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Procrastination is a trap that many of us fall into.  If you’re a procrastinator then the tips in this article will give you proven steps on how to overcome procrastination.

If you’ve procrastinated on something in the past or want to stop procrastinating right now this article will lay out what is procrastination, discuss why people really procrastinate and show you how to overcome procrastination.

What I’ve discovered is that the key to overcoming procrastination is to understand why we procrastinate so that when procrastination strikes you have proven strategies to overcome procrastination.  

What is procrastination?

Do you sometimes feel stuck and paralysed?  Do you sometimes have no energy, no focus and no motivation to tackle the task at hand?

This is what procrastination feels like and it can really impact on your performance and achievement.

Procrastination strikes when we have activities that we know we should do but put off or are doing something that we know we shouldn’t do but keep doing anyway.

Everyone puts things off sometimes, but procrastinators regularly avoid difficult tasks or put things off until the last minute.

Procrastination often takes place because people can’t guarantee achieving a specific result, and because there is no guarantee in place, they don’t want to take the chance of failing or achieving a result that is not the result they desire,

Many perfectionists are chronic procrastinators, always polishing and perfecting something rather than actually completing an important task or project.

Our modern life makes it easier to procrastinate, with distractions everywhere. 

But, if you’re a procrastinator, you can actually overcome procrastination.

You can actually use procrastination as your biggest focusing tool. 

Read also:

How to overcome perfectionism: 4 simple ways 

Why do people procrastinate?

Procrastination happens to everyone at some point.

Sometimes it’s an occasional feeling, but for many others procrastination feels never ending with no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve found the best way to overcome procrastination is to reflect on and understand the reason you’re procrastinating in the first place.

There are many reasons people get stuck and start procrastinating along the way.

Can I stop procrastinating?

The simple answer is yes.

We procrastinate when we know we have to move forward with something specific and important, but there’s something missing in the situation that keeps us from taking action.

The fact that you are procrastinating is often an indicator that something isn’t quite right.

The reason you may be procrastinating is because you know there’s something missing.

You may need help with an important project.

The motivation may not be there.

You may not have the skills or capability right now.

Confidence levels may not be high enough to move forward. 

If you can pause and think through why you’re procrastinating, you will understand the roadblock and seek the appropriate help.  

How to overcome procrastination 

Firstly, it’s important to know there are strategies you can undertake to overcome procrastination.

People often procrastinate when they’re challenged to grow, personally and professionally.

They want to develop new capabilities, gain new knowledge, strengthen teamwork and achieve bigger goals.

Every time you’re challenged to grow, it can scares you and excite you at the same time.

Bigger goals can create procrastination

If you want to grow to the next level in your business and life, the stakes become higher and the goals get bigger.

This mindset shift can cause you to worry about whether you can actually achieve those bigger results.

Whether you have the skills, expertise and capabilities.

You may begin to procrastinate.  To feel paralysed and trapped.

Rather than taking action on your bigger goals, you spend hours or even days doing something easier and distracting.

Overcoming procrastination 

If you’re currently procrastinating on something and want to stop procrastinating, these 5 simple strategies will help you learn how to overcome procrastination.

1. Get clarity around your goals 

Goals that lack total commitment, the courage needed to achieve them and clarity of focus simply become mere wishes.

I hear goals such as “I’d like to build a seven figure business” or “I want to be earning £30,000 per month”. Well, wouldn’t we all.

It’s far better to commit to achieving ambitious but realistic goals in a specific time frame with tangible ways to reach it.

This gives you something that excites you, motivates you and has a clear path and direction for achieving the goals.

How to beat procrastination  

To stop procrastinating on your goals, start small to build up momentum and gain confidence.

If you’re not clear on your target audience a goal could be “Identify my target audience and write my sales copy in the next 30 days” or “Increase my sales by 10% in the next 90 days by speaking to at least five new prospects every day”

These are specific goals with tangible outcomes that will get you into action rather than procrastinate.

We all know that if we don’t have a clear destination in mind, how do we know when we reach it, and how do we keep building momentum every day.

If you want to overcome procrastination, start small and make progress every day.

2. Work out why you’re procrastinating 

Motivation and confidence matter, otherwise it’s easy to procrastinate.

There are plenty of ways out there to increase your productivity.

Unless you are emotionally connected to the why of what you’re doing it’s pretty easy to fall off the productivity wagon and procrastinate.

So, when you’re procrastinating on something, step back, reflect and ask yourself:

“Why am I doing what I’m doing?”

“Why do I want to reach this goal again?”

These simple questions will help you learn how to overcome procrastination and get in motion.

Think about how you are feeling now and how you want to feel.

Find the what and why of the procrastination 

Find your reasons for doing what you’re doing.

Is it about more freedom, having more time to do the things you love, a better work-life balance, making a real difference, making more money, having a sense of accomplishment?

Whatever your key motivations and desires are, when you find yourself procrastinating, stop to remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place.

Reconnecting with and reflecting on your why will always help you overcome procrastination.

3. Break goals down into exciting activities

Bigger goals are big things that are going to take a lot of energy and effort over time to accomplish.

If you don’t have a clear end in mind or the goal, it can feel so far out of reach that procrastination sets in.

To help you overcome procrastination, focus on the steps you need to take and give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing every step.

Sometimes step by step is the best way to stay focused, energised and motivated.

We all need that extra bit of courage to take that next step towards achieving our goals and cutting the work into specific outcomes and smaller pieces can be hugely beneficial.

4. Recognise when you’re procrastinating

When we set bigger goals, the first question we ask ourselves is “how am I going to do that?”.

If you’ve set a big goal and you don’t know how to take that first step, procrastination will set in.

To learn how to overcome procrastination focus only on the actions that you’re really good at and find other people to help with the areas you struggle in,

That simple action will ensure you stop procrastinating and move forward with confidence.

Look at the other activities that are distracting you from taking action on your bigger goal and ask yourself “What can be cut, automated, delegated or outsourced?”

Then ask yourself “What 2 or 3 things can I focus on right now that will make a huge difference?”

5. Use accountability to overcome procrastination

For many entrepreneurs working alone true accountability is hard to achieve.

You have so many things you think you should do, or people have suggested you should do, which makes it easy to go down rabbit holes that take you further away from your goals.

Having someone to hold you accountable, cheer you on, motivate you and inspire you is key to goal success.

They will also help you overcome procrastination.

It’s beneficial to have someone as an accountability partner, whether it be a coach, mentor or close friend, who will hold you accountable without succumbing to your excuses.

Their purpose is to give you clarity and focus on the road you’re travelling on.

They can help you learn how to overcome procrastination and take action on the things that are truly important.

Now, over to you.

Are you a procrastinator?

What’s the best tip you’ve used to help you overcome procrastination?

Let me know in the comments.

Related:

How to stop procrastinating: 7 simple steps to stop procrastinating

6 powerful ways to avoid procrastination 

8 time management tips to manage time effectively 

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Mark Pettit Administrator
Strategic Business Coach , Founder, Lucemi Consulting
About the Author Mark Pettit is a leading 1:1 business coach to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to free themselves up to jump to the next level of time freedom and business growth. He is the founder of Lucemi Consulting, a coaching and consulting company. Visionary, creative, and generous, he is a hero to entrepreneurs seeking to work less, do more of what they love and multiply their revenue and profits. www.lucemiconsulting.co.uk
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