Okay, let’s be honest here. There’s probably something else you should be doing right now.
You should fix that leaky tap, or kick off your Spanish learning project, or start on that university assignment. You know, the one that’s due tomorrow. At 9:00 am.
Heck, I’ve even been procrastinating on writing this blog post. Pretty ironic, I know.
You’ve probably already tried things like “starting simple,” “breaking it down,” and “keeping yourself accountable” to take down procrastination.
But what you probably don’t know is that many counterintuitive tricks are out there that are even more effective at fighting the problem. So stay with me and procrastinate just a little while longer.
Let’s review seven surprising ways you can break out of procrastination prison.
1. Keep your goals top secret
So you’ve decided to start an exciting new project, something that will truly make your life better, and maybe make other people’s lives better too. Maybe you’re taking on Arabic, learning how to code in Java, or setting up a charity.
What’s the very next thing you want to do after making that decision? You want to tell someone about it.
It seems to make perfect sense. You get to share your excitement with somebody else, and having others in on your plan is sure to keep you accountable, right?
Actually, research has shown that you are less likely to reach your goals if you first broadcast your intentions to other people.
Talking about your goals tricks your brain into thinking that you’ve already accomplished them and reduces the motivation required to actually execute. You get left in a state of procrastination limbo where you feel great about your goals but aren’t actually doing anything about them. The same thing happens when you try visualizing success in your head too.
So keep your goals to yourself, put your head down, and get to it!
2. Don’t make a plan
You’ve probably heard the phrase “fail to plan, plan to fail.”
It sounds very logical. Draw up a nice big roadmap, and it’ll help you navigate your way to success more easily, right? Not quite. Because planning isn’t progress. It’s all too easy to get stuck in the planning stage of a project and never actually get anywhere.
What you want to do instead is simply break into your project. Start somewhere, anywhere.
Pick an entry point and decide on the first task for your project. Break that task down until you have an action you can do right now in under two minutes. Then do it.
When I started learning Mandarin Chinese at the end of last year, I spent ages reading various blog posts, trying to discover the perfect way to learn a language. I’ve actually done this two or three times over the last few years as I’ve started and stopped different language projects.
Even though it might seem like I was making progress and moving toward my goal, I was really just procrastinating by avoiding the important work — actually learning Chinese.
Once I realized this, I stopped and picked whatever method I happened to have on my screen at the time and ran with it.
There is no such thing as a perfect plan. Luckily, you don’t need one. Just find a way in, commit to it, and the rest will follow.
3. Begin your day with something unimportant
A common piece of productivity advice is to start your day with your most important, most urgent, or most difficult task. The rationale is that the rest of your day will feel like a breeze once you get the tough stuff out of the way first. But if you’re anything like me, seeing that big hairy task first up on your to-do list is a little, well, frightening.
So I like to take a different approach.
First, pick off some of the low-hanging fruit from your to-do list. Maybe start by doing some light fiction reading, vacuuming the house, dashing to the bank, and then taking a break by jumping onto Twitter for ten minutes.
At this stage, you’ll feel much more energized and accomplished, and you’ll be able to attack that big scary task with more confidence.
Get some easy wins under your belt first thing. It’ll make the difficult stuff much easier to handle.
4. Focus on having fun first
It’s important to strike a balance in your life where you’re getting stuff done but still having fun. After all:
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”
Here’s an unconventional way to accomplish this.
First, stick all your leisure and social activities into your to-do list and spread those out throughout your day. Then take a break from the fun stuff by doing some work in the middle. For example, I check in with my favorite YouTube channels as a daily leisure checkpoint that I work around during my day.
This is an exciting way of rethinking productivity. You’re less likely to procrastinate because you know your day contains things you enjoy. In addition, you don’t have to feel guilty about having fun because you’ve carefully structured your day to include both work and play.
You can even take this a little further and try something you might not have done before: start your day off with a quick leisure activity to get you going (maybe a 15-minute walk at sunrise or 15 minutes of video gaming) prior to jumping into something unimportant.
5. Make a weekly escape
One of the most common productivity tips you hear is that you should work a little bit on your goals every day. Now, this is certainly not bad advice. Small, consistent action toward your goals is the best path to success.
But you also want to avoid burnout, something not particularly ideal to have if you’re trying to beat procrastination. Luckily, there’s an easy way to do this that I’m sure you’ll love. Take a day off each week.
Choose one day where you’re allowed to do absolutely nothing (mine is Sunday).
Keep those days as clear as possible, and cut yourself away from your projects. It’ll give you time to recharge your batteries and mentally refresh yourself.
This is the perfect day to sleep in, catch up on that novel you’ve been meaning to read, go on a date with your partner, and watch romantic comedies together after dinner.
You’ll start looking forward to your escape day every week, pushing you to perform better, be more efficient, and procrastinate less during the other six days.
6. Be ruthless with your time and energy
A common cause of procrastination is sheer overwhelm.
Many of us are simply trying to juggle too many balls at once. And the inevitable result is that we’ll drop them all. If you have a lot to do, and you simply can’t motivate yourself to do any of it, that’s a sure-fire sign you’re doing too much.
Set boundaries for your time and energy. Re-evaluate all your commitments, and find out which ones you can eliminate. Then pull the trigger and cancel them. It’s scary, and it’s difficult, but it’s oh so liberating.
Nowadays, it’s almost socially unacceptable to say no. I find this really bizarre.
The result is that we say yes to everything to make everyone else happy, and make ourselves miserable in the process. Stop trying to please everyone. It’s an impossible task. You must make yourself happy too.
Be ruthless and start saying no to time-sucking, energy-sapping commitments, and free yourself for more important things.
7. Forgive yourself
Everyone procrastinates. It’s unavoidable. You’ll have times when you just don’t feel like doing anything. And that’s okay. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about it.
Research has shown that people who are kind to themselves after a bout of procrastination are less likely to procrastinate again the next time. I used to be extremely hard on myself when it came to procrastinating.
I’d start the day knowing I needed to do my workout, but I’d keep pushing it off as the day progressed by doing crossword puzzles or watching cat videos instead. I’d get to the end of the day and only start working out at 11:00 pm, or not do it at all. And I’d hate myself for it.
The next day, I’d still feel guilty about it and wouldn’t feel good at all about anything else I was doing. It was a vicious cycle. Take a breath. Let it go. The past is in the past.
Forgive yourself and trust that you’ll do better next time.
It’s time to break free
Procrastination is a difficult problem that everyone faces in their lives. And busting out of procrastination prison isn’t easy.
But think about what happens if you don’t. Think about what happens if you stayed stuck in there forever without making that daring prison escape.
Think about how you’d be feeling a month, a year, five years from now. You’d wish that you’d done the hard yards today so you could be that much closer to your goals tomorrow.
Get out there, get things done, and achieve the things you want to achieve. The world is waiting for you to do amazing things.
Don’t let everyone down. And most importantly, don’t let yourself down.
20 Science-Backed Ways to Stay Motivated (Infographic)
Motivation is something we all strive to have, but can also be one of those feelings that’s hard to keep. Whether we’re attempting to reach a new fitness goal or trying to stay motivated in our role at work, sometimes that motivation just isn’t there. You feel motivated for a while – you’ll listen to podcasts, read books, keep yourself accountable – but then it’s lost. You feel so much energy at the start, then feel yourself slowly losing that inspiration. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. (more…)
How To Create Everlasting Motivation To Achieve Your Goals
If you’d like to learn how to consistently motivate yourself so you can achieve any goal you want, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
People are always waiting for motivation to strike them before they start working on their goals. However, waiting for motivation to come to you before you start working is an unreliable method if you want to consistently work on achieving your goals. (more…)
8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About These 4 Motivation-Boosting Techniques?
If you’d like to learn how to increase your motivation so you can get more done during the day, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
How many times have you heard the questions: “What drives you” or “What excites you?” These questions may come from well-meaning people but they make one problematic assumption – Our motivation depends on something external. As a result, instead of actively building structures that motivate, we find ourselves aimlessly looking for some outside factors that will motivate us. Instead of asking: “What motivates me?” We should be asking, what am I doing to remain motivated? The answer to this question lies in the doing, not motivation itself. (more…)
3 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know to Grow Their Business
Acceptance is the Key to Resiliency and Success
10 Things Holding You Back And How to Take Control of Them
How to Appreciate Life and Not Just Exist in It
7 Ways to Declutter Your Personal Health
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Entrepreneurs3 weeks ago
7 Inspiring Lessons Colonel Sanders Can Teach Us About Entrepreneurship
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
8 Questions to Ask and Answer Before Saying Yes to a Good Idea
- Life3 weeks ago
Here’s a Morning Routine That Will Make You Unstoppable
- Life4 weeks ago
How to Stay Happy in the Hustle
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
Why Wellbeing is the Single Most Important Skill for Your Personal and Professional Success
- Life4 weeks ago
Is The Glass Half Empty? How Affirmations Change Your Brain
- Life4 weeks ago
7 Simple Strategies to Increasing Mindfulness in as Little as 30 Seconds
- Life3 weeks ago
Here’s Why We Fall Into Self Sabotage When Things Are Going So Well