Do you ever find yourself putting off a dreaded task for weeks or even months or years? I have been known to procrastinate a ten minute job for ten years. Thankfully, I’m getting a little bit better. Here are ten tips I’ve been using to help me stop procrastinating. Hope they help you as well!
10 Tips to Help You Stop Procrastinating
1. Break your project into smaller tasks.
When I start a new project, I open a new note in Evernote for the project and break it down into small steps with a little box to check each step off to complete it. This helps me right from the beginning to just focus on one step at a time.
2. Create a deadline for each of those smaller jobs.
This has been making a huge difference. When I put a deadline next to each step of the project, I’m far more likely to finish the project in a timely manner. This is the same principle used in the yearly Bible reading plans available on the Internet. My husband and daughters and I have been using this Bible reading method last year and this year and love it.
3. Focus on one job at a time.
Once I make my project list, I try to block the rest of the project from my mind and focus just on the step I’m working on. Blocking the rest of the job from my mind helps me keep from being overwhelmed.
3. Set up your project the night before.
Sometimes the hardest thing is to just get the job started. It really helps to lay out everything you need the night before. Something about doing that just makes it easier to start the next morning.
4. Start with an easy, non-threatening task.
Sometimes it helps to do an easy task before you tackle your dreaded project task just to get your work motors revved up. For example, you could sweep the kitchen or vacuum the floor or walk the dog around the block. Anything to tell your brain that, “Hey, we’re going into work-mode now.”
5. Give yourself a pep talk.
While you’re doing that easy task, give yourself a pep talk about the hard task. Tell yourself how good it will feel to accomplish it. Tell yourself, “You can do this!” Maybe even picture yourself working cheerfully away at your task. Anything to get you in the mood to do it.
6. Try to make it as fun as possible.
While you’re actually doing the job, try to make it as fun as possible. Put on some great music. Get a friend or family member to work alongside you. Or go to the bakery where it is at least a fun atmosphere and you can have a cup of coffee by your side.
7. Take advantage of momentum.
Have you ever tried to push a car down the street? It’s hardest at the beginning. But once you get it rolling it doesn’t require that much effort. That’s also true of our most dreaded tasks. The hardest part is to get it rolling. Try to work on it every day but Sunday so you can take advantage of the momentum.
9. Be thankful.
Do you ever catch yourself complaining when you’re working on a really hard job? Those negative thoughts sap our energy. Reverse them by being thankful. As you do your job say things like, “Thank you, God, for helping me work on this today. Thank you for what you’ll help me accomplish.”
10. Give yourself a reward for finishing the job.
Remember the old days when the teacher would give you a sticker for completing your homework assignment? Rewards can motivate us to work, even if they’re small ones. You could give yourself a small reward for each step of the process if the steps themselves are huge, or just give yourself a reward when you finish the whole project.
It feels great to accomplish a dreaded project. If you have one of those projects hanging around the house or the office, see if some of these tips will help.
Other posts on procrastination: 45 Bible verses to help you stop procrastinating, 9 Questions that will help you stop procrastinating.
Discussion: Do you have any other tips for procrastination? Which tips would help you the most?