This article is for all of you, who love to do things ,,tomorrow”. Don’t worry, I was one of them and if I can do it you can do it too! At the age of 17 my procrastination level was pretty high. I postponed all the things I had to do, over and over again.
Reflecting on this time of my life, I found the reason why I just couldn’t get anything done right away. I was simply overwhelmed with all those major decisions I had to make, like choosing a university, define my future-self, moving out for the first time and so much more. All those things piled up and scared me a lot. I didn’t know what to do first and especially how to do it. For the first time in my life, I was on my own. I signed my first contract for a flat, first contract for electricity, water, TV and so much more. The whole responsibility frightened me. I had unopened letters, invoices, appointments that I missed and deadlines. The situation really made me sick and was constantly on my mind, 24/7.
At some point, I finally decided to start somewhere and asked for help. Together with a friend I organized all the stuff that piled up over the months, and guess what? At the end, it wasn’t as bad as I thought!
That’s when I realized that it wasn’t the tasks itself that made me feel so bad, it was the procrastination and the over-thinking that caused those bad feelings.
In most of the cases, we ourselves create this feeling of being overwhelmed because we are just too afraid to start. And once you start, might it be the smallest and most unimportant thing in your head, we realize that it is actually not as bad as we thought the whole time. We have to start NOW, so we can sleep better and worry less!
Surely there are a lot of different procrastination levels. The one I described above was clearly a “close-to-lost-cause” level, but also small procrastination has a bad influence on your mindset. Procrastination is a bad habit and you should get rid of it in all areas of your life!
Here is why: You will feel so much better when you know you’re ahead of things, you will always know exactly what to do, you will grow on the difficult tasks you have to get done, you will learn a lot about yourself and develop new skills, you will realize that you always worried way too much – you will feel relieved!
So here are my 8 tips, how to stop procrastinating and start to get your stuff done NOW.
1. Don’t get distracted
I think all of us know this situation: You sit on your desk, finally started with your to-do list and then, suddenly you find yourself on Facebook, YouTube and Co. and you actually have no clue how you got there. Fact is that social media channels like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube are the most common distractions that cost a lot of time and promote procrastination. So if you really want to reach your goals and to-dos you should definitely block all those distractions. Programs like SelfControl are the perfect tool for that. You can define which pages the program should block and for how long. Even if you want to reset it, restart your computer or delete the program- it will block your pages anyway. Super efficient! I highly recommend it if you really want to be productive!
2. Baby Steps
There is a saying that catches the situation very well: “You can not longer see the wood for the trees”. In this case, we feel so overwhelmed with all those tasks on our list that we have no clue where to begin. My tip for you: split your list and tasks into smaller tasks, this way you decrease your Mount Everest of tasks into a smaller, easier to handle package and get less scared and maybe even less overwhelmed.
3. Perfectionism is great – but only in moderation
Often we push tasks to the next day, and then the next and the next, with the only excuse of wanting to do the task in the most perfect way we can. Well, that is a big mistake – let’s be honest, most of the times we end up not doing it at all. A quote helped me to break this bad habit: Done is better than perfect! I think this is really great advice for someone who stands in his own way to get things done. Very simple, but highly effective. Remember this quote next time you are giving the “I-want-to-do-it-perfectly-so-I-will-do-it-tomorrow”-excuse!
4. Do the worst first
Yes, it is as bad as it sounds! To postpone unpleasant tasks generates discomforts and constant restlessness. My tip: Start with the worst task on your list, after you done this one, all the other tasks seem so much easier. And we tend to make those unpleasant tasks much worse in our heads than they actually are. So, start now and get it over with!
5. Ask for help
Often we fail to do tasks because we don’t really know how to do them. We tend to let them fall aside and pile up. My tip: Ask for help! More often than not you have someone in your reach, a friend, family, an expert or your partner, that can help you. Don’t make it harder than it has to be, ask for help!
6. Write a to-do list every night
This tip became one of my daily rituals. Every day before going to bed I sit down and write the to-do list for the following day. Very simple, but helps me a lot. I sleep better knowing that I will start the new day with a clear vision on what to do.
7. Arrange your To-Do´s by priority
Also very simple but effective – arrange your tasks by priority: super urgent, important, less important. Then you start with the super urgent tasks first and work your way till you reach the less important tasks. This way you increase your productivity tremendously and keep your peace of mind. A very good method to stop postponing things. Try it and you will see!
8. Just start
A very common sentence: Oh well , I will do it tomorrow! Take this sentence out of your vocabulary and start NOW. Stop postponing things and get them done today. Even if you start with smallest, least important task on your list, once you start you will feel so much better.
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