Procrastination is one of the biggest problems for any entrepreneur. It is also a big problem for students, employees, writers, and pretty much anyone who has anything to do. Finding and developing strategies for effectively combating procrastination is one of the most critically important things to do with regards to your productivity in every area of your life. In order to stop procrastinating, you need to learn some strategies and tips and tricks to make yourself more productive and to stop yourself from procrastinating.
Train yourself to listen to your inner voice
One way to stop procrastinating is to teach yourself to listen to your inner voice. You also need to exercise your inner voice. Your inner voice is the voice where you can tell yourself in your head, “do this, do it now”. You can make your inner voice an authority. Instead of listening to how you feel, which is almost never to feel like not procrastinating, instead listen to your inner voice. I don’t mean talk to yourself. I mean think to yourself and command yourself to take action.
Your inner voice is a voice of logic. You can tell yourself, “do this now” and it is a logical thought. The goal is to get yourself to listen to your inner voice every time. It takes practice. Sometimes you will not want to listen to your inner voice, so do not use the inner voice unless you absolutely will listen to it. You do not want to get into the habit of not listening to your inner voice, otherwise it will be useless.
You need to make your inner voice an authority that supersedes emotions, so when you have a deadline you can use your inner voice to command yourself to be productive. As an entrepreneur, I have learned to train my inner voice over the years, else I would never get anything done. And when I just don’t have the energy, I may have forgotten to eat, or I may need to take a break. Keep that in mind.
Get the most challenging and important things done first thing in the morning
Also here is a huge tip to stop procrastinating. Studies show that people have a limited amount of emotional energy, and this energy is highest in the morning right after waking up. So get your most important things done, the things that are the hardest and most challenging, immediately upon waking up.
You have the most energy to follow through in the morning. Make it a goal to get your most important things done first thing in the morning. I know your don’t want to do it, but you are even less likely to do it later in the day if you don’t want to do it in the morning. This also has a similar effect if you take a nap, even for a few minutes, and upon awakening now you suddenly have a burst of new emotional energy. You will get a lot more done.
Top-up your emotional energy
If you find you are slowing down and getting nothing done, maybe you have run out of emotional energy. It does not help to sit there and tell yourself to continue. What will probably happen is you will end up surfing the web meaninglessly or wasting time on social media. You are out of energy, and you need a top-up. And no, I definitely do not mean caffeine. Caffeine is bad because you become dependent on the drug instead of your own energy, and as a result, your body stops producing energy. It is a downward spiral. Soon you can’t live without it. Ditch the caffeine. It will be hard at first, but after a moth or two you will have the same energy without the caffeine.
Instead, there are far more healthy ways to get an emotional energy top-up. If you are winding down and becoming very unproductive, don’t just it there and try to continue, It is time for a break. Shut down your computer. Go for a walk. Do some pushups or other calisthenics. Just a couple to get your blood flowing. Eat a meal if you haven’t in awhile. Drink lots of water. Take a nap if you find you are zoning out, or open a casual book. Do not turn on the TV no matter what. After about 10 to 30 minutes of a break and having fun and relaxing, now sit back down and immediately start doing the task you were procrastinating. Suddenly you can do it! It’s because you just needed to top-up your emotional energy.
Stop trying to do it all in one sitting
Here’s another tip: stop trying to do everything in one sitting. Learning to do parts of a project over 2 or more periods of time or days can help increase your productivity as well as delivery higher quality work. This is especially important if you have very long tasks that take many hours to do. Sometimes, it is good to get in the groove, like as a writer, when I get in the groove, all my ideas are flowing and I don’t want to get up. But when you begin to get tired, you are going to have less energy to continue, which increases the chances you might never finish, or that it will take a lot longer to do than it otherwise would.
For example, I notice that when I am packing to move, it takes many hours. However, a couple hours in I got the majority of the packing done, but the last little bit takes more time than all the rest combined because I am completely drained. Instead of trying to finish it all at once, learn to schedule things so that you can complete it over several time periods or over several days. If you wait until the last minute, you won’t have this option, so make sure to get things done early.
Schedule a little bit at a time in order to maximize productivity
If you only do a portion of the project at one time, you are more likely to get it done, and less likely to put it off until later. For example, if you have a 10 page college essay to write and you wait until 5 hours before it is due, you have no choice but to sit there until it is completed. And, if you plan on doing it in one sitting, then knowing that you will have to spend many hours on the whole project is more likely to cause you to put it off until the last moment.
On the other hand, say you commit to 1 to 2 pages per sitting over several weeks, it’s a lot more likely you will find the time to spend 1 hour doing a page or two than you will find the time to spend 5 or more hours writing 10 pages. So what happens is you put it off until you can’t put it off anymore, then you have no choice but to sit down to do the whole thing. This could have been avoided if instead you just committed to doing a little at a time over a longer period. You are more likely to find the time and energy to write a page or two here and there than you are to write a whole research paper in one sitting.
I hope this helps you become more productive. What is your favorite tip to stopping procrastination and increasing your productivity?