6 Steps to Stop Procrastinating
Do you have one of those chores or tasks at work that you just don’t enjoy doing? In fact, you will do everything you can to avoid completing that task until the final deadline or it just has to be completed? Maybe it’s your housework? Do you hate washing dishes or do you have a closet that really needs to cleaned out? It’s easy to let procrastination take over our life. Here’s how to stop procrastinating and get things done.
For me, it’s filing paperwork. You know, the monthly receipts, the bills/payments, package instructions, all the documents that need to be kept “just in case” you need to check them later. I dislike filing so much I frequently will allow the papers to stack up for 6 months or longer (this means that the pile of paper is about to tumble over everywhere).
I actually have a super easy filing system that makes maintaining and deleting old papers easy-peasy (I file everything by month and then I trash the old papers after 12 months – I have a few exceptions like insurance papers and bank documents), so there is really no reason to procrastinate, but I do.
As I worked on my filing this weekend, it occurred to me that I need a better plan to manage the filing and to stop procrastinating.
6 Simple Steps to Stop Procrastinating Now
Define Your Task
Filing is an easy task, I just file the papers that are in the “file” box. Maybe you have a bigger task like cleaning out a closet or completing a project at work. The first step is to define the task so you will be able to determine how much time is needed to complete the task.
At this step, be specific about everything you will need to do to complete your task. If you leave out steps or skip steps, you might underestimate the time needed to complete the task. Be clear and write out everything you need to do to accomplish this task.
Handpicked for you: How to use a vision board (and free printable)
Estimate How Much Time is Needed to Complete the Task
Once you have defined the task, estimate how much time you will need to complete each part. Recognize that some parts of the task may take longer than other parts. Set realistic amounts of time for each portion of the task, then add a little extra time for the unexpected.
Sometimes we don’t start a task because we think it will take too long. Then, once we start the task, we can actually get it done faster than we think. But, estimating how much time you need is important so you can set aside enough time to get things done.
Gather All Materials You Need to Complete the Task
Your task or project will take much longer to complete if you do not have all the needed materials or tools available when you start. If you need tools, you should have them all together before you start. You don’t want to waste time looking for a lost tool. If you need supplies, you should purchase them all at one time before starting.
If you have ever worked on projects and forgotten to gather all your materials in advance, you will remember how frustrating and much time is lost by stopping to gather missing materials.
So, before you start your project or task, gather all the materials and tools you need to complete the task or project.
When working on projects or tasks we don’t enjoy (and have already procrastinated on completing), it’s easy to let any distraction keep us from our work.
Turn off your cell phone (no checking messages), no Facebook or other electronics. Email can also distract us from our tasks. Set specific times and time limits to check and respond to email.
These are just a few distractions, you might watch TV or read a book. Recognize what distracts you and don’t let it stop you from completing your project.
A determination that you will avoid distractions until you complete the project or work for the amount of time you have set.
Set a Goal for Completion – Either a Date or Time
For me, once I started the filing project, I would stay on task until I was done. Some projects are more involved and need more time, calculate how much time is needed to complete your project and set a goal date for completion. Small tasks may only need an hour or 2. But set a goal for completion so you will stay with the task.
Since you set a goal, it should be your plan that the task will be completed on this date. But if life happens and you are not able to complete the task, set a new completion date (but don’t keep resetting the date, that would be procrastinating).
Grab your Smart Mom Monthly Goal Planner to starting your monthly goal plan today.
For Recurring Tasks, Set-up a Weekly or Monthly Plan
For example, paper filing is a task I don’t like. My goal is to complete the task every month rather than waiting several months and having to do it all at once. Filing once a month would be easy and manageable. For household chores (I really dislike cleaning house), I follow a weekly schedule to be sure all the basic tasks are done every week.
Since I don’t like filing papers or cleaning, I tend to procrastinate getting them done. But when I make them part of my weekly routine, I am more likely to do these tasks.
If the task or project that causes you to procrastinate is repeated on a regular frequency set a plan and keep a schedule so you don’t have to complete everything at the last minute.
Use a weekly planner to schedule a set time every week or every month to complete all routine and repeated tasks.
Make Over Your Mornings to Stop Procrastinating
Make Over Your Mornings is a 14-day online course to help you master your mornings. You will learn out to start your day right so you can accomplish more during the productive morning hours.
The Make Over Your Mornings course includes 14 videos and a companion workbook that accompanies the videos to help you maximize each lesson. During the course you will learn:
- How to plan your day
- How to set your priorities
- The importance of goal setting
- How to create your to-do list
- The impact of diet and exercise
- Getting the right mindset
- And so much more…
Take a minute now and start on the road to procrastination recovery with a morning makeover.
Note: this post includes affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.
What task or project do you procrastinate and put off completing? Do you have a plan to complete this task?
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Mine used to be laundry and dishes. Now, I empty the dishwasher after I run it. Then, I just do the dishes as they come. No more big piles of dishes to stink up the house. With the laundry, I try to do it as it comes as well. There’s only 3 of us in the house, so it usually doesn’t take long. I put it away as soon as I take it out most days. Nothing ever goes perfectly, but it’s a lot cleaner these days. I try to do chores as soon as I see they need to be done. It saves a lot of time and hassle.
Hi Erin, you are right with dishes and laundry – put the clean dishes and laundry away as soon as it’s done. It’s too easy to procrastinate on these chores.
Procrastinating is a big problem for me… But, I’ve learned that when I’m procrastinating about a task, it’s usually because I’m also obsessing about perfection. Once I acknowledge that nothing and no-one is perfect, I can get on with things again. It’s definitely a process though!
Diane – great point. Sometimes we distract ourselves by trying to make things perfect when as they are is good enough.
These are great tips that I will try out tonight! On days when I’m feeling very lazy but have a large amount of tasks, I use TV commercials as my time to get tasks done. As soon as the commercials come on, that’s go-time, and I work as quickly as possible to knock out tasks around the house. When the show comes back on, I rest. Rinse. Repeat.
Great Sarah. Let me know which steps help you get the most done.