5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating Now

In Mindset by Jamie TurnerLeave a Comment

Would you like to learn how to stop procrastinating? Is procrastination holding you back from accomplishing everything you want in your career?

If so, stick around, because I’ll show you 5 science-based techniques you can use to stop procrastinating today.

Let’s start by unpacking why you procrastinate in the first place.

One reason people procrastinate is because they believe that motivation leads to action.

In other words, you believe you have to feel a sense of urgency before you can actually start working.

Actually, the reverse is true – motivation doesn’t lead to action. Instead, action leads to motivation.

By taking action, even when you don’t feel like it, a sense of motivation and energy will eventually take over and propel you forward.

That’s what happens for me when I write my books. Do I want to go back into my office after dinner to start writing another chapter?

Of course not. I’d much rather hang out with my family instead.

But I’m also devoted to sharing my knowledge and experience with others in books, videos, blogs, and other channels. So … rather than waiting to be motivated to walk back into my office, I force myself to open the Word document and write a first paragraph.

Invariably, by the end of the first paragraph, I’m feeling better. And by the end of the second paragraph, I’m feeling even better. And by the end of the third, I’m off to the race.

Another reason some people procrastinate is that they grew up in a household with a lot of chaos.

The theory is that people who grew up in chaos store their energy in anticipation of a new round of chaos. In other words, they train themselves into inaction as a way to have the energy for more chaos later in the day.

It takes a little bit of effort to work your way out of that dynamic, but by understanding the source, you’ll be able to deal with it better moving ahead.

If you’re really interested in solving the problems that come with a chaotic childhood, you might consider discussing it with a trained counselor. I’ve had a number of excellent counselors in my life and they’ve been amazingly helpful to me over the years.

Okay, let’s move on to 5 ways you can avoid procrastination, many of which I came across on an excellent blog post on the Science of People website.

Tip #1: Create a NOT to do list.

This is a counter-intuitive idea, but it can be a game-changer.

Your list can include things like:

• Do not open your emails

• Do not read your texts

• Do not check social media

• Do not … well, fill in the blank. By creating a NOT to do list, you can minimize the sideways energy that goes into unproductive tasks.

Tip #2: Work in 90 minute sprints

The U.S. Army conducted research that indicates people have more focus and energy when they work in 90-minute sprints followed by 15- or 20-minute breaks.

When you work in a 90-minute sprint, you’re able to stay focused, work quickly, and then reward yourself with a 15-minute break.

Tip #3: Go public with your goal

This is one that I learned from Tony Robbins who said that one of the best ways to stay motivated is to have an accountability partner.

Your accountability partner can be anyone who will hold you to your task.

I’ve found that my best accountability partners are people who I would be embarrassed to fail in front of. That might be a former boss, or a family member, or anyone who can motivate me on both a conscious and sub-conscious level.

Tip #4: Find out when you do your best work

A study by Jennifer Ackerman found that our brains are most alert 2 and a half to 4 hours after waking up.

This is the time of day when your brain is on steroids and doing its best work.

A lot of people do menial tasks when they first get to the office – they clean out their inbox, they get organized, they do things that don’t move the ball forward.

But those first precious hours are your best – so do your most important work earlier in the day. By doing so, you’ll get more done in less time.

Tip #5: Tie your to do list to your dreams

When we write down something on our to do list, it can feel like a burden.

For example, “write today’s blog post” or “finish the report” can seem like a pain in the *ss.

But studies show that when we tie a goal to a dream, we’re more likely to complete it. In other words, instead of thinking about writing a blog post as a to do item, think of it as the first step towards a bigger dream.

For example, writing the blog post will lead to a bigger following which will lead to more speeches which will lead to more revenue which will lead to more time with your family, trips abroad, or whatever.

By connecting your to do items to a dream, it’s much easier to get off your rear end and get started on things.

Final Thoughts

The starting point for getting past your procrastination is to understand the source of it. Once you’ve tried to wrap your mind around what the cause is, you can put these tips into place to kick start your way out of it.

If you’re interested in more tips like these, be sure to check out my YouTube channel which has been listed as one of the top 10 business YouTube channels in the nation by Wishpond.

About the Author: Jamie Turner is an internationally recognized author, university professor, and management consultant who speaks about leadership, persuasion, and marketing at events and conferences around the globe. He is a regular guest on CNN and HLN, where he delivers segments on marketing, persuasion, and leadership. Jamie is the co-author of several essential business books, including How to Make Money with Social Media, Go Mobile, and An Audience of One.  

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