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4 Essential Habits to Help You Overcome Procrastination

4 Essential Habits to Help You Overcome Procrastination

This blog was written by Jackie Steinmetz, owner of Accelity Marketing, for startupsavant.com—read the original blog here.

Everyone procrastinates at one point or another. What separates the truly productive people from the unproductive is the former's ability to finish all of their important tasks by the end of the day. For entrepreneurs, or anyone else in the workforce, productivity is key. The results of procrastination are not fun, so it’s important to avoid it at all costs! Here are four habits that will help you overcome procrastination.


Set deadlines.

If you’re not given a strict deadline, set one yourself and stick with it. Never save anything for the last minute, because it will only cause unnecessary stress. Still fear procrastination will get the best of you? Go a step further.

If you’ve ever read my blogs before, you already know that I’m obsessed with a handy little app called Todoist. I’m known to say, “if it’s not in Todoist, it doesn’t get done.”

Here’s how I use it: If a task takes less than two minutes, do it immediately. If it takes more than two minutes, it goes in Todoist. I set myself multiple reminders as soon as I take on a new project. If I have weeks to accomplish a task, I set a recurring reminder once or twice a week to force myself to check in. If I have two days to finish a project, I start it that day and put it on my list every day until it’s due. As always, when implementing a new system, it’s important to go ALL OUT. Use your system to the fullest extent or you’ll eventually abandon it because it simply won’t work.


Remove all distractions.

Another way to combat procrastination is to remove all potential distractions. And while these distractions take different forms for different people, once identified and removed the likelihood of productivity is greatly increased.

For some of us this may be difficult. Maybe you work from home and the laundry is piling up and your dog wants you to take him out every six minutes. Distractions such as these are difficult to combat but there are ways around them. Try switching up your schedule: wake up 15 minutes earlier for two days, then 15 minutes earlier than that. Eventually, you’ll likely find that those silent morning hours are your most productive. Shut yourself in a room and don’t allow yourself to leave. Use a Pomodoro Timer to set specific times that you work, specific times to email, and specific times to check Twitter (Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/etc.).


Complete easy tasks first.

So you have an overwhelmingly long list of tasks that needs to get done before the end of the day. Try reorganizing this list by the simplest task to the most difficult. Of course the list is the same length as it was before, but you will start to notice that as you complete more tasks you will gain more and more momentum and it will make it easier to complete that daunting task that you’ve been avoiding for so long.

Still not enough? Try breaking your tasks into multiple smaller lists so that the list itself will not seem so overwhelming. Completing one list will give you a sense of accomplishment and that may be just what you need to complete each of those more time consuming tasks.

If this doesn’t work, try to opposite—swallow that frog. Organize your list to put your hardest task first and then swallow the frog. Get it out of the way. The rest of your day will be a piece of cake.


Change the scenery.

About a year ago, while working with a small Milwaukee-based startup to launch their website, I was introduced to the idea of “don’t come into work days.” An off-site location was chosen and each team member would then travel to the location and complete all of their work for the day at that location. It was a great way to shake things up and bring a little more energy to the team. It is something that I now use with my own team when energy levels start to dwindle.

Finally, remember this: everyone has the same amount of time in a day. What you choose to do with your time will ultimately define your level of success.


Did I miss anything? Let me know how you fight procrastination in the comment section below.


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