5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Being Productive

author Kerensa Johnson, December 19, 2016

Do you find you spend more time procrastinating than actually getting on with things? You’re not alone. A reported 20% of people procrastinate regularly, having a significant impact on both their personal and professional lives. And despite initial perceptions, procrastination is not caused simply by laziness. More often that not, procrastination is the effect of anxiety, a fear of failure, or the overwhelming desire for perfectionism.

So what can be done? Try our 5 tips below to help keep procrastination at bay, and increase productivity.

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5 ways to beat the procrastination bug

1) Understand why you’re procrastinating

Knowing the reason behind your procrastination will help you understand how to tackle it. Putting off a project because you don’t understand the specifications, and avoiding a report because it will take ages to finish, are completely different, and will need to be approached as such. Assessing the problem will put you in a good position for finding a solution.

2) Write a to-do list

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, take a breather and write everything down. Use a notebook, Post-It, or an online to-do list to organise your thoughts and concerns. Not only will this help alleviate the anxiety by offloading thoughts into tangible tasks, ticking off each item as you complete them will create a great sense of accomplishment.

3) Break it down into bite-size chunks

That massive project you need to do isn’t going to get any smaller! Take back some control instead, and break down big tasks into manageable chunks. Working in this way is straight out of the Agile textbook, a proven project management methodology that aims to help you work smarter and respond to change.

4) Set yourself some realistic goals

Now that you have some bite-size tasks to get your teeth into, organise these based on priorty and set yourself some realistic deadlines. Nothing will feed procrastination more than feeling like you have a ton of work to get done by tomorrow; so set regular deadlines for smaller pieces of work, so that you can quickly and efficiently chip away at that big project.

5) Reward progress and think positive

Create a reward system which reinforces positivity whenever you achieve your goals. This will build an incentive to keep ticking off your task list, whether you treat yourself to a pint at the end of the week, or simply a chocolate biscuit.