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The capability to overcome procrastination is key to success in business and life.  There are proven ways to combat procrastination, which may currently be causing you to feel stressed and overwhelmed, which I’ll share in this article.

Everyone procrastinates over something in business and life.  Procrastination is a trap that we all fall into from time to time.  If you procrastinate, or are procrastinating on something important right now,  these 5 tips will give you the proven steps to start overcoming procrastination and start taking action on what matters most.

This article will share the causes of procrastination and give you strategies and tools on how to overcome procrastination.   

What I’ve discovered is that the key to overcoming procrastination is to get clear on the root causes of why you procrastinate, so that when procrastination strikes you have proven tips for overcoming procrastination. 

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is simply the avoidance of doing something specific or delaying an important task or set of tasks 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.

Causes of procrastination

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 we procrastinate?

People often procrastinate because they don’t believe they have the capabilities to achieve a desired result or they’re scared of not being able to achieve the task or tasks they’ve been set.  This is often seen in fear of failure, where people don’t have the self-confidence or self-esteem to take that first step.  This makes them more likely to procrastinate.

Many of these tasks are deadline driven which creates procrastination.   I’ve found the best way to start overcoming procrastination is to reflect on and understand the reason you’re procrastinating in the first place.

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

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

You may be procrastinating 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 

If you’re a procrastinator, here are 5 proven tips to help you stop putting things off and get into action. 

1. Get clarity around 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. 

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. 

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

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, losing weight, having more time to do the things you love, a better work-life balance, making a real difference in your community, getting healthier, 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 the thing you’re doing in the first place.

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

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 end in mind for the goal, it can feel so far out of reach that procrastination sets in.

To help you learn how to 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

People often procrastinate because they don’t have any accountability to keep them on track.  For many people 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.

Conclusion 

If you want to overcome procrastination the key is to get started.  To focus on progress not perfection If you have something important you want to get started on, use these five tips to start overcoming procrastination and get into action.  You won’t regret simply taking action, today.

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 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. 

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