How To Stop Procrastinating and Get It Done

how to stop procrastinating
Photo courtesy of European Southern Observatory on Flickr Creative Commons

I can be the Queen of Procrastination when I want to be. Especially if it’s something I really dread, like scheduling an appointment, or making a phone call. Or worse, making a phone call to schedule an appointment. But even those mundane, everyday tasks are sometimes fodder for my procrastinating skills. Seriously, a few minutes ago, I updated my Facebook status:

Believe it or not, even though I am the Queen of Procrastination, I am also a productive person. I think we all fight the urge to procrastinate. It’s what we do with that urge that counts.

How To Stop Procrastinating and Get It Done

First, in order to stop procrastinating, I think it’s important to figure out the reason why you are prolonging the inevitable. My most common reason for procrastinating a task is fear:

  • Fear of conflict
    I don’t want to start a yelling match over whose turn it is to scoop poop.
  • Fear of sounding stupid
    I need to write this article, but what if it doesn’t make sense?
  • Fear of embarrassment
    What if the nurse laughs when I tell her why I need an appointment?
  • Fear of failure/rejection
    What if he/she hates it? (whatever it is)

Once you’ve determined the reason, you might be able to talk yourself out of procrastinating/into doing whatever it is. It’s always best to try to reason with yourself. For example:

  • If we don’t work out the schedule for scooping poop, I will either harbor resentment because I am always doing it myself, or the poop will take over the backyard.
  • After I write the article, I will have someone read it to make sure it is understandable.
  • The nurse has probably heard it all. Plus she is a professional. She will not laugh.
  • If he/she hates it (whatever it is), I will try again.

Of course, even the best of us are not always reasonable, even with ourselves. In that case, here are some more hard core methods of preventing procrastination:

    • Turn off the TV.
    • Turn off your phone, unless a phone call is what you’re procrastinating.
    • Turn off your computer and/or tablet, unless, like me, you are procrastinating something you need to create on your computer and/or tablet. In that case, a social media timer may help. Minutes Please is a simple, free website, where you can set limits on your time on specific websites. It’s easy to work around, but this is not a post about self-sabotage (maybe next time).
    • If your family is distracting you, try to work when they’re asleep, or, if possible, remove yourself to somewhere with less distractions (the library, Starbucks, a park).

Once you’ve removed your distractions, the next step is to GET IT DONE. Whatever it is. Just do it. Consider rewarding yourself when it’s done. For example, I hate appointments. In the past I was very good at cancelling or rescheduling. Now, I promise myself a small treat if I actually go to the appointment. That way, even if it’s something I really dread, like the dentist, I have something to look forward to afterwards.

As you can see, I managed to stop procrastinating and get this blog post done. What are your tricks to stop procrastinating and GET IT DONE?



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