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Overcoming procrastination is key for success in business and life.  Procrastination can cause you to feel stressed, overwhelmed and put off important tasks.  In this article I’m going to share 5 tips on how to overcome procrastination and and start doing what’s most important to you.

If you procrastinate and want to stop procrastinating, this article outlines why we procrastinate and gives you 5 tips to help you start overcoming procrastination and get into action on what matters most.

Everyone procrastinates over something in business and life.  Procrastination is a trap that we all fall into from time to time.  

What I’ve discovered, is that the key to overcoming procrastination is to get to the root cause of procrastination, so that when procrastination strikes again you know exactly how to stop procrastinating.   

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is simply the avoidance of doing something specific or delaying an important task that has a deadline, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead.  Procrastination can restrict your potential and lead to stress, frustration and an inability to move forward and take action.

We often procrastinate when we have an activity that may seem exciting but we have trouble getting started in the first place.

Procrastination strikes when we have activities that we know we should do but put off or do something else 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.

What are the causes of procrastination?

There are many causes of procrastination.  We procrastinate when we can’t guarantee achieving a specific result.  As there is no guarantee in place we procrastinate because we don’t want to take the chance of failing or achieving a result that is not the result we want,

We procrastinate because we don’t believe we have the capabilities to achieve a desired result or are scared of not being able to achieve the task or tasks we’ve set ourselves or been set. 

Procrastination is often seen as a fear of failure.  Procrastination strikes when we don’t have the self-confidence or self-esteem to take that first step.  

The root causes of procrastination for many people who procrastinate is perfectionism.  Instead of taking action, procrastinators are always polishing and perfecting something rather than actually completing an important task or project

There are many reasons we procrastinate and get stuck, so diagnosing why you procrastinate is the crucial first step.  

Read also:

How to overcome perfectionism: 4 simple ways 

Overcoming procrastination

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 we procrastinate is often an indicator that something isn’t quite right. You may be procrastinating right now because you know there’s something missing.

It may be because you need help with an important project.  You may not have the motivation to take the first step on moving forward on a project.

You may not have the skills or capability right now.  Your confidence levels may not be high enough to move forward. 

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to recognise that you’re doing it

If you can pause and think through why you’re procrastinating, you will understand the roadblocks and seek out the strategies and action steps you can take to overcome procrastination.  

How to overcome procrastination 

Here are 5 tips to overcome procrastination.  

1. Get clarity on your goals 

We procrastinate when we don’t have clarity around our goals.  If we don’t have exciting, measurable goals that we really want to achieve, we’ll end up procrastinating. 

The key to overcoming procrastination is to set better goals so you’re more actively engaged.  There are five simple steps to take when setting goals: Choose a goal to achieve at a date in the future; choose a measurable goals, be this a number or an event, make the goal achievable but exciting and track your goal achievement progress along the way.  

When setting goals, it’s far better to commit to achieving ambitious but realistic goals in a specific time frame with a tangible plan and action steps to achieve your goals. 

Having exciting goals is essential to overcome procrastination.  When we’re excited and motivated we’re ready to take action.  When we don’t feel excited or motivated we tend to procrastinate.  

2. Work out why you’re procrastinating 

If you want to learn how to overcome procrastination, it’s important to recognise that you’re procrastinating and work out why you’re procrastinating.  If you don’t feel motivated or confident about what you’re doing it’s easy to procrastinate.  You might be procrastinating because you feel you don’t have the capability or the confidence to take on the work.

You may be procrastinating because you’re worried about failure or you’ve had to prioritise urgent tasks.

You may also be procrastinating if you:

  • Fill your day completing an endless to-do list 
  • Start projects but leave them unfinished 
  • Take on low-priority tasks that you know you shouldn’t be doing 
  • Wait to get ready to take action until you feel confident enough 
  • Waste time on perfecting things instead of getting on with your most important work 

To overcome procrastination step back, reflect and ask yourself:

“Why am I doing what I’m doing?”

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

“How do I want to feel when I reach this goal?”

These simple questions will help you get energised and excited about the task at hand, which will help you stop procrastinating. 

3. Break goals down into exciting activities

We procrastinate when we don’t know the first step to take to achieve our goals.  Big goals are going to take a lot of energy and effort over time to accomplish.

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

To overcome procrastination, focus on the steps you need to take and give yourself a pat on the back for making progress.

Forward motion and progress each day helps you stay focused, energised and motivated, which stops procrastination.

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. Get clear on when you procrastinate 

We procrastinate when we don’t know how to actually achieve the goal or task we’re working on.  When we set bigger goals, the first question we often 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.

Overcoming procrastination starts with getting clear on the actions you can take to move forward on your project or task.  If there are specific things that cause you to procrastinate seek out help or guidance to help you take that first step. 

The simple action of getting guidance or support will ensure you stop procrastinating and move forward with confidence.

5. Get an accountability partner

We procrastinate when we don’t have accountability to keep us on track.  For many people true accountability is hard to achieve.

Having someone to hold you accountable, cheer you on, motivate you and inspire you is key to overcoming procrastination.

It’s beneficial to have an accountability partner, colleague, coach or mentor hold you accountable or provide peer pressure to keep you on track and ensure you do what you say you’ll do.  Working with an accountability coach will help you stop procrastinating.  Discover the benefits of working with an accountability coach.

Conclusion 

Procrastination is a habit of delaying taking action on things that are important to you.  Procrastination can hold you back from achieving your biggest goals.  When we procrastinate we are always getting ready to take action, but never following through on taking action.

Procrastination can make you feel trapped, stressed and overwhelmed, so it’s important to understand how to overcome procrastination.  The first step to overcoming procrastination is to recognise that you’re procrastinating.  Then, identify the causes of procrastination.  Use these tips to help you overcome procrastination and get into focused action on your most important work. 

Now I’d love to her from you.

What’s your number one challenge with procrastination?

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

Let me know in the comments.

Procrastination articles:

How to defeat perfectionism: 4 simple ways 

How to stop procrastinating: 7 simple steps to stop procrastinating

6 powerful ways to avoid procrastination 

8 time management tips to manage time effectively 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is the Founder of Lucemi Consulting and a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results. 

Get more articles, tips and tools to help you simplify your time to multiply your results on the blog.

Sign up to my Time For What Matters newsletter to get the best tips and tools to help you overcome procrastination, manage time effectively and be more productive.


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