7 tips to help you stop procrastinating | Alessio Bianchi
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7 tips to help you stop procrastinating

We all know procrastination is an infuriating and destructive character trait, but how do we tackle it? Here are 7 tips to help you stop procrastinating.

Procrastination is so common and difficult to tackle that even people who appear to deal with it well, such as emergency surgeons, fire fighters and military officers, have to train incredibly hard to act without apparent hesitation.

But you probably don’t need to evacuate people from a burning building right now; you might just want to get on with that work project.

1. Consider why you are procrastinating THIS time

There are different reasons we procrastinate, varying between people and even situations: avoidance, over-optimism and thrill-seeking.

When you’re avoiding doing something, it usually means you don’t want to feel bad if you fail. The opposite of this is over-optimism, where you think you have more time than you really do. Then there is thrill-seeking, which is when you get distracted by things you find more interesting.

Generally – if you’re avoiding something – you need to confront your fears and break the job/task into more manageable pieces. Over-optimists need to be more honest about managing their time and expectations realistically. And thrill-seekers need to find pleasure in doing the task itself.

2. Achievable goals help you to stop procrastinating

Once you know why you are procrastinating, you need to identify what your goals are and ensure they’re achievable.

If your goal is to paint your house, then the scale of the goal makes you more likely to procrastinate than paint. But that goal can be broken into progressively smaller pieces until you find your first task is just to buy a new paint brush. Now you’re doing something achievable instead of just thinking about doing something enormous.

3. Make sure you value your goals

Once you’ve got your goals sorted, you need to be clear in your head about why you want to achieve them. If you don’t care about a goal then you’re unlikely to try to achieve it.

For example, when you’re packing for a holiday, your excitement about picking out the perfect clothing and getting it into a single carry-on bag could be the most important motivation. Or you may be focusing on the fact your airline charges a large fee if your luggage is too bulky. It doesn’t matter where the motivation value comes from, as long as it matters to you.

4. Making one small step can help with procrastination

So, now you know why you’re procrastinating, you have manageable goals and you want to achieve them. Your next step is to do anything towards that goal, even the tiniest thing. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

If you’re an avoider, that first step means you’ve done something successful, if you’re an over-optimist then you have one less thing to get done. If you’re a thrill seeker, you can take a little moment to enjoy a small victory.

5. Consider your timeframes: satisfying and maximising

Time is a crucial element to keep in mind when you’re making decisions and worried about procrastinating.

If time is limited, then you may need to take what is called the ‘satisficing’ approach. This means satisfying the minimum requirements to achieve your goal, even if it’s not a perfect solution.

However, if time is less pressing then maximising might be a better option. This means seeking more information and exploring all your options to avoid risks or negative effects.

Both maximising and ‘satisficing’ have advantages and disadvantages. Think about the situation to decide which approach to take.

6. Practice self-control to stop procrastinating

Even if everything else is in place you can still lurch into procrastination if you lack self-control. If this is a problem for you, don’t panic. You can train your brain to be better at this, using some excellent strategies for improving your self-control.

7. Live more consciously

You should now have a pretty good road map for avoiding procrastination, but part of your plan should be constant re-evaluation. You need to understand yourself better to make the lessons permanent.

Living more consciously means thinking more actively, to improve your understanding of your own mind. One way to do this is to practise reflection: take time each evening to look back at your decisions and actions and praise or criticise yourself where appropriate. Doing this can help, because you are training your brain with active feedback.

Whatever you are setting out to do, procrastination need not be an immovable object in your life. Following these steps will help you to stop procrastinating, achieve your goals and live a better life.

Alessio Bianchi is a lifestyle blogger who is passionate about living his best life and helping others to do the same.