Top 10 Ways to Overcome Procrastination

by Journals to Freedom August 29, 2021 6 min read

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for more info. All printables are for personal use only.

Everyone procrastinates on something. I get it. I really do. Sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day and you feel like you can never catch up. You have a million things on your to-do list, but somehow they all manage to slip away from your reach and before you know it, the days are gone again and more of your tasks remain undone than finished. Sound familiar? It’s important to recognize that you’re not alone, procrastination happens to us all, and there are tactics you can embrace to get through it. Don't worry - here's our top 10 ways to overcome procrastination: 

#1 Give it Five (or Ten)

Sometimes, the best way to get something done is by tricking yourself. With this tactic, the objective is to spend five or ten minutes doing the task that you’ve been avoiding. By setting a timer for just five minutes and promising not to check your email or Facebook during that time, you can keep distracting thoughts at bay. The logic is that you can endure five minutes of anything. And five minutes out of your day doesn’t impact much else. Five minutes may seem like nothing but it's actually enough time to accomplish some tasks! 

Set yourself up for success by making a list of difficult things you have done or situations you’ve gotten through in five or 10 minutes. Start each sentence with, “If I can _______ for 5 minutes, I can (insert task action) for 5 minutes!" Repeat these to yourself as often as needed.

If you’ve been avoiding cleaning off your desk, spend five minutes on the task. That’s it. When the five minutes is up, you are free and clear to stop working on the task. Of course, most often, once you get into doing something, you are able to continue. You’ll probably finish cleaning off that desk.

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#2 Reward Yourself

Pushing through and completing tasks for a reward it is largely successful for most people and it’s definitely worth a try. Look at the task or project you’re avoiding and create a motivating reward. For example, if you’re procrastinate on writing a business plan you might reward yourself with a new piece of office furniture, business cards, or you might reward yourself with a day off. Are you delaying starting that exercise program? Reward yourself with a new fitness outfit after two weeks of exercising regularly. A new plant or a spa day at home are my personal favorite rewards!

#3 Find Out Why

Why are you procrastinating? There is often an underlying reason. Sometimes, we become so overwhelmed by a task that it seems like the only option is to delay. Maybe you just don't feel like doing this project and would rather do something else instead. But maybe there’s another reason behind your procrastination. For example, a writer may procrastinate on the last chapter of their book because they’re afraid of feedback, rejection from editors, or the revision process. Having your hard work critiqued can make anyone want to put off a task until later on in time when they think their idea will be perfect - but no one's ever had an unblemished first draft! Try figuring out why are you putting things off before taking action; otherwise, nothing changes.

#4 Work on Your Discipline

We can all benefit from a little more self-discipline. Maybe you don’t push yourself as much as you might like? You don’t stick to the task? Do you give up too easily? Not all the time, but probably more than you’d like. Self-discipline enables you to choose, persevere with actions, thoughts and behavior, which lead to improvement and success.

Here are some small steps to help improve your self-discipline:

  • run for just one more minute
  • replace one junk food item with a serving of vegetables
  • wake up just 15 minutes earlier
  • make your bed in the morning
  • write down your goals and put them where you see them everyday

These actions can help you learn to push yourself just a little bit harder. It’ll overlap into all areas of your life and you’ll be able to accomplish that project you’ve been dreading and avoiding.

#5 Set Realistic Goals

One of the biggest reasons that people avoid some projects, goals, or tasks is because they simply expect too much from themselves. They’re unrealistic. A common example is the weight loss goal. “I’m going to lose 15 pounds this month,” sounds great on paper. It’s specific and it is time bound. But is it realistic? Not really. Sure, it’s possible to lose that much in a month but it would require tremendous discipline, extreme and possibly unhealthy actions, and no mistakes.

Something that might be more realistic is “I’m going to lose a pound a week by cutting 500 calories out of my diet and walking for 20 minutes a day.” This makes the plan feel more achievable and you’re less likely to procrastinate. When setting goals for yourself, make sure you feel 80-90% confident you can achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Are you looking for a fun and organized way to track all the things in your fitness journey? This printable Fitness Planner has everything you need to get started and stay committed to exercise and healthy living.

#6 Visualize the Completed Task

Using your imagination to picture the outcome can help you get started on a project. When imagining how your life will be improved, and what feelings you'll have when it's done, it becomes more engaging for yourself.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a big project or a small one, this tactic works. When you can imagine the outcome, it’s easier to get started on the work.

#7 Make it Fun

Think about what you can do to make the task fun. Would it be more enjoyable to do it at a coffee shop? Could you listen to your favorite music while you work on the task? Or maybe you can enlist a friend to keep you company or help you out. Even the most boring tasks can be more enjoyable with the right approach.

#8 Positive Mindset Development

Wipe away all negative thoughts and language around the task you’re procrastinating on. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “I hate cleaning my desk.” You might change that to “I love having a clean desk. I feel more productive and creative when I have a clean desk.” Then, you can focus on what is possible about the task or project and let go of the negativity.

Does your morning routine need a reset? Starting out your day filled with positive vibes doesn't always come naturally. But I have good news, my friend! It is a habit that can be learned. This printable Positive Morning Binder is your solution to start the day the right way!

#9 Break Up Projects

Break up large projects you’ve been procrastinating on into smaller bite sized tasks. Often, we avoid doing some things because we know they’re going to take forever. You control this. For example, instead of painting the entire house, you might paint one room each month until the project is done.

You get to decide how the project is managed and completed. If you’re procrastinating on a work project, you may not get to decide how it’s managed but you can still break it up into smaller pieces that feel more manageable.

Are you tired of starting projects or setting goals but not finishing them? With this printable Be Intentional Binder, you can turn your intentions into accountability. You'll learn to focus on what is important, use your time wisely, and be intentional and precise with your decisions and actions.

#10 Group Related Projects

Sometimes a task you’re putting off doing is related to other tasks. For example, cleaning your desk and updating your files are two tasks that may overlap. When you group similar tasks and projects, it helps you be more productive. It also helps you capitalize on a productive mindset and feel accomplished when you’re finished. One project runs into the next and you are done with that dreaded project before you know it.

⏲️⏲️⏲️

Procrastination is a common problem for everyone. But, it doesn’t have to slow you down! Look at the tasks and projects you’ve been procrastinating on both in your personal and your professional life. Pin this post to Pinterest or share with friends and give one (or more!) of these ten tactics a try today. You'll be glad that you did when all your projects are done and you can focus on relaxing!

Journals to Freedom
Journals to Freedom


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