5 Strategies That Can Help You Stop Procrastinating

Almost everyone knows what it’s like to procrastinate over something they really don’t want to do, even if it’s just putting off homework or chores. Sometimes, it’s not a big deal. But there can be serious consequences for procrastinating when it comes to important matters, like paying bills and meeting legal deadlines.

If you’re someone who tends to procrastinate, and you’d like to get back on track to keep up with your responsibilities, here are some strategies that can help you stop procrastinating.

Find more convenient ways to address critical tasks

Try to find ways to make daunting tasks more convenient. For example, if you are required to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) to maintain a professional certification or license, you might not want to drive anywhere to take your courses. Find out if you can take those classes online. For example, it’s common for respiratory therapists and other healthcare professionals to take courses online to earn CEUs because they run on a regular schedule. Computer professionals also routinely keep up with their license requirements online. When there’s no requirement to drive anywhere, it’s easier to get it handled and you’re less likely to procrastinate. 

Start small and take a logical approach

When you find yourself facing the need to perform an unpleasant task, and you’re feeling inclined to ignore it and do something else, you can talk yourself through the process by breaking it down into smaller tasks to make it easier.

Sometimes, overwhelm comes from feeling like you have to do everything at once, or not knowing where to start. Ask yourself if you can perform the task in stages. In most cases, that will be possible. It may take longer to complete, but at least it will get done. 

For example, if you need to clean your entire house and throw away/donate items you don’t want anymore, you don’t have to do it all in one day. You can take it one room at a time, hour by hour until you’re done.

Ask for help

If you’re procrastinating because a task or obligation is too much for you to manage on your own, or you don’t have all the required knowledge to do it correctly, ask for help. Find someone who knows the answer to your questions and talk with them about your situation. Ask what they would do and how they might do it, and if it’s still too far above your head, request their help.

It’s also okay to pay someone for their assistance when you are unable or unwilling to do something important. For example, if you’ve been neglecting trimming your trees because you feel unsafe standing on a ladder, hire a local landscaper or high school kid to do it for you.

There are always people out there who are willing and able to help if you just ask. Some of them will support you for free and others will charge money. Either way, help is available, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Be intentional with ignoring distractions

Don’t allow yourself to get distracted while trying to accomplish a goal you’ve been putting off for a while. Once you start digging into a task, it’s inevitable that distractions will pop up, and you’ll be tempted to get side-tracked. Distractions, as disruptive as they may be, offer a way out of the task you’ve been postponing. Don’t take the bait.

Be kind to yourself

The more you beat yourself up over your procrastination habits, the harder it will be to accomplish your goals. The kinder you are to yourself, the easier time you’ll have when tackling things you don’t want to do.

Studies have shown that self-compassion can reduce procrastination and increase the ability to reach a goal. This makes being gentle with yourself all the more important. Work on not allowing yourself to think negative thoughts about yourself. Negative self-talk and constantly thinking about things you’ve done wrong will only get in your way.

Procrastination doesn’t have to be a lifestyle

No matter how long you’ve been putting off important tasks, it doesn’t have to be a lifestyle set in stone. Try some of the tips outlined in this article to reduce procrastination and increase your ability to achieve your goals.