How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

Viktor Hanacek / PicJumbo

OK, so some people actually do, like ER surgeons, lawyers, and Wonder Woman. If you are any of those, I salute you, keep up the good work. But if you silence nagging feelings about procrastination by telling yourself you work better under pressure, chances are you’re wrong. That “thrill” you get when sprinting to the finish might actually be a crippling fear of disappointing others—and yourself—by underperforming. That’s exactly what’s likely to happen if you have to rush through a project because you waited.

It’s a brilliant time management method that involves working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break to indulge in some well-earned Instagram browsing or the reward of your choosing. This helps when you’re putting something off because every time you try to start, all you can think is, “Welp, guess I’m spending the next 80 years of my life at this desk because this project is going to take forever, RIP me.” Knowing you only have to work for 25 minutes until you get a break makes it seem way more manageable. Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique here.

Employ this one after you’ve already committed to something like the Pomodoro Technique—that way you know it’s actually doable instead of just terrifying yourself into paralysis. Once you’re done, you’ll have accomplished the toughest job on your list, meaning you’ll get an “Oh my god, I am effing amazing, look at me go” boost that will help carry you through the next tasks.

Whether it’s a friend who’s on top of everything or a parent who will send you stern/encouraging texts, telling someone you need help with a deadline can be useful. Ask them to check in on you to make sure you’re on target (just don’t let responding to them get in the way of doing your work!).

Multitasking is a lie that makes you feel OK about juggling things that may deserve your full concentration. Unless you’re a rare case, your brain likely does not appreciate trying to split its efforts and acts out its displeasure by slacking in ways you might not realize. Instead of attempting to do a bunch of things at once, which can lead to distractions or slow you down, try purposefully switching between tasks. Devote your attention to one thing at a time, power through it, and move on.

A method of procrastination that can help end procrastination?! Genius. Sometimes when you’re lagging on motivation, a break from work will reinvigorate you to get back at it. Putting your energy towards working out can leave space for things to percolate into a lightbulb moment that makes you excited to tackle a project, and the endorphin boost doesn’t hurt. If you need some help in the way of workouts, may we suggest the SELF x Tone It Up Challenge?

You know those panicked moments when you’re half-convinced this will be the time you don’t pull off a last-minute assignment like a pro? And then you envision your entire future, marked forever by this moment when you totally dropped the ball? Write all of those feelings down on a notepad, stash it somewhere easily accessible, and glance at it next time you’re considering ignoring assignments.

On its face, maintaining a digital to-do list can make you feel super productive. Look at all that color-coded brilliance! Issue is, when you’re constantly on your phone or email to update the thing, you can fall prey to the internet’s tempting ways. Then what was originally a commendable effort to keep your work organized turns into Gchatting your friend about how your The Bachelor fantasy league is definitely winning this season.

Since procrastination is sometimes rooted in fear, it can help to face up to it by thinking about what would really happen if you botched this task. Go the full nine: envision the searing email from your boss, the snickers from your passive-aggressive colleague, and the profound sense of regret you’d have looking back on when you could have avoided the whole mess to start with. Then tell yourself none of that can happen if you do it now!

If mini-breaks after stints of working aren’t enough, add something time-sensitive to your calendar, like having lunch with your favorite coworker, meeting your friends for happy hour, or hitting up spin class after work (even better if you have to pay beforehand, ensuring you’ll lose money if you skip). The promise of fun can help light a fire under your butt, as can the threat of having to flake for a completely preventable reason.

In addition to fear, there’s a less profound reason behind procrastination: sometimes you just don’t feel like doing stuff. But part of being an adult is ponying up and making it happen anyway. There are also awesome parts of being a grownup, like sex and getting to eat breakfast for dinner. You have to take the good with the bad. Make peace with that so it’s way less likely a deadline will ever sneak up on you again.

Every day brings a huge to-do list consisting of client meetings, sifting through emails, completing projects, and making several phone calls.

People often complain they feel tremendous pressure, but in most cases, this is because they procrastinate to a point until the due date becomes a crisis deadline.

People procrastinate due to a number of reasons. However, the most common reason for procrastination is that they feel either overwhelmed or unmotivated to perform a job. But, if you want to grow and take your career to greater heights, you must fight procrastination and address lingering issues immediately.

How to Stop Procrastinating

In this post, I will discuss a few tips that will help you fight procrastination and improve overall productivity:

1. Break Work into Smaller Tasks

The bigger the task, the higher the chances of procrastination! This is because people often get overwhelmed when a tough project looms ahead of them. Breaking complex work into smaller tasks, however, can make things easier. By splitting the project, you can focus on a tiny part (of the entire project) at a given time, so you feel more confident and the urge to get it done quickly is higher.

Let’s say you are in charge of coding software. Instead of perceiving it as a big problem, it is best to break it down into smaller modules and then work on each module. Once they are completed, you can combine the modules together to assemble the entire software. However, project management is critical when you work in modules, especially if more than one person is working on a project (which is the case in most situations). Efficient project management reduces redundancy, ensures better communication, and prevents confusion.

You can apply this not only to your work, but to your personal life as well and make things easier for yourself. The idea is to overcome the fear of not being able to achieve something. Breaking down the problem into smaller pieces makes it easier to handle, and you can work proactively and get jobs done in a timely manner.

2. Take up the Toughest Task First

If you want to have a smooth day ahead, start with the day’s toughest task first. Once you get the most painful task out of the way, you will feel relieved and be able to focus better on the rest of the tasks. According to Piers Steel, Ph.D., professor of human resources and organizational dynamics at the University of Calgary and the author of ‘The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Things Done’, “We have a limited and depletable supply of willpower and resources.”

Tackling the toughest jobs when you are fresh and full of energy ensures a higher chance of success. By moving it down on the to-do list, you mess up all other tasks as you constantly stress over the worst one. If you find tidying up your room to be the least enjoyable task of all, start with tidying the room first thing in the morning; or if you need to make a client call that may make you feel uncomfortable, make sure to be done with it first thing when you start working.

By doing so, you will not only feel relaxed but also good about yourself. Ultimately, you will feel more confident and will able to complete the other tasks quickly and easily.

3. Measure Productivity Regularly

Measuring productivity on a regular basis helps you understand where you stand presently and what you need to do to ensure growth. A number of productivity and time-management applications are available that help you measure how constructively you have spent your day. Apps such as 30/30, Wunderlist and let you add tasks and create deadlines for each one. The apps send regular notifications regarding how close/far you are from your deadline so that you can work proactively.

It also allows you to collaborate, share task lists and manage projects. The apps are available for both iOS and Android, and some even offer a Web version for you to download the version that is most suitable for you.

4. Improve Personal Focus

Improving personal focus is important to ensure you get your jobs done quickly and efficiently. Procrastination comes naturally when juggling a number of tasks, as is the case of most people today who need to manage home, work, children, and more. We tend to delay the less-enjoyable tasks and, as a result, miss deadlines. However, with the right mindset, you can fight procrastination and motivate yourself to get the job done right away.

Here are a few tips on improving your personal focus:

  • Plan your day: Make a list of the tasks you need to get done on a specific day. Next, divide the tasks into 15-minute blocks to work on all the areas that need your attention without overlooking the others.
  • Set goals: It is important to set simple and realistic goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (or SMART). When you know what you need to achieve, you tend to work more proactively.
  • Get rid of distractions: Technology is the number one cause of distraction. Technology causes distraction among students, employees, children, and other groups. Avoiding distractions can help you fight procrastination. For example, when focusing on a particular job, remove all unwanted objects from your work table. Put your mobile phones, tablets and iPads away as well.


Each one of us has procrastinated at some point in our lives. Procrastination can have serious negative effects on your productivity and can slow down growth. It is, therefore, important to take necessary steps that will keep procrastination away.

It may seem impossible to fight procrastination, but with the right mindset and proper planning, you can motivate yourself and improve your productivity, thus ensuring rapid growth.

by Winston Sieck 4 Comments updated July 30, 2020

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

You send him off to school. Drive him to soccer practice. Then there’s dinner. And, you know, a little TV.

Says he’s getting homework done. But there doesn’t seem to be that much. Gets it all done in school. Hmm. Trust me. Hmm.

You want to trust him. You don’t have time to review each assignment. And that’d go over like a lead balloon, anyway. Nagging is out. Major hassle. Tiny return.

But when the grades come back, you know you’ve got to do something. Trust me didn’t work.

You might think that getting things done has to do with grit or simple hard-nosed discipline. That he’ll wake up and do it, or he won’t. But this is far from the truth.

He’s got to learn how to stop procrastinating homework.

You can’t manage his time for him anymore. But he still needs support.

Supporting him to get his work done simply requires that you teach him a few study tips and time management techniques. Teach him how to stop procrastinating homework, rather than trying to manage his time for him.

It’s much easier because you coach him on tools and processes, without getting into the nitty-gritty of his business. This is a central idea of our study skills course.

The procrastination cycle affects us all (or “It’s not just you, kid”)

You know what I mean by the procrastination cycle, right?

Say your son has a tough homework assignment. About geometry theorems. It seemed pretty complicated in class. He doesn’t get it right away, so he decides to put it off.

Later that evening comes. He puts it off again. Until tomorrow and then to the next day. Now he’s feeling like he really doesn’t know what’s going on in class. More assignments begin to slip, and class is less fun every day.

He’s walking around with an uneasy feeling that he’s not going to do very well in this course. And feeling like that, it becomes easy to procrastinate his homework even more.

Procrastination is a beast that feeds on itself.

And you’ve met that beast yourself, haven’t you?

It shouldn’t be too hard to feel some empathy. Procrastination haunts us all.

Can you think of a time when you didn’t feel very motivated to study (or work)? A time when you were sorely tempted to put off the task until later? My guess is that you don’t have to think that far back.

What was it about the task that gave you an itch to procrastinate? Did it seem too difficult, boring, or just tedious?

How did it turn out? Did you break the cycle, or did things get worse and worse?

You’ve got a story about procrastination. Think it through. Get it straight in your head.

Now, tell your teen all about it.

Don’t worry if it turned out badly. It’s fine to show a little weakness. We’re all humans here.

My kids love and remember stories of my failures best.

The point is to empathize with your teen’s struggle. Show him that you really do know what it’s like.

Get momentum and spiral up

We all face the procrastination beast at one time or another. Yet, you have the benefit of experience. To get where you are now, you’ve figured out a few ways to overcome it.

You may not have them on the tip of your tongue, but they’re there. You’ve internalized your tricks. They’ve become part of your habit.

It’s time to bring them back to the forefront of your consciousness so you can pass them on.

Here are four ways to overcome procrastination. Share these tips with your teen.

  1. Nip procrastination in the bud. Recognize this cycle early on, and imagine where it will lead you. By acting early, even if just to do a little, you can avoid the downward spiral.
  2. Set small goals to focus on, rather than on a big task that seems like too much. Break the assignment or study activity into little pieces. Congratulate yourself as you finish a small task. Making a little progress will help increase your motivation to do some more.
  3. Make a deal with yourself. Promise yourself a reward for finishing the task, or a reasonable chunk of it. Tell yourself that you’ll watch some TV, listen to a song you like, or call a friend after you are done.
  4. Concentrate on the most recent tasks when too much has piled up. Figure out what tomorrow’s lecture is going to be about, or what homework assignment is due next, and put your energy into preparing for those. This way, you can enjoy a small win of a more positive class experience, because you understand what’s being said a bit better and have turned in a more complete assignment on time.

Which of these have you used? Maybe at work, instead of school. Do they jar your memory for other tricks you use?

The harsh truth about how to stop procrastinating homework

We all have trouble with procrastination. At least now and then.

It’s the same for your teen. And he’s had less practice handling it. He hasn’t picked up all the tricks you’ve come across for working through the sticky spots.

How can you help him get his tedious, daunting tasks done?

Not directly, at least. He’s got to learn to get himself unstuck.

But you can talk with him about procrastination. Empathize with his struggles.

You’ve know you’ve been there.

Think about what works for you.

Share your tips for getting things done (even when you don’t feel like it).

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

Procrastination affects far more activities than studying for your assignments. It spreads like a virus to various aspects of your life, forcing you to get fast-food rather than cook for yourself or to watch the telly instead of sorting out your messy room.

While avoiding less pleasurable tasks to enjoy the more pleasing ones doesn’t necessarily have to present a major threat, if it’s left uncontrolled it can lead to devastating effects.

Whether you are currently struggling with procrastination or simply want to learn how to deal with it, I will share a piece of advice on what works for me and how I get the work done.

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

First things first, if you are reading this article to procrastinate and you could very much be doing so, have a read till the end but dedicate yourself to the task you want to achieve afterward. There, I’m even letting you procrastinate for a couple more minutes – I told you this was going to be a useful article.

Don’t listen to the red clown!

Jokes aside, the first thing to remember is, no matter what you do, the work won’t complete itself. Your effort is required, your self-will to reach the goal on its own isn’t enough, I’m afraid. It might be very obvious but sometimes the simplest methods are the most efficient ones.

Reward and Catastrophe factor

Also, I find it a lot easier to do my work when the panic factor jumps in. If I think of the worst-case scenario that would happen if I missed the deadline for an assignment, or receive a host in my messy room, I will quickly jump on to get things done, to avoid the catastrophe.

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

Natural Solutions to keep you going

If mental preparation doesn’t make a lot of difference, try out the tangible stimuli. Coffee, I have learned, boosts my motivation and even creativity. It even brings plenty of research-proven benefits to your health.

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

With having your deadlines and possible negative outcomes in mind, with the rewards as your motivation, with the coffee and the music and the breaks as your backup, everything should go smooth and relatively easy. I shall also note that getting out of the procrastination quicksand is the hardest part, but once you’re out you will find out how potent habit is. Keep them positive.

You know what you should be doing; you just don’t want to do it. Read our top 10 tips for students to squash procrastination once and for all.

by Regan Collins
CollegeXpress Student Writer

Originally Posted: Mar 24, 2017
Last Updated: Dec 28, 2020

Procrastination is the bane of every student’s existence. We know what we should be doing; we just don’t want to do it. It’s easy to put off undesirable assignments until the very last minute, but then we’re forced to pull a stress-induced all-nighter. Seven cups of coffee later, we’re exhausted, frustrated, and turning in an assignment that hardly showcases our best work. Here are the top 10 tips to crush procrastination and actually get some sleep for once!

1. Get organized

You can’t do any work if you don’t know what assignments need to be completed. Invest in a planner or start using the calendar app on your phone. This makes it much easier to keep track of individual assignments and important due dates. Need help getting started? Watch our video on organization and time management skills!

2. Set simple, achievable goals

Part of the reason we procrastinate is because the task at hand seems too daunting. It’s a lot easier to get started on a project when you establish simple, reachable goals rather than a big, vague plan. Instead of telling yourself, “I’ll study biology tonight,” say, “I’ll study chapter six tonight.” This makes your goals less intimidating and more attainable. Read this blog on tackling your goals for more advice.

3. Create a timeline/schedule

After you set your goals, create a timeline to complete them. This could be a study schedule for your big exam coming up (“On Tuesday, I’ll study chapter five, and on Wednesday, I’ll study chapter six”), or it could be mapping out an essay you have to write (“On Saturday, I’ll write the introduction and conclusion”). Breaking an assignment into small chunks over time makes it much more manageable.

4. Set a deadline

So many people get trapped in the cycle of “Someday, I’ll organize my notes,” or “I’ll get to that math homework eventually.” The truth is “someday” and “eventually” never come. It’s important to set a specific date for when you want your goals to be accomplished. If you have an assignment due, aim to have it completed one or two days in advance. That way, if something unexpected happens, you still have extra time to complete it.

5. Get rid of distractions

It’s important to rid yourself of all potential disruptions before you begin working so you don’t get needlessly sidetracked halfway through your task. If you tend to spend too much time on Snapchat or Instagram when you should be studying, then shut your phone off (all the way off). Distractions could also be external sources, like annoying siblings. Try listening to classical music or white noise to drown out their constant chatter. Alternatively, you could change study environments all together and head down to the local library or coffee shop, where you can clear your mind and study distraction-free.

6. Time yourself

When loaded with assignments, it’s easy to overwork yourself. Plus, our brains can really only handle so much information and focus at a time! So. how long should you study for? Everyone is different, but most experts agree on a range of 50 to 90 minutes. Set a timer for a block of focused studying or work to prevent yourself from burning out.

You may have to experiment to find your “sweet spot” for the length of time you spend studying. According to the Atlantic, the formula for perfect productivity is to work for 52 minutes and break for 17.

7. Take a break

It’s important to take mental breathers from school work every now and then. When your timer goes off, take a 10–30-minute break. Listen to music, take a walk, do some laundry, or scream into a pillow—anything that takes your mind off of work and allows you to relax.

8. Use incentives

Everyone loves being rewarded. It’s important to give yourself incentives, no matter how small. It could be something as simple as, “If I work on this assignment for an hour, I’ll watch an episode of my favorite TV show tonight.” Or it could be a bigger goal like, “If I get an A in math this semester, I’ll go to my favorite restaurant.” It’s easier to pay attention when something is at stake.

9. Get the hard stuff done first

This may make you want to push everything back farther. It’s hard to do something that you don’t want to do. But guess what? Once you do it, it’s over! It is best to complete your most challenging assignments first. That way everything after it seems easier and takes a shorter amount of time. If you keep pushing that English essay back, you’re never going to get it done. It’s best to buckle down and just do it.

10. Tell someone about your goal

It’s easy to forget about assignments or put them off if you’re the only person holding yourself accountable. If you really want to get something done, tell a friend or family member. Now there is someone holding you responsible for your goals. You can’t back out or slough it off. As an added bonus, you also have someone to celebrate your victories with, no matter how small. Whether it’s getting an A on that physics test or just finishing a project a few days in advance, your friend will be there to support you.

There you have it—the top 10 ways to avoid procrastination. Now stop reading and go get your assignments done! (Or procrastinate productively by searching for colleges and scholarships on CollegeXpress!)

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Tips to Stop Procrastination from Stopping You

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

Success coaches often suggest that if you want something bad enough, your desire will provide the fuel for the action you need to make it happen. While passion and desire are important to achieving success, it is possible for resistance and procrastination to get in the way of goals, even goals you really want. In fact, Elishia Goldstein’s research suggests that resistance is ingrained in our brains, and because we give into it so much, it becomes habit. Even so, you can beat resistance and overcome procrastination to achieve your goals.& nbsp;Here are tips for overcoming resistance and procrastination in your home business.

Why are you resistant?

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to determine why you’re doing it. The base reason is usually because following through is hard or uncomfortable. But deep down, reasons for putting off home business tasks are varied and are the key fixing the problem. Some common reasons people procrastinate include:

  • The project is hard or you don’t understand it.
  • The method for achieving or the end goal result is unclear.
  • The project is overwhelming.
  • There is fear around the project, such as fear of failure or fear of what others will think.
  • The project is tedious or boring.
  • You’re lazy.

How does resistance manifest?

When it comes to putting things off, we find all sorts of very good reasons why the home business project isn’t getting done. These reasons seem completely practical and justified, but ultimately, they set you further away from your goal and can undermine your confidence. For that reason, it’s important to figure the methods you use to procrastinate.

There are two major ways most people avoid getting things done:

1) Making excuses about why home business tasks aren’t getting done. Common excuses include too little time and/or money, lack of support and resources, it’s too early or too late, the time isn’t right, etc. In essence, anytime you justify not doing your work, you’re procrastinating.

2) Distractions. There is no doubt that distractions can make running a home business a challenge. Children need attending to, the laundry needs to be done, a friend calls to chat, cool new pins show up on Pinterest, etc. However, unless you’re being interrupted, distractions can be avoided. So if the laundry or refrigerator is calling, it’s because you’re already looking for reasons not to work.

Interruptions are more difficult to manage, because they stop the flow of work. Further, once you’ve been interrupted, it can be hard to get back to the project. One interruption can lead to getting distracted by other things. For example, in the middle of writing this, I got a phone call from my husband who needed me to take care of something for him. It took some time to deal with his request, and it would have been easy to break for lunch or visit Facebook once I finished it, but instead, I’m back to writing this article.

How to stop resistance and procrastination

The first step to dealing with any issue is admitting you have a problem with procrastination. The next steps are figuring out why and how you procrastinate (as outlined above), because they offer clues to the solution. Most procrastination solutions encourage time management, good resources, and getting rid of perfectionist ideas, which are all helpful. But if you’re procrastinating because you’re bored, those solutions won’t work. Here are strategies based on some of the reasons procrastination occurs as listed above:

  • The project is hard or you don’t understand it. If a project is hard or you don’t understand it, instead of sitting down to do the project, make time to learn it and map out a plan to get it done. Once you have a grasp of what you need to do and road map to get it done, things will go smoother. For example, if you want to build an online business, but haven’t done it because building a website is hard, instead of worrying about building the business, focus on learning how to build a website. Get that hard piece out of the way.
  • The method for achieving or the end goal result is unclear. Vague goals lead to vague ideas about how to reach them. Depending on the project, it can be hard to find clarity. For example, writing is very difficult if you don’t know what you want to say and figuring out what you want to say can be equally as difficult. But if you’re sitting down to work on your project and are unsure about what to do, it’s time to get clear on your goal and what you want to happen. Often the tasks that need to be done reveal themselves when you’re clear on the results you want.
  • The project is overwhelming. My father tells me he could never write a book because it would be daunting. However, as a newspaper man, he’s written thousands of 750 word articles. I tell him writing a book is just stringing together a bunch of 750 word sections. Breaking down your goal into smaller, manageable tasks helps you create a plan and takes away the overwhelm.
  • There is fear around the project, such as fear of failure or fear of what others will think. The best way to deal with fear is to face it and plow through it. Fear grows if you let it. Instead, beat the fear by taking action.
  • The project is tedious or boring. Find a way to make the project fun, such as turning it into a game. Or outsource it to a virtual assistant or other contractor. Unless you have to be the one to do it, paying someone else to do the tedious stuff allows you more time to do the things you do enjoy.
  • You’re lazy. If you’re procrastinating because you’re lazy. well. knock it off. Get off your tookus and get working.

The reality is that resistance is inevitable. What you have control over is whether or not you give into resistance and instead procrastinate, or you push resistance aside and take action. The latter choice is the one that will get you to your home business goals the fastest. The trick is to understand why you’re feeling resistant and then work to overcome it.

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

From time to time, even the most conscientious and productive professionals procrastinate. For some, pushing off a deadline is a rare and anxiety-inducing situation; other people thrive best under the pressure of waiting until the eleventh hour. However, when your tendency to procrastinate is starting to make your overall quality of work and life suffer, it’s time to do a reality check and break yourself of the habit.

Taking small steps toward better time management will help you reduce your procrastination tendencies and get you on track to get more done. Here’s what Forbes Coaches Council members recommend doing to stop racing the clock.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share their insight.

All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

1. Take The Smallest Step Possible

When you don’t feel motivated, take the smallest step possible toward your goal. After taking that step, you’re more likely to continue taking more steps toward that goal. Instead of telling yourself to workout for an hour, say you’ll go for 10 minutes. You naturally want to stay in the status quo. Taking a step bypasses that part of your brain that is alerted when you’re trying to make a change. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

2. Identify A Positive Outcome From Your Action

To overcome your tendency to procrastinate, focus on what the reward is when you take action. This assumes the outcome is something you want. Be very selective about what you let into your experience and surround yourself with to keep your energy as clean as possible to achieve the goals you want. – Christine Hueber,

3. Give Yourself A Hard Deadline, Then Schedule It

The best way to overcome a natural tendency to procrastinate is to create a hard deadline for yourself and then put it on the calendar. Having a scheduled deadline that you commit to will make it easier to get tasks completed. Treat the deadline the same as if your boss created it, and then honor it the same way you would if your boss were waiting for you to complete the task. – Kitty Boitnott, Boitnott Coaching, LLC/Teachers in Transition

4. Be Kind To Yourself

Forgive yourself. If you have the tendency to label yourself a procrastinator, make your first effort one to drop the name calling. For whatever your past experience has been, refocus on doing 5 % more toward your goal and give yourself permission to be human at the same time. – Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leadership

5 . Understand The Underlying Reasons You’re Procrastinating

Become a detective or a scientist about your pattern of procrastinating by noticing your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and the situation when you feel like procrastinating. Write these down. Often perfectionism, which we may experience as anxiety, underlies the tendency to postpone action. Once you understand your pattern, you can hold yourself accountable in a positive and self-compassionate way. – Christine Allen, Ph.D., Insight Business Works

6. Shut Off Your Phone And Set A Timer

Making it happen is literally as easy as setting an intention and then shutting off tempting interruptions. I broke this habit permanently 27 years ago through the simple act of putting up a do not disturb sign, shutting off my phone, and setting a reasonable time limit to prove I could do this. Remember, this is just another muscle you build so just set the scene to make focusing possible. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International

7. Get An Accountability Partner

To be accountable to another person helps us personally and professionally. Many of us know we need to accomplish something and are putting it off and won’t ask someone to help. Ask for help and let that person know you will do the same for them. Accountability implies commitment, that you not only let yourself down but that partner. Find that partner who will help you overcome procrastination. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

8. Give Yourself A Reward For Each Task You Complete

I used to be a big-time procrastinator until I found a way to make it interesting. Make a list of things you need to do and do the one you don’t want to do first. Then give yourself a little reward for doing it (piece of candy, a few minutes on social media, etc). Then do something on your list that you want to do and continue alternating from there. This makes your tasks less daunting. – Krista Rizzo, Why Am I Yelling? Life Coaching

9. Schedule (And Stick To) ‘Procrastination Time’ In Your Day

If you are a serial procrastinator, own it. Schedule non-working time into your day so that you allow time for cleaning your desk, taking a walk or whatever else it is that keeps you from your work. Having this time blocked in your calendar may eliminate the guilt associated with procrastination. A refreshed mind is a productive mind. – Kathleen Woodhouse, Nova Leadership Immersion

10. Set A Few Daily Non-Negotiables

At times, you are just not going to feel like completing a task. This is where creating daily non-negotiables comes into play. A daily non-negotiable is something you commit to doing every single day no matter what. It is something you don’t have to think about because you have already committed to doing it. – Kiki Ramsey, Kiki Ramsey International

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

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How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

When it comes to getting things done, most of us are no strangers to procrastination. Even though we know the task eventually has to get done, it’s tempting to wait until last minute, which is why it’s important to know the best ways to stop procrastinating. Getting into these productive habits can help keep us on track even when we are the most tempted to browse Facebook and Twitter instead of sending that important email.

“The two main reasons that people procrastinate usually come down to insecurity or the need to control, both of which are rooted in fear,” says life coach Stephanie Holland over email. “We avoid doing something that is usually pretty simple because we are afraid. Maybe it’s at work where you are not happy, so you avoid completing something to express your unhappiness that you are unable to articulate.”

We all know that procrastinating is just a vicious cycle of getting more stressed, so we need to learn the right tools to avoid it to make sure we not only get our work done, but prevent the same procrastination from happening again. If you want to get better at getting your tasks done ahead of time, try these eight expert tips to stop procrastinating.

1. Make A To-Do List

It’s easy to get scared off when you have a million tasks floating around in your head, but getting them out on paper can help you visualize what needs to get done. “At the top of the list, put what your ultimate goal is,” says life coach Tom Casano over email. “Then make your list in order of the highest priorities to lowest. When you’re feeling lazy, bored, or you realize you’re just procrastinating, go to your to-do list!.” Start doing the highest priority task, and work down from there.

2. Create Smaller Tasks

“One of the most de-motivating things is to look at a huge mountain of work, feel overwhelmed, and then not do anything,” says Casano. “Break down your big project into smaller, achievable tasks. If you take an 8-hour project and break it down into four 2-hour sections, it will feel a lot more achievable.”

3. Change Your Environment

When it comes to getting work done, where you do it matter. Rooms with higher ceilings, cool colored walls, and natural landscapes help facilitate productivity and creative thinking, according to multiple studies, but you want your space to keep you in a relaxed and inspired mood. “Create a space with uninterrupted silence to get into your flow,” says life coach Silvia Christmann to Bustle over email. Set the mood: light a candle, turn on your favorite tunes. whatever it is.”

4. Ditch Distractions

Between emails, texting, phone calls, and let’s not forget social media, it’s no surprise so many of us get easily distracted. A study from Apex Performance found that the average worker gets distracted from a task every 20 minutes, so put your phone on do not disturb, click out of your Facebook window, and refrain from checking your email until you do what you need to get done.

5. Visualize The Goal

“Ask yourself, why do I want to accomplish this?” says Casano. “If the feeling of having a clean home is motivating enough, then you will start cleaning. But if the unpleasantness of vacuuming and dusting are greater than the feeling of having a clean home, you won’t get started any time soon. Focus on how good it will feel to have a clean house, kindle that desire for a clean home, and use it to drive you to action.”

6. Hold Yourself Accountable

Simply telling someone about what you need to get done is a good way to get your butt moving. “If someone else knows what your plan is, they can help and keep you accountable, even when they’re not there,” says Holland. “Just knowing that you shared with someone that you intend to do laundry today will help you motivate your way.”

7. Ask For Help

Sometimes we procrastinate because tasks are too much to handle on our own. “There are times where we just need help,” says Holland. “This isn’t about delegating the task to someone else, but bringing in someone to assist you. Just feeling that there is another person to help carry the load can be freeing.”

8. Set Your Own Deadline

If you don’t have a deadline for something, there’s no sense of urgency to get it done. “Set yourself an artificial dead line,” says Christmann. “Commit to what you need to do ‘no matter what,’ and give yourself very little time. You’ll see work will get done faster.”

Beating procrastination requires self-motivation, so do whatever it takes to inspire yourself to get your work done.

How to avoid procrastination and get your work done

Perfectionists are great procrastinators. Stalling until the last minute, they tear into a project with dust flying and complaints about insufficient time. Perfectionist-procrastinators are masters of the excuse that short notice kept them from doing the quality job they could have done.

But that’s hardly the only variety of procrastination. For others, it comes with a gnawing feeling of being fatigued, always behind. They try to tell themselves that they’re taking it easy and gathering their energies for a big new push, but procrastination differs markedly from genuine relaxation—it saves no time or energy. On the contrary, it drains both, leaving behind self-doubt and self-delusion instead.

Feeling like there is forever far too much to do, we say we’re really under the gun this week. But working hard or even heroically to solve a problem is little to our credit if we created the problem in the first place. When most people refer to themselves as being under the gun, they want to believe the pressures and problems are not their fault. In most cases, though, the gun appeared after failure to do something in good time. Instead of being proactive early, they procrastinated until the due date became a crisis deadline.

One of the best escapes from the prison of procrastination is to take even the smallest steps toward your goals. People usually procrastinate because of fear and lack of self-confidence and, ironically, become even more afraid when under the gun. There are many ways to experiment and test new ground without risking the whole ball game on one play.

Experience has shown that when people go after a big goal all at once, they invariably fail. If you had to swallow a 12-ounce steak all at once, you’d choke. You have to cut the steak into small pieces and eat one bite at a time.

So it is with prioritizing. Proactive goal achievement means taking every project and cutting it up into bite-sized pieces. Each small task or requirement on the way to the ultimate goal becomes a mini goal in itself. Using this method, the goal becomes manageable. When mini mistakes are made, they are easy to correct. And with the achievement of each mini goal, the positive feedback motivates you to take on the next mini goal.

So step forward and do it now and do it right. To stop procrastinating and to be more proactive, do these nine things:

1. Set your wake-up time a half hour earlier tomorrow.

Use the extra time to think about the best way to spend your day.

2. Memorize and repeat this motto: “Action today, not tomorrow.”

Handle each piece of incoming mail only once. Answer your email either early in the morning or at the end of the day. Block out specific times to make phone calls, take phone calls and to meet people in person.

3. When people tell you their problems, give solution-oriented feedback.

Rather than taking on the problem as your own assignment, first, ask what’s the next step they plan to take, or what they would like to see happen.

4. Finish what you start.

Concentrate all your energy and intensity without distraction on successfully completing your current major project.

5. Be constructively helpful instead of unhelpfully critical.

Single out someone or something to praise instead of participating in group griping, grudge collecting or pity parties.

6. Make a list of five necessary but unpleasant projects you’ve been putting off, with a completion date for each project.

Immediate action on unpleasant projects reduces stress and tension. It is very difficult to be active and depressed at the same time.

7. Seek out and converse with a successful role model.

Learning from others’ successes and setbacks will inevitably improve production of any kind. Truly listen; really find out how your role models do it right.

8. Understand that fear, as an acronym, is False Evidence Appearing Real, and that luck could mean Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

The more information you have on any subject, the less likely you’ll be to put off your decisions.

9. Accept problems as inevitable offshoots of change and progress.

With the rapid pace of change in society and business, you’ll be overwhelmed unless you view change as normal and learn to look for its positive aspects—such as new opportunities and improvements—rather than bemoan the negative.

There is no such thing as a “future” decision; there are only present decisions that affect the future. Procrastinators wait for just the right moment to decide.

And if you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll find yourself running in place, unwittingly digging yourself deeper into your rut. Get out of your comfort zone and go from procrastinator to proactive and productive.

Make your personal motto: “Stop stewing and start doing!”