3 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

How do you overcome procrastination?

I get asked this question often. All of us have stared down the road of procrastination. Usually we procrastinate because we either don’t want to do an unpleasant task or we fear it. Whatever the reason, procrastination never ends with us feeling great. So, how can we overcome it?

overcome procrastinationOvercome Procrastination With Baby Steps

Sometimes that mountain just seems way too tall to climb, doesn’t it? How great would it feel to just shift to something else for a while and let the climb wait until you’re ‘feeling it’ more?

Yep, been there, done that avoidance plan and it’s never turned out great for me.

Here’s a better solution to overcome procrastination: Work in small doses. Set a timer for ten minutes and do as much as you can in those ten minutes. Guaranteed, you’ll run over the ten minutes and not even realize it. Soon, you’ll be standing on top of that mountain looking down with pride whispering ‘that’s how you overcome procrastination!’

Overcome Procrastination by Starting Something Today

Let’s face it – who really enjoys cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, and folding clothes more than enjoying a game on TV, reading a book, or hanging with a friend? We all have these annoying things that must be done. The more we procrastinate doing them, the more they pile up and create more work.

A trick to get through it: Set up a schedule for such necessary, mundane tasks and just do the work that needs to be done. The famous phrase that answers how to overcome procrastination comes to mind, ‘Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.’

Overcome Procrastination by Pacing Yourself

I’ve been that silly runner who has entered into 5K and 10K road races at a pace much too fast for my own good only to end up at the first mile marker defeated in a heap of cramps and panting like a buffoon. Proper planning prevents poor performance. This is the case in road races and in most all facets of life. Pacing sets us up for success.

Here’s how to pace to overcome procrastination:

When faced with a large looming project, instead of suffering needless anxiety and retreating from it, set up goals that are paced realistically. Be consistent with pacing and follow through. Before long, the task is complete and you’re free to enjoy the next challenge.

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Here’s a question… please chime in with your comments and answers: In what ways have you been able to overcome procrastination?

8 replies
  1. Alice Chan, Ph.D.
    Alice Chan, Ph.D. says:

    Nice post, Suzie. Yes, we often get psyched out by how big a project is. What I like to say–and did in my book–is to think of breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. Moving a mountain can scare anyone off, but moving a few rocks at a time–which adds up to the mountain eventually–is doable for anyone. Having a plan of action to take these bite-sized actions is key, as you’ve proposed above. Thank you for writing about this important topic that everyone can relate to.

    Reply
    • Suzie Carr
      Suzie Carr says:

      Hi Alice, Thanks for commenting on this post. Love the concept of bite-sized chunks. It reminds me those moments in life when I’m trying to get through something and I say to myself, “come on, you can last 5 more minutes. You can do most anything for 5 minutes.”

      Reply
  2. Allan
    Allan says:

    I learned the hard way. When I was in college, I had one class where the whole grade was one term paper. One night I was home and called someone and asked what happened in class and was told people were having each other read their second drafts of their paper. In the meanwhile, I hadn’t even started doing research. I went back to college that night and for the next three weeks (the ones before finals) I was in the library every waking moment. I managed to pull it off with luck.
    Since then, I learned time is something you may not need but will never get back. That cured me of procrastinating.

    Reply
  3. Jon M
    Jon M says:

    Suzie, Pacing is so essential! In running, I also learned this important lesson. If you start too fast, you will tire out too fast. If you start to slow, then you have un-expended energy that could have helped produce a better result. We need to determine the right pacing to get started and keep working through the goals and mission at hand. Great reminders and lessons here, so thank you! Jon

    Reply
    • Suzie Carr
      Suzie Carr says:

      Hi Jon, it’s all about the pacing, isn’t it?! Just like in a race, pace is key and will determine if you’ll cross that finish like or not. Reminds me of those early road races when I used to start out like a mad woman, passing people, running like someone was chasing me… only to bend over panting by mile marker one. hehe

      Reply

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