6 Effective Ways to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination can be controlled. Unlike believing what you hear on Fox News, procrastination is not a medical disorder that requires significant and profound medical treatment. The key to being able to stop the cycle of procrastination is to focus on the causes and effects as well as your own perspective on the importance of putting off things until tomorrow that you know should have done yesterday.

Admit Your Procrastination Is a Big Problem

A tendency among some procrastinators is to view their ability to put off even the most important things until the last minute as a minor human failing. Procrastination is a character flaw and a weakness and while it may not always be a major weakness, it can become so chronic that it transforms into an almost Aristotelian tragic flaw. Take a look at just how big a problem your procrastination is and be honest about how you look at it. If you don’t see it as a big problem, you may never overcome the problem.

Be Realistic About When You Do Your Best Work

I’ve never met anyone who has a problem with procrastination who hasn’t said something to the effect that they do their best work under pressure. In my own particular case…well, this happens to be true. I write better under the pressure of a looming deadline than if I start an article a week before it’s due. This is true of many people who procrastinate, but not all. Assess your situation and determine if you really do superior work under pressure or if you are just, well, a lazy ass.

Quit Underestimating

Another type of procrastinator doesn’t necessarily think they do best under pressure, but rather chronically underestimate the amount of time it will take to do their best. You can easily determine if this is the cause of your procrastination by looking back at projects you have put off too long and being honest about whether you just thought you could do it faster and easier. Get a handle on how long a task will take by researching how long it takes others. You can easily find out how long it takes the average person to write a five page academic paper on Hamlet as well as how long it takes the average person to get a house in order for an appraisal. Start getting realistic about estimation and you may find the key to putting an end to your habit of procrastination.

Compile An Excuse List

Start keeping a list of all the excuses you use to put off completing a project. Watch that episode of SpongeBob SquarePants titled, aptly, “Procrastination” and enjoy the show of how many excuses the sponge comes up with to put off his boating school essay. Start by trying to remember every excuse you ever came up with for putting off doing something and then keep an ongoing list of excuses you come up with.

Stop Thinking You’ll Have Enough Time

You’ve got a week to paint the bedroom before Aunt Harriet comes to stay for the summer. Plenty of time. Before you know it, however, you’ve only got three days. By the time you get around to it, Aunt Harriet is in the cab on the way to your house from the airport. The minute you find out the absolute deadline for your task to be completed is the time to start training your brain to think you will never have enough time to get it done. Work yourself into a mindframe where you never allow yourself to imagine you’ve got plenty of time and you will quickly overcome procrastination.

The Big Mo

Momentum is a wonderful thing. Momentum can a football team from being down 24 points right before halftime to being up by three by the time the third quarter ends. Utilize momentum to overcome procrastination. Once you’ve completed a major project, keep riding that energy into the next project and immediately get started. Those endorphins that flood your body with the completion of a big job can be exploited to get you completely through a much smaller job.