How to Stop Procrastinating

Stop Procrastinating and Get Everything Done Without Wasting Your Precious Time

How to stop procrastinating

Is it difficult for you to do everything you have planned, are you missing exams, deadlines?

Sometimes, by the time you start the task, it’s already late – the stress is too high, and you can’t focus.

Regularly, you wake up in the morning and do remember your to-do list. Yet, instead of start working, you tend to do all the rest. You start from checking your emails.

Messaging and commenting under the post in the Facebook group. Also, you think about postponing things during the day.

Welcome to the club! You are procrastinating.
And procrastination is dangerous.

If you don’t stop procrastinating, you could fail at work. Your boss could fire you.
More than that, your procrastination is affecting your family members, including your kids.

Do you want to risk your life, destroy your kid’s life, feel embarrassed and stressed all the time?

Of course, not!
You can stop procrastinating and even use it for your benefit.
Here is how to stop it.

Let’s jump in.

1. Observe Yourself and Determine the Hierarchy

Observation is an essential skill. Especially when you want to find out the reason for your behaviour. It’s the first step of the scientific method.

Devote some time and observe your behaviour. You need to determine the hierarchy – in your mind, what is on the top of your to-do list and what is on the bottom. From all the things you have in your to-do list the one you are avoiding/delaying to do is the one on the bottom.

It’s the most difficult, unpleasant, boring, big or new task. Meaning it needs most of your effort (mental or physical) and most of your precious time.

What to do next to stop procrastinating?

2. USE procrastination to Get Things Done

The truth is, you can use procrastination to get more things done. Let’s take a look.

There is such a term as ‘productive procrastination’. The term was introduced first by the psychologist Piers Steel (2007). Productive procrastination means that while avoiding a big task, you will do tasks which you typically put off.

Remember the to-do list?
You will do all the tasks from the hierarchy while avoiding the one which is on the bottom – the hardest one.

Sounds familiar?
You are not alone, and it’s normal. Here is how to use this.
Trick your mind and get everything done!
Surprisingly, you will be motivated to do every task from your to-do list to avoid/delay the last difficult task.

TIP: You know what, do your to-do list. Yet, assign the last task to someone else. Yes! You can find someone who would love to do it, you can suggest doing something which is easy for you instead. Win-win situation. Little cooperation do not harm!
Let’s jump to number 3.

3. DO procrastinate!

Because studies on stress have shown that:
– Most people are less effective under the intense stress
– Most people are more effective under moderate stress

Usually, you have moderate stress several days just before the deadline.

So, don’t lose your precious time – do procrastinate, do something more important before.

TIP: Don’t start too late when the stress levels are so high you can’t finish it on time.

4. What to Do if the Task is Boring?

How to stop procrastinating when you have boring tasks on your to-do list? A task is boring if it’s very easy or not interesting for you. Unfortunately, very often we need to do boring tasks and sometimes spend much time on them too.

You can defeat the boredom!

Combine boring with fun or pleasant. Here is my example. When I was at secondary school I liked maths very much. But, because it was easy for me, it was boring to spend half an hour sitting and completing maths tasks.

So, I would combine maths with snacks – I would write with my right hand and eat sweet corn puffs with my left hand. You can combine boring easy tasks with puffs, seeds, crisps, fruits. Whatever is reinforcing for you, something you already love doing.

5. What to Do When the Task is Unpleasant or Difficult?

Some tasks are unpleasant. Even aversive. Examples are bathroom cleaning, diaper changing. It could be a task which contains an intensive physical exercise.

How to encourage yourself here? Let’s take a look.

You need to do three things:
– Remove as much as a possible aversion
– Add as much pleasure as possible
– Add some importance to this task

Let’s start by removing aversion – put gloves first.
Congratulations – you are halfway through!
You can also remove all chemicals. In the case of bathroom cleaning of other home chores, use natural products instead.

Tasks could have another difficulty, which will make you less productive. Being unproductive is another reason for procrastination. Get some tools. Could be a sponge with handle and little brushes. You need to increase your effectiveness to decrease procrastination.

Now, it’s time to add something pleasant to the process.
Music, listen to your favourite singer. You will finish everything in no time.

What about adding importance?

Very often, when you have much mental work to do, you need rest. You can take rest from mental task and do a physical task.
Of course, the best ideas come while you are walking. But, sometimes, you can have new ideas even when you are doing chores. The brilliant ideas that don’t come to your mind when you are sitting in front of the computer.

Another way of adding importance to the boring or aversive tasks is to start thinking about them as an exercise which benefits your health. In particular, if you are trying to lose weight.

6. How to Deal with Academic Procrastination

It’s difficult to stop procrastinating as a student.

When I started studying psychology at the Panteion University in Athens, my Greek was not so good. Of course, I couldn’t understand everything from the begging. I couldn’t be a good student as I used to be at my secondary school.

Yet, I didn’t want to fail. The problem here is that the goal is too big, and the resources are too low – the ultimate stress situation! What shall you do here?

I was stuck and needed some help!

Now, the best thing that comes to my mind is Richard Branson’s tweet:

‘I am known around the Virgin Group as Dr Yes. As I usually answer yes to any exciting new ideas, then worry about the details later.’

For me, Richard Branson is an excellent example of a self-confident person. He knows that he can find a way even if the idea is new and nobody had done it before!

I was not like him when I started University.

Fortunately, help came very soon. It was my second semester when our Social Psychology professor talked to us about the study on learned helplessness among students and how to deal with this (the professor knew very well how we felt, I guess!).

Scientists in the study gave participants easy tasks first. The tasks they could complete themselves with little effort. After, researchers slowly increased the difficulty of the tasks.

Being able to complete the tasks increased the confidence of the participants. As a result, by using this approach, all tasks (difficult and easy) were accomplished.

‘That’s it!’, I thought, ‘I know now what to do!’

I started studying with easy for me subjects, the ones I already knew, like statistics (maths). Some subjects were complicated. So, I had left them for the last year when my confidence was already very high.

The advice here is, relax. Don’t have big expectations from the begging. Start with something easy, interesting, something you already know. Build your confidence. Also, get help whenever you need it, especially from the beginning.

TIP: The biggest problem, though, is the stress during the exams. You can use different techniques to relax.

For example, a good way to relax and go to sleep is thinking of all the things and people in your life you are grateful for.

Yet, the best thing is not to get stressed during the exams in the first place. Here is the trick. Instead of spending less time with your friends during the exams, spend more time with them.

In particular, more exams you have, spend more time with your friends. Don’t do the opposite.

7. Would Better Sleep Help You to Stop Procrastination?

There is a new study from the University of Amsterdam. Wendelien van Eerde and her colleges conduct it. The research team demonstrated the connection between sleep quality and procrastination.

The poor quality of sleep is leading to more work procrastination the next day. Yet, not everyone was affected by the sleep quality. Only employees low in trait self-control did.

So, if you sleep better, you will procrastinate less.

And if you are high in trait self-control, congratulations! You will procrastinate less regardless of your quality of sleep!

That’s it.

Take care and
Don’t waste your precious time!

Remember, when you do everything you have planned, you will FEEL GREAT at the end of the day!

(Photo by Carl Heyerdahl/Unsplash)


So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Book Review

How to Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Image of the book So Good They Can't Ignore You

Are you stuck with your career?

You want to have a successful life, but you don’t know how or what to do.

You are wondering why certain people are successful, and you are not.

In the meantime, you don’t know what do you want in life. Wondering what path to follow. Furthermore, all these thoughts make you feel lost, upset and unhappy. 

Are you gonna just watch other people succeed? I must warn you that this will lead to more anxiety and depression.

You need to rediscover your passion. Stop procrastinating and start retaking action again. It’s time for a change!

But, how?

I had the same question before I bought this book on Amazon and read it in 3 days!

Why Should You Read This Book?

The book ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ is written by the professor Cal Newport. It’s a career advice book with practical steps you need to take for having a remarkable career.

What Does Author Mean by ‘so good they can’t ignore you’?

Cal Newport says your skills must be way higher than acceptable. You must be perfect, ’so good they can’t ignore you’. Additionally, you need to find a mission. Then, finally, you will feel confident and happy.

Does It Have Scientific Terminology Which is Difficult to Understand?

No, the author uses several terms in this book. Some of them Cal Newport created himself to explain his method better. For example, craftsman mindset, career capital, dream-job elixir.

Is the Author’s Advice Difficult to Follow?

No, there are only 4 rules to remember:

Rule 1 – Don’t follow your passion.

Rule 2 – Make sure you have excellent skills in what you choose to do.  This takes practising your skills every day.

Rule 3 – Take control/freedom of your life.

Rule 4 – Find a mission in your life after you have enough skills, when you are ‘so good they can’t ignore you’.

Does the Author Support his Method with Enough Evidence?

Cal Newport uses a lot of research and case studies of successful people. By the way, some of them he interviewed himself. More than that, he is telling us about changes in his own career life which he made following these 4 rules.

Why is This Book Unique?

First of all, it changes completely the perspective you have about your life and career. Actually, starting from the end (passion) is a huge mistake.

Cal Newport states that the advice ‘find your passion’ or ‘follow your passion’ is not good advice.  He says not to follow your passion. He suggests improving your skills first. Master something and passion will follow.

By the way, this book even helped me to understand my husband better. He loves working hard. I often ask my husband ‘what’s your favourite job?’. He always answers ‘I have done different jobs and I loved them all’. Now I understand what does he mean.

The Ultimate Guide for Your Remarkable Career

The truth is, by the title of this book, you can’t understand how deep is it. I would call this book ‘The Ultimate Guide for Your Remarkable Career’.

It’s a practical book. Gives you step by step guidance which you can use to make the best of your career. And more than that, you can start from the point you are already. You can follow then the next steps necessary for the best career results.

 Above all, this book will organise your career. 

It’s time for action!

It’s your time to shine!

You can have control of your life and career.

When you start following Cal Newport’s advice, you will feel confident about the steps you are taking. The skills you are improving. You will be surprised by new opportunities opening for you.

You will be who you want to be, make money you want to make, have success you want to have. And, what is most amazing,  you will love what you are doing, love yourself and be happy.  

You can find and use the book ‘So good they can’t ignore you’ as an ultimate guide for your new remarkable career.