10 Tips To Stop Procrastinating

The graphic shows an image sitting at her desk with her feet up and instead of working, she's procrastinating and playing with a paper airplane.

Procrastination is a behavior that everyone can relate to. Whether you have an extensive work assignment that you keep pushing off or you keep delaying completing your daily workout. For some, procrastination is a one-off thing that they do rarely when they have low energy, others procrastinate regularly in their daily lives. Some individuals say that procrastination forces them to put out better work because they work well under pressure, but let’s face it, procrastination is a significant cause of stress. 

In addition to stress, procrastination can also cause anxiety and heightened nerves. It’s important to learn ways to fight procrastination so you can live a peaceful and productive life, both personally and professionally. Your co-workers will be happy that they can depend on you to meet deadlines and you’ll be able to sleep better at night knowing that you’ve crossed everything off your list for the day. 

As a behavioral therapy center in Colorado Springs, A Cognitive Connection wants to help you understand why you may habitually procrastinate, and give you the tools you need to combat this behavior. Whether you have a child who struggles with ADHD or you find it difficult to motivate yourself because you feel defeated by cognitive decline, following the 10 tips listed below will help you increase your productivity and say “goodbye” to your procrastination behaviors.

The image shows a woman sitting at her desk with her laptop open and she's resting on a very tall stack of paperwork.

How To Stop Procrastinating And Get Things Done

There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Maybe you have such a full to-do list that you don’t know where to start. Maybe you have to complete a work task but you find it kind of boring so you want to wait as long as possible to start it. Maybe you wait until the last possible moment before you have to leave to pick up your kids from school.

If you regularly procrastinate, you probably often underestimate the amount of time needed to complete tasks, and find yourself in a nasty cycle of staying up late to finish untouched work. To help reduce your stress and complete tasks on time, follow the tips listed below. 

  1. Start Off Small
    • If you’re not looking forward to doing something, it can be extremely difficult to just start the task at hand. Set a small goal, such as reading 10 pages of your book or researching for 15 minutes. Completing a tiny bit of your dreaded assignment will signal to your brain that a change has occurred and will create momentum to help you fully complete the task.
  2. Focus On The Steps
    • To make something more manageable, break your large projects into smaller tasks. Also, taking time to acknowledge that you’ve completed part of something will encourage you to continue your work until you’ve finished everything for a task.
  3. Make A To-Do List
    • Construct a to-do list and estimate how much time it’ll take you to finish each item on your list. If there’s not an external deadline already set, make sure to set one yourself. Having a deadline will help you plan out your days accordingly to make sure everything is finished on time.
  4. Prioritize
    • Instead of waiting to do your most dreaded task last, prioritize it and complete it first. This will get it out of the way and off of your plate, and leave you with a sense of accomplishment. Plus, by completing something that you don’t want to do, everything else will feel easy in comparison. 
  5. Time Yourself
    • Have you ever set a timer for yourself and only allotted a certain amount of time to complete a task at hand? You can also use timers to break a larger task into smaller, more manageable bits. Instead of tackling a five-hour project in one go, split it into five parts and give yourself little breaks in between.
  6. Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
    • We’re human, so we’re guaranteed to miss deadlines sometimes or take longer on something than we intended. Remember to be kind to yourself, and to turn the situation into a learning opportunity. Consider what you could tweak next time to get better results and make the task more manageable.
  7. Question Your Procrastination
    • To motivate yourself, you need to understand why you procrastinate in the first place. When you realize you’re pushing something off, take a moment to figure out why and see if there are deeper emotions lying under the surface. 
  8. Eliminate Distractions
    • In today’s day and age, there are an endless number of distractions at our disposal. Make sure to eliminate as many of these distractions as possible, and turn your phone off or on silent mode so you’re not tempted to look at it every time it dings. It’s important to create a space that’s calm and conducive to a productive work environment.
  9. Enlist An Accountability Partner
    • Speak to someone you trust and ask for their help in holding you accountable. It’s much more difficult to let someone else down than just yourself, so this helps to keep you on track.
  10. Reward Yourself
    • Every time you finish a goal or mark something off your to-do list, make sure to reward yourself. The more complex the task, the bigger the reward can be. Implementing easy rewards, such as screen time or buying yourself a coffee, will keep you motivated to keep going.

The image shows a man at his desk with his computer open procrastinating and looking at his phone.

Fight Procrastination With A Cognitive Connection

At A Cognitive Connection, our team understands how frustrating and debilitating it can feel to constantly find yourself in a procrastination cycle. We’ll give you the resources to better understand why you procrastinate, help manage your schedule to lead a more productive life, and help you achieve your goals. If you’d like to learn more about how to train your brain to fight procrastination, please connect with our team today!

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