Make Procrastination Harder

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

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One of the ways to get more things done is to simply make it harder to procrastinate. There are tricks that you can use to help your mindset work for you instead of against you. It helps if you understand what you’re supposed to do and the expectations of the project, as well as your own personality.


* Outline the Entire Project – The only way to set a realistic deadline is to totally understand everything that needs to be done for the final result to be complete. It doesn’t matter if the project involves building a website, writing a business plan, or losing weight. Outline all the steps that it takes to get to the end result.


* Understand the Scope of the Project – If outside parties are involved, you need to ensure that you understand the full scope of the project. Learn to ask the right questions so that you can get a complete understanding of the final result of the project.


* Know What Resources You Need - Once you get all the information, you can determine what resources you need. Will you need outside help? What will their timeline be? How does that affect yours?


* Set Smaller Mini Goals with DeadlinesThis is one of the most important aspects of any deadline. Don’t just set a due date for the project; set mini goals with deadlines, for each aspect of the project. For example, if you are a writer who wants to finish an 80,000 word young adult novel, how much can you realistically write in a day? Do you really want to write every single day? Be realistic; set a deadline to write 500 words a day three days a week from 7 pm until 10 pm each evening, skipping your Thursday must-see TV night.


* Determine When, Where, and HowIf you have everything set up and you know when you’ll do it, exactly where it will happen and what tools you’ll use to do it, it’s more than likely you’re going to do it. Don’t leave things to chance. Have contingencies. What will I do if the power goes out? If there is an emergency, how will I flip my schedule?


* Look at Your Schedule Every Night and Every Morning – Even if you set up reminders for yourself, it’s a good practice to check your schedule each morning and each night. Check off what you did each day so that you feel accomplished. Remind yourself of what you’re doing tomorrow as the last act of work for the day.


* Do Other Things on Your List – When there is a task that you have scheduled but you really just do not want to do that right now, and it’s not imperative that it be done that moment, you can flip your schedule. Find something else to do on the list. Even if you leave that one thing you hate doing last, and do it by day’s end, you still succeeded.


* Understand Yourself – A final thing that you must know to make procrastination harder is the truth about yourself. If you find that you’re actually sabotaging yourself and missing deadlines, and it's causing problems in your life, perhaps it’s time to seek help from a counselor or a life coach.


It’s important that you know yourself and your personality type. Some personality types are more impulsive than others and are prone to not wanting to do things that seem to be low in value. But, using these tips can help you make procrastination harder. And even if you procrastinate on certain tasks, at least you’re still doing something productive. You’re still moving forward.