How to Stop Procrastinating and How to Get Things Done.
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Procrastination is the act of putting off tasks that you should be focusing on, which can impact your personal and work life. It can lead to personal frustration, diminished work quality, and missed opportunities. In our article, we help with a guide on how to stop procrastinating and just as important, how to get things done.
At home, partners may become frustrated with you as the day-to-day operations of the
household are left to fall on their shoulders. In your workplace, colleagues may avoid working
with you if you persistently put off until tomorrow something that could be done today, a trait that
can potentially limit your career path and damage your reputation. Thankfully, I can tell you from
experience that it is possible to escape the procrastination trap.
Why do we Procrastinate?
So, the first question to ask yourself is, why do you procrastinate? Procrastination typically does
not creep up on you but is, instead, a habit that you may be well aware of that has been with
you for years. It is easy to fool yourself into believing that dodging a task and binging on Netflix
shows is a better use of your time. However, that task you are avoiding continues to lurk in the
back of your mind, making that relaxation inefficient. You would have been better off doing the
job first and then relaxing.
Despite being aware of the problem of procrastinating, it is a difficult habit to break. Part of why
so many people procrastinate is a developed habit of needing a stress-induced trigger to get
motivated to work, such as a deadline, but this only leads to increased anxiety.
Does this sound familiar? Do you make lists of tasks without completing them, just to give
yourself something to do that isn’t the task at hand? If so, you may be struggling with
Short-Term Anxiety Relief
Anxiety plays an integral part in procrastination. For some procrastinators, the limiting factor can
be a fear of failure or a need for perfectionism. If this sounds like you, are you worried about
being judged by your output? Often, this type of anxiety goes hand in hand with larger projects,
both personal and professional, such as achieving a qualification, losing weight, or striving for a
workplace promotion. You may tell yourself that it’s better to avoid the risk of failure simply by
not attempting the task in the first place.
For some others, the anxiety comes from a place of fear – fear of the end results. For example,
many people will avoid doing their taxes until the last minute to avoid their tax bill for as long as
possible. This can lead to months of worry.
Another common anxiety driver is being assigned tasks that seem worthless or disinteresting.
These tasks may be repetitive or dull, but they must be carried out unless you plan to leave the
situation you are in. Housework can’t be avoided, and tasks at work must be completed, or
unpleasant consequences may follow.
Perhaps you recognize one of these issues in your own life? How can you overcome the anxiety preventing you from getting through your list of tasks?
One of the best pieces of advice I can give to you is to just get started. Try not to overanalyze
the tasks on your list. If you pick up the first task on your to-do pile and attack it, it will soon be
done and off your desk. If you proceed in this manner to clear your backlog of tasks, the anxiety
soon evaporates. Don’t overthink it. Don’t overanalyze your output; just get it done.
If necessary, break down large tasks into smaller ones that can be methodically ticked off as
you go, but do not let list-making become the new task you agonize over.
Do you worry about how your results will be perceived by your peers? Concentrate instead on
the satisfaction of a completed list and reach the next moment of relaxation. Remember, all
your colleagues are in the same boat, attempting to clear their share of the tasks.
There is a particular way of thinking, fuelled by anxiety, that can be particularly harmful to you if
you are prone to procrastination – The all-or-nothing approach. For people that think this way,
everything is very black-or-white, with no gray area in between. Tasks fall into two camps: those
worth doing and those that are not.
Remember, of course, that your partner or employer will not agree with this way of thinking;
otherwise, the tasks would not have been assigned to you in the first place.
This manner of thinking is particularly harmful, as it often spills over into how you value your
self-worth and your importance among your peers. If this sounds like you and this way of
thinking impacts your personal or work life, reach out to us. We’re ready to work with you to help
you move past this negative way of thinking.
5 Strategies to Stop Procrastinating
For those who need some tips and tricks for getting back on track with their tasks, here are our
5 top strategies to stop procrastination.
1. Make your bed every morning
It sounds like such a small thing, but making your bed every morning is proven to be part of the
daily process of the most active and high-achieving people. It takes only minutes to reset your
bedroom, but studies have shown that for daily bed-makers, 58 percent have reported being
very productive, compared to around 12 percent for non-bed-makers.
And, of course, you can reap the reward of a neat, cozy bed that is ready for you when the time
comes for sleep.
2. The Power Hour
Power hours are an effective way to plow through a chunk of your tasks, reducing the overall
stress and anxiety caused by the remainder of your list. Try a power hour first thing after you
drop your kids off at school or when you first get into the office. Once the hour is up, you can
reward yourself with a short break and a much-improved list of daily tasks.
3. Make a list
This one must be done with care. I’ve encountered many people who have turned list-making
into an art form while using it to avoid completing any of the tasks on the list. But lists are a
great way to set up the day, with a sequence of all the day’s requirements. Break larger tasks
into smaller missions that can be ticked off throughout the day, and don’t forget to include
positive tasks for yourself, such as exercising, watching a film, or taking an hour with your
4. Put the phone away!
Modern smartphones are excellent tools for productivity, enabling us to always have various
tools at our fingertips. They are also the worst enemy of the proactive, as the alerts, alarms,
news articles, and social media all work to distract us from our tasks. Unless you absolutely
need your phone for work, put it away.
5. Make time for yourself.
Taking meaningful breaks is essential for maintaining productivity. A short downtime helps you
to refocus your attention. You can only focus on a task for so long before your mind wanders,
and your output will dip in quality, quantity, or both. Just avoid TV, as shows tend to such you in,
and you’ll end up watching multiple episodes, and films are just too long for a ‘break.’ Instead,
take a short walk outside for a breath of fresh air, or go and talk to colleagues that are also on
Did you recognize any of the behaviours we listed in you? Are you aware that you tend towards procrastination? If so, make use of our 5 tips to stop procrastination, and you’ll be on your way to reinvigorating your workflow. Best of luck!