How to stop procrastinating in 3 steps
3 tips to help you stop procrastinating and get on with the task at hand.
‘Yep, sure - I’m on it. I just need to quickly clean the oven, balance my accounts, walk the dog, shave my beard, plan my next birthday party and spend three hours in an Insta hole....’ Sound familiar? Then you're in the right place. Here's how to stop procrastinating, pronto.
Why do I procrastinate so much?
According to life coach, Marty Nemko, figuring out the cause of your task-dodging behaviours is the first step. Maybe you avoid things that are too difficult, or too boring? Are you potentially freaked out by success, or by failing? Are you finding things too stressful?
Once you have an idea of why you’re procrastinating, you can think about ways to address the cause—rather than the symptom. For example; if you’re bored with a task, like cleaning your flat: get a cleaner. Even if you think it’ll be extravagant, the freed-up time and headspace is well worth the investment. Or, if your issue is that the task in question is too hard—can you outsource it, or learn a new skill to make it less daunting?
At some point though, whether we’re aware of the cause or not - we all fall victim to procrastination.
What are the 4 types of procrastinators?
According to accountability coaches Ali Schiller and Marissa Boisvert, these are the 4 main types of procrastinators:
1. The Performer
Performers leave tasks to the last minute as they believe they work better under pressure. It means putting off getting started and being unhappy with the rushed finished result.
2. The Overbooker
This procrastinator always fills up their calendar to the point they're overwhelmed. Rather than facing the challenge they've set themselves or admitting they didn't want to do something in the first place, they procrastinate by crying 'I'm so busy'.
3. The self-depreciator
For self-depreciators, inaction is far from procrastination laziness. Yet that's the usual reason they give themselves for not doing something. They tend to just be tired and overworked, and a break and some self-compassion will get them going again.
4. The novelty seeker
Bored easily, the novelty seeker barely starts something before they move on to something else. They take on more than they're willing to commit to and so procrastinate by finding Shiny New Objects rather than following through.
With your own avoidance style in mind, here’s a handful of hacks on how to stop procrastinating right now.
What are the 3 steps to stop procrastinating?
1. Think of future you
If the 'you' in a couple of hours’ time would thank the current you for doing something—do yourself a favour and do it.
A good point to remind yourself to do this is when you realise you’ve veered (or are deciding to veer) off course.
2. Make it a ritual
If you're looking for how to overcome procrastination when it comes to truly grisly tasks (I’m looking at you, expenses and spreadsheets), schedule a manageable chunk of time to do it bit-by-bit, like an hour every week.
That way, you’re chipping away at it regularly, and it won’t feel like a behemoth to be avoided at all costs.
This technique requires some willpower but is an effective way to help you stop procrastinating.
Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes and work on your task until the alarm goes off. Then, you get five minutes of play time to do whatever you want. Then start again and repeat until your task is done. You can obvs adjust the timings to suit you, but it works on the basis that you get rewarded for uninterrupted work time.
How to stop procrastinating
We've covered why you might be procrastinating, 4 types of procrastinators, and 3 steps to help you overcome procrastination. If you're looking for more ways to improve your productivity and focus, try our simple guide on beginning meditation.