10 Hard Truths You Must Know to Beat Procrastination

Hard Truths to Beat Procrastination

This is a guest post by Stephen Roe. Stephen applies the scientific method to personal development. For help beating procrastination each morning (even if you struggle with willpower), download his free guide Habit-Forming Morning Routines.

No matter how hard you try, it seems you never finish that one task or project.

You decide to do it today, but it’s still on your todo list tomorrow.

You’ve procrastinated so much on it, you’ve lost all hope of even starting, let alone completing that task.

The Solution to Procrastination

The secret to beating procrastination is knowing why you’re procrastinating.

There are hard truths about why we procrastinate, and if you don’t face them, you will never stop putting off what needs to be done.

Once you understand the reason for your procrastination, the battle is over. You can tackle the problem head on, and finish that lingering task.

Here Are 10 Hard Truths You Must Face to Beat Procrastination:

  1. You don’t know the next task. If you don’t know what will happen after this step, you will procrastinate because you’re afraid of what comes next. Instead, write down the next action you will take immediately upon finishing.
  2. You don’t know what to sacrifice. If you plan a project without considering how much time it would take, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed. But the problem is not enough time. The problem is not knowing what to sacrifice. Write down everything you dedicate time to, and decide what part of your life you’re willing to give up.
  3. You don’t care about the goal. Write down why you want to accomplish this task. If leaving it undone doesn’t motivate you, delete or delegate it. It may not be the best use of your time. If there’s no way around it, work on the task for a set amount of time and give yourself a reward after finishing that section.
  4. You don’t have a schedule. If you plan to start the task when you have time or feel motivated, you will put it off longer and longer. Instead, block out time when you will work on that task and nothing else.
  5. The task is uncomfortable. Many of the tasks we do are challenging and not fun, and those are the ones we find most difficult to do. If you only procrastinate because the task is uncomfortable, schedule it first thing in the morning and start before you can object.
  6. The task is a waste of your time. If you don’t think a project is a good use of your time, it might not be. Carefully consider what skills it requires. If those skills are not unique to you, then consider delegating the task to someone else. If you can’t do that, reward yourself for making small steps towards completion.
  7. You aren’t qualified. You may feel like the task is above your skill level. If there’s a steep learning curve, it can be hard to start. Ask someone with the know-how for help, or schedule a time for learning before you begin.
  8. You feel guilty about the task. If you’ve procrastinated on something too much already, just thinking about it will make you feel uncomfortable. So you procrastinate more. Find a one-minute next step, and you’ll feel successful instead of guilty.
  9. You don’t know how long it will take. If you don’t know how much time the task will consume, write down the steps required. Do some research to learn how long each piece of work will take, then add them together for an estimate. It may not be precise, but it will be enough for you to start.
  10. Nobody is holding you accountable. Perhaps you don’t have to update anyone on this task, perhaps the person you report to never follows up, or perhaps you’ve brushed away his or her concerns out of fear or guilt. Either way, you need someone to hold you accountable. Be honest with your boss, or find someone else to keep you focused.

Vanquish Procrastination Once and for All

Figure out the reason why you’re putting off that task, and it won’t seem so hard.

Don’t wonder where the day has gone and why you’ve wasted it on unimportant tasks.

Instead, start your morning figuring out why you’re procrastinating. Then charge forward.

No telling what you might finish by afternoon.

Question: What reasons would you add to the list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

2 thoughts on “10 Hard Truths You Must Know to Beat Procrastination

  1. I think another question to consider is “How are your mental energy levels?” This can be a difficult question to answer because it is easy to be in denial about this area and to want to “push through” no matter what.

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