5 Tips for Dealing With Procrastination

Messy Table with Blank Note and Tools at workplace Top view

The 2nd week of March is National Procrastination Month. Procrastination impacts us in many ways. It is incredibly draining if we’re ignoring something we don’t want to do, or need to do but for some reason keep putting it off. What could you be doing with that time and energy if you could just get that task off your list? What is holding you back from getting to that project? Here are 5 tips for getting started, dealing with that project, and battling procrastination.

  1. Break it in to small pieces.¬†How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Can you break the project into small pieces? If you just moved and are overwhelmed by boxes, tackle 1 box a day. If you want to get your house organized but don’t have a full weekend (or several), tackle 1 drawer or shelf at a time. Spend 15 minutes a day (or 5 or 10) cleaning something out.
  2. Invite guests over. It’s like setting a deadline. Host a dinner party or a backyard BBQ. Last spring, we hosted a baby shower and used it as an excuse to get a bunch of yard work done. Don’t just stuff everything into a closet. Schedule the time to clean out and find homes for everything.
  3. Find an accountability partner. Do you want to get up and exercise before work 3 times a week? Find a friend to join you. Or report to a friend each time you do it. Your friend can report to you about something he or she is doing and you can support each other through the process. There’s motivation in being responsible to someone else.
  4. Turn it into a game. Put on some music, set a timer, and see how quickly you can get something done. Hate putting away your laundry or cleaning the kitchen? Time yourself and see how fast you can do it. Or listen to a book on tape or your favorite podcast while you’re organizing your closets. Find a way to make it fun and it won’t seem like such a chore.
  5. Tackle a small to-do first. Or, tackle the biggest one. Sometimes I just need a small win before I can get going on other projects. I’ll pick the easiest thing on my list, maybe sending a birthday card to a friend. The satisfaction of crossing something off my list gets me motivated to continue on to bigger projects. Or, I’ll tackle the biggest project on my list. If I just make that phone call I’ve been avoiding or sit down and do the research I need to do, it will remove the stress and mental drain.

What steps can you take today to get past the procrastination and get started on a project?