem to be able to push yourself to sit down and write. In fact, you procrastinate so much that you’d rather clean the house, and that’s a chore you hate.
The main goal you might think in this situation is to finish writing the book, but that’s not a very detailed S.M.A.R.T. goal. Instead, a more specific goal would be to finish writing twenty-six chapters of the book in a year.
You can then break down this S.M.A.R.T. goal into smaller action steps, so you can keep track of your achievements.
So for example, each smaller action step, in this case, would be to finish writing one chapter every other week. You can then also break that goal into smaller action steps by writing 500 words each morning.
In the end, planning out what you have to do can help you finally get started. You’ll feel much more motivated if you know why you’re even doing something.
It also breaks down your goal into smaller tasks, which makes everything feel more manageable to finish.
And lastly, knowing exactly what you have to do helps reduce the feeling of overwhelm if that is one factor that often stops you from starting a task in the first place.
Goal Setting Planner
Want a planner to help you achieve all your goals and beat procrastination? Check out my Goal Setting Planner to figure out your goals and keep track of your achievements, milestones, and celebrations.
Before you start putting the action in, you’ll want to help yourself out by making sure you’re taking accountability for yourself.
Find An Accountability Partner
A great way to increase your chances of beating procrastination is to find an accountability partner.
Find someone amongst your friends or family and tell them that you have trouble with procrastination and that you’re working on it. Maybe they’re a more productive person or they’ve somehow stopped procrastinating themselves.
Then, check in with them every day or every other day to let them know which tasks you accomplished. They can also do the same with you. The act of having to tell someone what you did as well as hearing what the other person has done themselves can keep you motivated to take action.
Tell Someone What You Want To Achieve
If you know what you want to get done, you can also announce it to your friends and family in person or even on social media.
This can put positive pressure on you to get whatever you need to be done.
Just Do It & Start Taking Action
Once you’ve got your plan written down, it’s time to set it into motion.
You know that feeling where you’re only likely to do something once you feel motivated?
The funny thing is, counterintuitively, when you start putting action into whatever you were avoiding, the more you will feel the motivation after starting.
So if you’re constantly waiting for the feeling of motivation, you might find that you’ll never actually feel it and you’ll never get whatever task or project done.
So just do it and put the action in even if you don’t feel like doing it. You’ll soon find motivation after and you might even start to feel excited.
Set A Timer
A great way to help you start doing is to set a timer.
Give yourself a small amount of time each day, whether it’s ten or fifteen minutes, to finish a task.
You can easily just start a timer on your phone and start working until the clock hits zero. Make yourself sit through it and just get the task done.
This can help you get started as it creates a snowball effect. You’ll also find that all the small amount of time you worked on the task will add up.
Keep Track Of Your Progress
Once you’re on your way, you’re going to want to keep track of your progress.
Sometimes, you can start to procrastinate on something long-term if it doesn’t seem like you’re making much progress.
This is why it’s important to first have a goal plan as we talked about earlier.
With this plan, you’ll have written down all the steps required to achieve your goal and you’ll be able to actionably measure how well you’re on the way to getting to the finish line.
It won’t be a mystery whether you’re any closer to your goal as it’ll clearly be shown in the data that you are.
This is a great way to motivate yourself as you see how far you’ve come from the beginning. After all, you just want to see that you’re making progress every day. It’ll be what continues to motivate you.
Use A Habit Tracker
A great way to keep track of your procrastination habits is to use a habit tracker.
With a habit tracker, it’s easy to see which days you failed and which ones you succeeded. All you need to do is put a checkmark or “x” on the days you don’t procrastinate. Hopefully, as time goes on, you’ll find that you procrastinate less and less.
When you mark it on a calendar, seeing your progress visually can be a huge motivator to stop you from procrastinating as you won’t want to break your streak.
Looking for A habit tracker?
If getting rid of the habit of procrastinating is a big goal in your life, you’ll want to check out my Goal Setting Planner to help yourself stay on track.
Included in this planner, you’ll be able to keep track of your accomplishments, wins, and milestones through different habit trackers, scheduling pages, and checklists.
Beat Procrastination Once And For All
Finally achieve your goals & get stuff done with the Goal Setting Planner.
More Helpful Procrastination Tips
So once you follow the main steps of battling procrastination, you might want to also keep the following things in mind to help you stick to getting stuff done.
1. Do A Smaller Task First To Feel Like You’ve Accomplished Something
As I said earlier, goal setting is important because it can help you break down large tasks that can seem extremely overwhelming and stop you from even starting.
It feels way better in the short run when you feel overwhelmed to just put off what it is you need to get done. But this doesn’t help in the long run.
Instead, try to start with a small task first.
Finishing a small task might give you a little dopamine. And feeling these good feelings means you’ll more likely to continue putting the work in to see how many small tasks you can finish.
It might give you some motivation and get you started in the right direction.
2. Don’t Let Your Negative Inner Voice Influence You
It’s easy to feel like you aren’t capable of doing something so you procrastinate.
Maybe you’re scared you’ll feel like you’re a total failure because you didn’t get something done when you told yourself you would or because you believe you’ll fail in the end anyways.
Or maybe your negative voice tells you to do something else with your time that’s way more fun and to just procrastinate one more time.
This critical voice can be helpful to alert you of what you might be doing wrong, but don’t let it take over and cause you not to act.
Just be aware that it’s there. You can respond to it in a few ways:
- Diffuse these thoughts by practicing affirmations or writing out your response in your journal
- Respond to it by taking action and doing something productive
- Tell yourself what reward you will receive and celebrate once you finish the task
Over time, the voice will be less prominent if you don’t let it affect you.
Related Post: Helpful Books To Read To Beat Procrastination
3. Reward Yourself
Sometimes motivating yourself with rewards can help you get going on something that you’ve dreaded starting.
For example, if you know you have to finish your essay by tomorrow night, reward yourself with an episode of your favorite show on Netflix after you finish it.
The reward doesn’t have to be big or cost a lot. It just needs to be personalized where you feel like it would help you push through.
Having something to look forward to can help you feel motivated to finish a task you would have been tempted to put off for another day in the past.
4. Get Rid Of Distractions
Distractions can be a total time suck and deter you from reaching your goals.
If you get social media notifications or text messages from your friends on your phone constantly and you can’t help but check them, you could be fuelling your procrastination habits.
Whenever you check your phone, this can be a huge time waster. You know that feeling where you think you’re only scrolling for a few minutes but then it turns into hours? You are wasting valuable minutes that you could be doing something more productive instead.
And on top of that, once you’re distracted from a task, it can take almost twenty minutes for you to go back into flow with what you were doing before.
So, instead, be more aware of what these things that are distracting you are and actively work on not allowing them to affect you. If they’re notifications, use an app that only allows you to use specific apps on your phone or use the do not disturb feature to silence these notifications.
The important thing is to decrease the distractions by not indulging them at all and then also simultaneously knowing what you need to get done with a plan.
For example, if in the mornings, you tend to procrastinate because you like to scroll on social media, don’t even check your phone when you wake up.
Instead, look at all of the tasks you need to finish and start chipping away at them. You’ll find you’ll be a lot more productive and will stop putting tasks off that need to be done.
5. Always Look Back On Your Goals When You Feel Unmotivated
In the goal setting section, we talked about why it’s important to set goals and write them down. There will be days for sure when you are going to feel unmotivated.
To counter this, all you have to do is go back to your notes and look back on your why. Just seeing this can help get you back on track.
How To Fix Procrastination
Getting rid of old procrastination habits is hard, but not impossible. There will be days where you do well, and other days where your old habits of procrastination might set in again.
It’s normal to feel frustrated at times if you’re moving two steps forward and three steps backward.
However, if you follow these steps to make sure you’re planning your goals out well, taking accountability, keeping track of your progress, and putting in the work, you’ll find procrastination will become a habit of the past.
Just continue to stick with it, make progress every day, and you’ll see just how much you can achieve.
Tips to Be More Productive
- 20 Books You Should Read To Help Beat Procrastination
- 50 Daily Affirmations For Procrastination
- 55 Affirmations For Achieving Your Goals
- How To Create A Productive Morning Routine For Success
- 10 Productivity Tools To Maximize Your Day
- 30 Productive Things To Do Before Bed Instead Of Watching Netflix
- 8 Productive Morning Habits To Jumpstart Your Day
- 25 Best Productivity Planners
- How To Slay Your Goals This Year & Get Sh*t Done
- How To Stay Motivated To Reach Your Goals
- 100 Goal Ideas To Start Living Your Best Life
What are some of your tips to beat procrastination and laziness? Let me know in the comments!