How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Work

Day after day, your work is piling up, not necessarily because you have too much on your plate, but because you keep procrastinating on your work.

Your list of pending tasks nags you nonstop. But for whatever reason, you just can’t get yourself to tackle those tasks. Instead, you procrastinate.

Perhaps you feel incompetent when performing parts of your work, and just the thought of tackling these tasks repels you.

Perhaps part of your work is simply mentally and emotionally taxing, and this dissuades you from tackling your work.

Perhaps the appeals of your distractions of choice are simply too hard to resist, and instead of beginning your work, you waste time on fun but unproductive activities.

Gaining insight as to why you procrastinate on your work can help you beat procrastination. You may be procrastinating on your work for more than one reason. The more you know about the “strategies” procrastination uses to keep you away from your work, the better equipped you are to fight back.

Whatever the reasons, you now realize that procrastination charges a hefty price, and you want to do something about it.

That you’ve come to realize that procrastination isn’t serving you is a big step in the right direction. In fact, the first step to fostering positive change in your life is becoming aware (and admitting) that something needs to change.

The Cure

I’ve said this many times on this blog: the simple cure to procrastination is action. “Action” is your weapon of choice against procrastination. This may sound simplistic, but it’s not. In fact, when you realize that the cure you’re looking for is “action”, the question becomes, how do you get yourself to take action?

There are many answers to that question. However, out of all the possible answers, you have to find out which ones work for you.

For some people taking a minuscule step forward helps them beat procrastination. Once they’ve broken inertia and are in motion, they tend to stay in motion. All they need is to take the first step and off they go. So they commit to working on their project for, say, 10 minutes. And after one hour of work, they realize that it wasn’t that hard after all.

For others, having incentives motivates them to act. They say things like, “When I complete the outline for my report, I’ll treat myself to ice cream.” They know that ice cream is a powerful enough incentive to get them moving. As well, they know they won’t break their promise to themselves by eating ice cream without doing the outline for their report. Hence, this strategy works for them.

Yet others, need accountability to tackle the work. They need someone watching over their shoulder and holding them accountable. If they know that, after lunch, a colleague will ask them about the project, they’ll make sure they have something of value to show to their colleague; they don’t want to disappoint.

Having daily targets helps some people. For example, to write a book, they don’t think in terms of “writing a book” because it would be overwhelming and cause them to procrastinate. Instead, they commit to writing one page a day for 6 months, and “voilà”. Breaking this daunting goal in daily targets helps them beat their tendency to procrastinate on writing.

The list goes on.

As with many areas of your personal development, procrastination requires that you figure out what strategies set you in motion; a strategy that works for one may not be as effective for the other. From my experience, having a number of strategies that you can apply depending on your the situation works best. Like having a toolbox, you can use what you need based on the context. The strategies I have mentioned above are a good place to start.

One more thing. Remember to note the activities and conditions that cause you to lose your battle against procrastination. When you know what these are, you can protect yourself from their insidious effects.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.