How to Stop Procrastinating: 9 Strategies That Work

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We all have that one thing we are putting off, whether it’s our laundry, assignments, or work. Sometimes we don’t know how to stop procrastinating, and other times it feels impossible. It is easy to get caught up in the cycle of not knowing what to do next, but there are ways you can break free from this pattern. Here are some practical strategies that will help you stop procrastinating today.

Plan and Break Tasks Into Smaller Steps 

You are more likely to complete something when you know how to do it in the first place. For instance, if you have an analytical essay due in a week, it is much easier to accomplish the task if you break it down into a series of steps: 

  • brainstorming; 
  • research; 
  • outline; 
  • rough draft;
  • editing & proofreading.

Sometimes, we procrastinate because it feels like a big project, but in reality, it isn’t so bad if you break it down into smaller steps. Doing a little at a time is better than doing nothing.

Start With the Most Important or Urgent Tasks 

Arranging your tasks in order of urgency enables you to prioritize and complete everything more efficiently. For example, you may need to set your assignments according to the due date or start with the task you are most looking forward to. If you should present what is an expository essay before the math assignment, then, by all means, start with the essay.

Focus On What You Have Control Over 

One of the most pointless things to do is worry about something you have no control over. If it is out of your hands, what’s the point of wasting time and energy on it? 

If someone else is not pulling their weight or fulfilling an obligation they owe to you, focus on how you can make things better for yourself. There are many ways you can take charge of the situation and get what you need without relying on others.

You are responsible for your own life and nobody else’s. That means it is up to you to do everything in your power to make things happen and experience success. Don’t let other people’s shortcomings keep you from achieving your goals.

Create a Productive Environment 

One major contributor to procrastination is distractions, like TVs and computers playing videos or music that pull us away from what we are supposed to do. Turn off any screens before starting tasks, and make sure that the place you are working in is well-lit, has clean desk space, and isn’t cluttered.

Working in an environment with too much clutter or distractions can derail your focus on any task because it’s hard to get into “the mood.” 

Ask For Help When You Need It 

It is far too easy to put off asking for assistance or advice until the last minute, but that can lead to mistakes and frustration later on. You might also be surprised by how many people are willing to offer their support when they know what your goal is.

So, next time you are stuck writing your synthesis essay outline and hoping for a miracle to happen, ask for assistance. Keep in mind that there are many useful resources, including experts who can demystify academic writing and help you find your footing.

Set a Time Limit 

The best way to stop procrastinating is by setting aside some time before starting work. You can decide to work on each assignment for one hour while taking short breaks in between. Of course, this is only effective if you can stay focused on the work for that time. 

Practice Self-Forgiveness 

We all make mistakes, and we often waste a lot of energy beating ourselves up about it instead of just forgiving ourselves and moving on. It’s important to forgive yourself when you mess up to avoid becoming discouraged or giving up before accomplishing your goal.

If you have to set a time limit, then that is an opportunity for self-forgiveness. If you are only allowed to work on the essay but no other assignments until it’s done, take this as an incentive to dedicate 100% of your attention and energy to finishing it by the deadline instead of wasting time on regret.

Organize Tasks to Avoid Procrastination

What do I have to get done? Is it something that will take me a lot of time or mental effort? What is my deadline, and how much time do I have left before then? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you start working.

For instance, if your goal is to identify quantitative vs qualitative research for a paper, you can first identify the sources and then develop an outline for your essay.

Take a Social Media Break

Social media can be an excellent way to procrastinate because it is easy and convenient, so you may decide the best thing for yourself is to take some time off from your favorite sites like Facebook or Instagram. You don’t have to give up those social networks forever. Just giving yourself some time to disconnect will make it much easier for you to focus on what needs to be done.

To Sum Up

Procrastination can be a serious problem in the workplace or school. It may not seem like it at first, but procrastinating on projects and assignments has long-lasting effects on your grades and career prospects. The good news is that with these tips, you can overcome this harmful habit and become more productive.

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