How to beat procrastination: 10 ways to beat procrastination

How to beat procrastination: 10 ways to beat procrastination

Procrastination feels familiar to us for the fact that it has been a long old friend of us. We encounter him daily in our life. Not that we love him. No. Not that we care for him. No. But, simply because we don't want to do things. Perhaps, we do want to do things but not for now at least. Hence, we postpone things endlessly. Sometimes willingly and sometimes unwillingly as if it is not in our control.  Work becomes piled up more and more with the dawn of each day. 

The built up guilt, resentment, anger, hopelessness and despair can be evidenced by this chronic avoidance of work. We know deep down we should be doing things yet aren't doing it.We cannot bring ourselves to do it. It has been long overdue since the last time we said we will do it tomorrow. Still, we cannot do it no matter what. We feel bad of ourselves. We look down upon ourselves. Things will be possibly fine one day, we assume. One day we can do it all. However, in the long run, procrastination doesn't do good to anyone. Thus, it is time to break this pattern and beat this procrastination before it beats us. Hence in this article, I have shared tips that have personally helped me to get over procrastinating. 

    1. Understand the gravity of not doing things

How to beat procrastination: 10 ways to beat procrastination

 Sometimes the outcome of not doing things weighs more than doing things. When we don't pay our bills on time, we will be fined and even have our services discontinued. If we could pay our bills whenever we wanted to, we wouldn't do it. That’s why there are rules. And there are fines if we break the rules.

 In daily life however we don’t come into circumstances as severe as us getting fined.  As a result we often overlook most of the things. We don’t feel things are done at compulsion. Nevertheless, there is hidden value inside doing any work. If we don't clean our room on time, we might get allergies due to dust. If we don't wash dishes on time, it will be harder to scrub the greases than it was before. If we don't wash our clothes on time, it won't dry up soon. If we don't read on time, it will be hard to cover everything at once during the examination period. It will be hard to pass the exams. Even if there aren’t exams, if we don’t read now, we cannot make sense of what is being taught.

In daily life, we often procrastinate thinking for the perfect time  where our performance will be at peak. However, it is apparent from all these years that we will even do worse than we were to if we started doing things now. When we chronically postpone doing things, we assume our identity based on it. We look down upon ourselves. We lose the belief we had in ourselves. This is the ultimate cost that we have to pay eventually.  Thus, we should understand what is the cost of not doing certain actions. As good as the old proverb says,”A stitch in time saves nine”. Starting from now let’s realise that the postponing of doing things actually cost us more than doing it because we won’t get this time back again. In life there might not be second chances for us always. And to not face the consequences, we can start doing what we need to do from now on.

  1. Breaking tasks into mini size

How to beat procrastination: 10 ways to beat procrastination

Most of the time, we avoid doing tasks because it feels enormous and we don’t know where to start. In his book “How to stop worrying and start living”, Dale Carnegie describes how only a grain of sand passes from hourglass at a time and not more than that. If we were to pass more than one, we have to break it. Our day passes in a similar way, slowly like that. If we were doing many things at once, we would also break into pieces like that of an hourglass.

For this reason, what we can do is break the task like the grain of sand and do one thing at a time because that’s usually how our nature operates as a whole. One thing at a time. We are indeed part of this nature and the rule applies to us as well. How nature operates day and night relentlessly without a fail. It operates intrinsically without outside motivation to continue each day slowly one at a time. By breaking tasks into little, we can easily motivate ourselves to do them. It feels less burdensome and more attainable reading a paragraph from now than reading the whole book during exam time. When things become overwhelming, we can remind ourselves that we don’t have to do everything at once and do only one thing at a time.

  1. Looking for ways to do things

 Doing things does not have to be boring and we don’t have to be lenient on ourselves as well. For it is apparent that when we are given choice, we would rather not do the work. Whereas when we start looking for ways to do it, we can find the way where we can do it more comfortably. For instance, we can clean while we are listening to music. We can study while walking. There are so many ways to do things and we can always look for ways to do it. We can create elaborate plans on how we will do things, we can create  to-do lists. We can do tasks alongside our friends. We can be organized. The list is endless. 

One important tip that has helped me to do things is definitely by setting deadlines for myself. I tell myself, I have to read this by the next week before the assigned clinical posting. If I fail to do this, I will not be able to  understand the procedure well. So, I rush to do it. I also do the same to maintain my activity level. I have a tracker in my phone. If I hadn’t walked the required target of the day, I pace around my room heavily before sleep to meet it. I also do the same for writing blogs.

In other areas of life, I never leave dishes for the next day. I will rather stay late, but I wash it the same day. I also do other various chores beside studying regularly in a gap or two if I am unable to do it daily. This way I procrastinate a lot time less than previously.

Thus, we can set a realistic target and deadline and look for ways to do things. We can remind ourselves it doesn’t have to be perfect but it has to be done.  

  1. Blending with environment

I love this tip a lot and I apply myself often as I blend doing work with the timing of the environment. I do chores more often and more easily these days as a result of it. What it means is that when we finish one task or when we are appearing to do one task, we can link another task simultaneously after it. For instance, we can brush our teeth immediately after our meal or take a walk immediately after a meal or read the case that was discussed, the same day after returning home. We can get creative and apply it ourselves. Like paying bills the same day, we received it. The next time you go to the kitchen to fill up your water bottle, clean the dishes that you have left. The next time you are watching your favorite series, make sure to walk while watching it. That way, tasks won’t be piled up. 


  1. Efforts accumulate

Efforts accumulate in the end no matter how small it appears for now. We may not believe doing a simple thing as reading a page or paragraph will change but it does. A drop after a drop makes an ocean. A step after a step, makes a mile.Our mind trick us into thinking “Go big or go home” but we don’t have to put enormous effort at once nor do we have to retire fast if we aren’t able to put in the desired effort. Each and every effort counts because in the end it accumulates.Therefore, let’s give into putting a small effort instead of postponing it. 

How to beat procrastination: 10 ways to beat procrastination

  1. Taking breaks


Most of the time, the reason we procrastinate is because the task at hand doesn’t provide us with the same joy instantly. So we give in to things that give us a dopamine rush instantly like checking social media, watching movies. Reading, studying and even exercising take time and it doesn’t yield results immediately so we tend to avoid it and pursue things that give us this feel good hormone dopamine. Due to this, what we can do is to mix what we have to do with breaks in between. That way, we won’t get burnt out too. And taking breaks makes doing tasks at hands pleasurable too.

 I often use the Pomodoro technique as I have stated in my previous articles.  In this technique we divide doing a task into a 25 minute session by setting a timer and doing only that task at that time. After the timer is over, we give ourselves a 5 minute break. After the break ends, we continue for another 25 minute. This way after 4 sessions, we take a half an hour break. We can modify it according to our wish like a 45 minute session and 15 minute break. By incorporating break in between, we still are giving ourselves rest and dopamine in spite of doing tasks.That way, it also breaks the monotonicity of doing tasks only. Life is not about working always either. 

  1. I will do it

I fall into traps of procrastination myself. I feel like it has drastically reduced from before but still I do procrastinate at times. The same waiting for the perfect scenario happens and I don’t do things eventually. I tell myself I can’t do this, I am feeling tired. I am feeling down. But these days whenever I find myself telling so I tell myself, I am feeling down but I will do it anyway. I get up and do it eventually. And trust me I feel a lot better once I start doing it than when I didn’t. I don’t push myself to limit every day by doing huge thing. What I mean to say is that even simple things feel burdensome during days like that. But saying I will do it anyway despite feeling emotions lessens the burden. I get to do tasks and my feelings are lessened as well. Next time, when we start procrastinating even simple things, we can remind ourselves we will do it no matter what we feel.

  1. There is no right order

“I will do this after doing this. I will do this after watching a movie. I will do this tomorrow. I can only do this after I do this.” 

We tell so many things to ourselves that our mind gets puzzled whenever we have to do something. We ultimately give into temptations with reasons but deep down our mind never stops nagging at us. Neither can we watch the movie in peace nor are we able to start what we have to do. So in times of conflict, we can remind ourselves that there is no right order to do things. We can rather do it in no particular right order. And the best order we can create is separating time between when we have to work and when we have to relax. We don't have to work whole day as our mind says. We don't have to rest whole day as our heart says. Instead we can segregate time spent on them and do them in their own time. That way, we don’t have to hear our mind nagging at us and the feeling of having guilt because of it.

  1. It isn't as hard as it seems

As we begin doing things, we realise it isn’t as hard as we had felt before starting. Most of the time, it is like that. We don’t need as much time and effort that we thought before. If we track our time, we can realise it is completed in less time than we initially thought it would take. Thus, all we need to do now is to believe in thoughts that it is not as hard as it seems and we can do it. 

  1. There is joy in doing

When we start doing things, we will realise it is fun working. We realise it is possible for us to do work, to complete tasks, to do what we want. We begin seeing ourselves as someone who does. Someone who is capable of doing. So we feel joy in doing it. We feel at peace too when we do things that we didn’t think we would do. There is so much joy in the process. Even top athletes believe in loving the process more than the result. So, we can love our works, we can love what we are doing instead of only being fixated at how good the result will bring. Life is a journey indeed not a destination. And to make the most out of the journey, we can love ourselves from wherever we are right now and do what we want to do with whatever we have.

To sum up, stopping procrastination can be hard when our natural tendency is to lay around without doing anything. But beating procrastination  is definitely easy. For that, we can jump into doing things before we start believing that we can do it. That way the more we do, the more we realise we aren’t lazy as we think we are. For even the most hardworking person procrastinates sometimes.

I hope this helps you. You can do this. I will be rooting for you. I have written a similar article on productivity How to be productive in quarantine in more detail than this article.You can go through it if it helps you. But as your friend, I will tell you to do your thing first, then only do other things. Thank you. Take care. Until next time.

How to beat procrastination: 10 ways to beat procrastination