7 Simple Ways to Stop Procrastinating

UPDATED: April 2, 2021
PUBLISHED: October 6, 2015
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Are you a procrastinator?

The science of physics recognizes two laws of inertia, both of which can be related to procrastination. No. 1, “Standing objects tend to remain stationary” and No. 2, “Moving objects tend to stay in motion.”

Which one represents you best? And how can you go from “standing” to “moving”?

Try these strategies to stop procrastinating:

1. Take five minutes to list out the things “you were going to do tomorrow.”

On a blank sheet of paper, note several important activities you are delaying or have put on hold.

2. Look at your list—and do one thing on it right now.

Put the energy you’ve been directing toward excuses into the activity you’ve been avoiding. Action eliminates anxiety.

3. Pick a time (today) to work on the list.

If getting started is the hard part for you, set aside a designated time slot, at least 30 minutes, for work specifically on one job, project or personal goal that you’ve been “leaving until later.”

4. Quit trying to be perfect.

What counts is quality of effort, not perfect results. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with a preoccupation for perfectionism.

5. If what you’re putting off involves other people, talk to them.

Your reasons for delaying action might be imaginary. Lack of communication often turns molehills into mountains.

6. Ask yourself, What’s the worst thing that could happen if I did this today?

Do you fear the consequences associated with the action you’ve been avoiding? The worst-case scenario most likely would be a minor inconvenience or a temporary setback.

7. Imagine how you’ll feel once you do whatever it is you’ve been postponing.

Freedom from anxiety. Freedom from nagging pressures. Freedom from self-doubt. Accomplishing put-off tasks will give you a great boost of confidence and energy.

Did you know procrastination can be a good thing, when used strategically? Check out 6 tips to be a productive procrastinator.