Education & Beyond

How to Stop Procrastinating and Be Proactive

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“Let’s watch Netflix, I will do my task after that.”

“Ohh, it’s 10.16 PM, I will start working when it’s 10.30.” 

“Why do I procrastinate every time?”

Have you found yourself saying any of these lines? Then, you should pay attention to this article. Everybody faces the urge of procrastination but doesn’t know how to overcome it. 

Slowly it becomes your habit and deteriorates your confidence. You start living in autopilot mode and only do the work when it’s unavoidable.

 In this article, we will tell you the root cause of procrastination and how to stop procrastinating. Let’s get started!

What Exactly Is Procrastination?

Before addressing how to avoid procrastination, we will answer the most asked question, “what is procrastination?” Procrastination means avoiding or putting off important tasks repetitively, even though you know that the deadline is nearing. 

Sometimes you even want to finish a work, but somehow can’t bring yourself to do it or feel extremely unmotivated. 

In the worst case, you are not able to complete the work on time or deliver your best output. But, don’t blame yourself, you’ll know how to stop wasting time and study in a few minutes. 

Don’t Confuse Laziness And Procrastination

how to overcome laziness and procrastination

Your parents or other people might call you lazy for not doing a particular work, but you are not able to explain why you can’t do it, even when you know it’s important. This is because you procrastinate and choose to watch one more episode over completing an assignment. 

Laziness is inactivity and not wanting to do anything. While procrastination is choosing to do something easier or entertaining rather than work you should be doing at that time.

 Procrastination can be the biggest barrier between you and your goals. We will discuss how to stop procrastinating in detail in the coming sections. 

What Are The Procrastination Types?

The journey of overcoming procrastination starts with understanding the type of procrastination you are facing. Procrastination can be acute or chronic, which you can easily identify. 

1. Acute Procrastination

It occurs when you have small mood swings, some psychological triggers, fatigue, or just a bad day. It is quite normal in our day-to-day lives but can cause a ruckus if ignored or not acted upon. 

You might face acute procrastination due to low energy levels, being emotional, a task that you find boring, not taking proper breaks, or some external factors interfering with your work. 

2. Chronic Procrastination 

It occurs when you start to avoid important tasks on a regular basis and then feel guilty every time. It is not easy to overcome and the reason behind it can be a deep psychological problem. When you realize that you have become a habitual procrastinator and don’t know how to stop procrastinating, look for the psychological cause inside you. 

Generally, chronic procrastination is a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, wanting perfection, setting too many goals, laziness, phobia of failure, self-sabotage, or not having proper skills. We will tell you how to overcome it in the coming sections. But before that, you should know the ‘why’ behind your procrastination habits. 

What Can Be The Possible Reasons For Procrastination?

1. Anxiety 

Anxiety and procrastination go on in a loop. You tend to avoid or delay the tasks you feel anxious about and as a result, you become more anxious because you were supposed to do that work. 

Further, anxiety leads you to procrastinate even more. It can be a cause of your repeated or chronic procrastination. 

2. Feeling Overwhelmed 

Whenever there are so many tasks to do at a time, you might feel overwhelmed and leave it. It happens when there are so many small tasks at a time and we are not able to decide which task to do first, we procrastinate. 

Overwhelming can cause acute procrastination, as everyone has to face a hectic day more often. We will suggest some ways how to deal with procrastination when facing a similar situation. 

3. Craving Perfection

Perfection in itself is a myth and so-called perfectionists are more likely to become procrastinators. In our quest for perfection, we tend to overthink every little thing that leads to procrastination. 

Seeking perfection in your work is not problematic but the unnecessary delays in work due to the fear of someone finding flaws in it.

For instance, you have to make study notes and want to include every single detail, but you end up procrastinating because your mind is preoccupied with unnecessary planning. 

4. Lack Of Motivation

Most of the time people procrastinate just because they feel disconnected or unmotivated to do work. For example, some students who are under parental pressure to do well on a test tend to procrastinate even more.

 It is said that external sources of motivation can lead to more procrastination and are short-lived. You can only know how to not procrastinate studying by activating your intrinsic motivation. 

5. Fear Of Rejection Or Negative Feedback 

If you’re too afraid to fail that you don’t even start, it is a sign of procrastination. Those having low self-esteem or low self-confidence fear rejection much more than others. 

They need validation everywhere and can’t stand negative feedback. They are so worried about how to complete a task that they give up on it and delay it unnecessarily.

6. Depression

In most cases of chronic procrastination, depression can be the main cause. If you feel difficulties in concentrating, are exhausted all the time, procrastinate regularly, and see pushing yourself even for the daily routine, then don’t hesitate to take professional help. 

Those who are depressed don’t have the mental energy to do everyday chores like buying groceries, cleaning their rooms, or studying with focus

7. Unclear Goals

You are more likely to procrastinate a task if you don’t feel connected to your goal or can’t find the purpose of the task. For example, if your goal is exercising, you should think about it in detail like which days of the week you will exercise and at what time. 

Having abstract goals can only make you procrastinate more as you can’t relate to them. 

How To Stop Procrastinating?

Whatever the reason, you can still overcome procrastination by managing your energy levels, doing easier tasks, or by just taking action. 

Here are some tips to guide you. But first, you should observe your unhealthy habits of procrastination and we will tell you how to stop procrastinating before it’s too late. 

Now is the time to take control of your life into your own hands and become proactive.

 Here are some of the effective ways to deal with this enemy called procrastination. We are sure that most of these tips can help you with that. 

1. Calm Down, Take A Breath

Sometimes you are too hard on yourself that you don’t give yourself the deserved time to relax, even after a hectic task. But when our body and mind can’t take it anymore, we start showing signs of procrastination. 

The first thing on the list of how to overcome procrastination is catching your breath for some time and then resuming the work. 

It is truly said that you can’t work well if you can’t rest well. Taking a break doesn’t mean scrolling social media or being surrounded by gadgets. Taking a break means stepping back from a reckless life, self-introspection, and tuning into our real selves. 

2. Work Or Study At A Time When You Are Most Efficient

how to deal with procrastination

For ages, we have heard from our parents and teachers that waking up early can solve most of our problems and increase our productivity. 

But, everyone has their own active time when they feel most productive in a day. So, just listen to your body clock and don’t try to fit in someone else’s routine or get inspired by YouTube videos like ‘the millionaire’s routine’. 

Finish your tough tasks at any time or night when you feel most productive. Make it a habit and you will surely learn how to deal with procrastination. 

ALSO READ: 50 Good Habits For Students 

3. Take It Easy, Don’t Stress Out 

Do you often find yourself thinking about results or what if you fail whenever you sit to study? Well, you are not the only one. Stressing too much about the outcome can only lead to procrastination and reduce the chances of your success. 

So, one should know that any particular exam is not your life and go easy on yourselves. You can also talk with your senior, mentor, or friends who motivate you and release the stress.

4. Do Tasks In Segments

Another hack-in or ‘how to stop procrastinating’ list is dividing your tasks into small segments. Suppose you are struggling to complete a large chapter and procrastinate every time.

 You can divide it into sub-chapters and set a time to read all of them. 

As you keep ticking off the completed chapters, you will feel that it was not as tough as you thought it was. 

Once you gain your confidence, procrastination will disappear soon. 

5. Change In Place Can Be Effective

Every student feels bored or stuck at some point in time and doesn’t know how to avoid procrastination while studying. Well, in that case, try changing your space. Go to some airy place or a place you find peaceful to get out of your monotonous routine.

You can concentrate better in that way and avoid boredom. Shifting places can also boost your creativity and declutter your mind. So, try it to see if it works in your case. 

6. Remove The Possible Distractions

how to not procrastinate

If you start procrastinating more often, this is because you surround yourself with the things that make procrastination easier. 

The best way to deal with it is to remove all the distractions like social media, pop-up notifications of emails, etc. This is an important suggestion in the ‘how to stop procrastinating’ list.

Some people start using extreme ways like deleting social media apps to avoid distractions. But it is not so feasible as distractions don’t go away at once, but you might end up being anxious. Instead, practice self-control and set time for both work and entertainment. 

7. Use Apps To Schedule Reminders 

What can be the worst-case scenario of procrastination? You might completely forget to do a very important assignment while convincing yourself that you will do it later. You might have to pay for your carelessness at your workplace or school. 

However, thanks to some amazing reminder apps, you can set reminders for every task and avoid missing out on crucial tasks. 

Setting reminders can greatly help you overcome acute procrastination in your daily life.

ALSO READ: 7 Best Study Apps For Students

8. Taking Breaks When Needed 

If you delay your tasks thinking that you can complete them in a single sitting, you might be doing it the wrong way. We tend to avoid work till the last moment panic hits. It can create a stressful situation and you might not do it properly. 

Instead, try taking frequent breaks in between the study sessions and you will see which method is the most effective. You can use the Pomodoro technique if your attention span is short but still want to be productive. 

Just keep in mind that you don’t start scrolling reels for hours instead of a 15 min break. It would be better to take a snack break or do some physical activity during breaks. 

ALSO READ: 30 Tips On How To Study Smart

9. Surround Yourself With Active People 

If you want to know how to stop procrastinating most simply, surround yourselves with people who inspire you. If you can’t feel the motivation to do anything from inside, hang out with friends or colleagues who are hard workers. Whenever you will observe them, you will have the urge to change your life as well. 

Remember that good company can help you push your limits and grow together with you. Also, doing your tedious tasks with friends can be fun. Usually, students can solve math problems easily when they discuss and solve problems with their peers, for instance.

 So, try to make things fun so that the task doesn’t appear as a task to you. 

10. A Night Of Good Sleep is a Key

If you are a night owl with an irregular sleep schedule and wondering about how to stop procrastinating, then think about it again. Not getting enough sleep can cause dizziness and fatigue, as a result, you won’t be able to concentrate on anything. 

People with a prolonged sleep deficiency are more likely to procrastinate, especially on complex tasks. So, try working on your sleep cycle and healthy sleep routine to see the change.

 Also, avoid sugar or caffeine at night at all costs. 

12. Perfection is a Myth 

“This may not be a perfect time. If I can make it more perfect. What if I fail?” Do you often see yourself saying something like that? You might be a perfectionist procrastinator. 

The most important step in the ‘how to stop procrastinating’ list is not looking for perfection. We sometimes overcomplicate even the smallest thing and do not take the necessary action. So, just do it anyway and even if you make mistakes, learn from them. 

13. Ask For Help 

Some people have a hard time asking for help and end up procrastinating. If you can’t understand how to do something, then just get assistance from the right person. Don’t be stubborn while learning and understand that you can’t always figure everything out by yourself. 

If a task seems tough, ask for help, and reach out to people, instead of just procrastinating it. It can save time and energy. Just don’t think that people would think you are dumb for asking a question. 

14. Know The ‘Why’ To Get Motivated 

If you can’t figure out how to stop procrastinating even when you have tried hard, it’s time to look into your mindset and re-evaluate your goals. Normally, we are not interested in something we don’t find purposeful. 

Look for the ‘why’ when you are doing something and how it will help you achieve your goal. 

Motivation can be reignited once you are clear about your goals and know the purpose of doing something. 

ALSO READ: 101 Motivational Quotes For Students To Study Hard

15. Overcome The Fear Of Failure

Whenever you have a fear of failure, you cannot give your all. So, to avoid procrastination, first overcome your intriguing thoughts and self-doubt. Remember that the people who fail are the ones who tried. 

16. Set Realistic Goals

Sometimes we set goals that are unrealistic and lose motivation when we can’t accomplish them. So, don’t try to overdo anything and look at things realistically. Understand your capabilities and strengths, and start with setting small goals.

Bombarding yourself with too much work at a time can be of no help. Now, you must be clear about how to stop procrastinating when you are struggling with achieving your goals. 

17. Work On Your Lifestyle And Habits 

When you feel exhausted every time and have low energy levels, it’s common that you will brush off your tasks. Procrastination can be a result of bad lifestyle habits and burnout too. You can’t ignore it if your body is signalling that something is wrong. 

Work on improving your lifestyle by including more healthy foods, exercising regularly, maintaining a good sleep cycle, and avoiding unhealthy snacks. Just a small change in your lifestyle can bring you great results. 

Challenge yourself to follow a healthy lifestyle for a month and you’ll get the answer to how to stop procrastinating. 

18. Learn How To Work Smarter 

Sometimes a task can be complicated and we avoid doing it because we lack some simple skills. So, getting out of your comfort zone and learning new skills can help you perform those tasks better.

 If you want to work smarter not harder, then keep yourself open to learning new things. 

Before you become a chronic procrastinator and panic, just get out of your comfort zone and start learning to save time. Giving excuses is easier than working hard and fighting for your goals. 

19. Have A Goal In Your Life 

If you have a prolonged period of procrastination, then it might be possible that what you want is not aligned with what you are doing now.

 Sometimes we need to change our goals and explore more in order to do well in our lives. So, ask yourself if you’re happy with what you’re doing and if it is satisfying. 

Take out some time and reflect on yourself. 

Are you procrastinating because your work is hard or do you have a change of mind?  

20. Make A To-Do List With Deadlines 

Now let’s understand the proper strategy of how to stop procrastinating. Make a to-do list every day so that you have your important tasks in mind. Also, make a detailed timeline for when to complete which task. 

If you are struggling with deciding which task to do first, make a priority list according to the deadline of different tasks. You can also make a to-do list the night before and wake up with a clear goal for the day. 

21. Stop Taking Too Much On Your Plate At Once 

Are you wondering how to stop procrastinating? Then stop taking on your plate more than you can digest. We tend to feel overwhelmed and avoid the task to last hours when the anxiety hits. 

Some people also like the adrenaline rush when they complete a task at the last moment. 

But it can be a toxic habit in the long run and turn you into a chronic procrastinator. It also gives a negative impression of you and an act of carelessness. So, take a small number of tasks that you can complete without being panicked or stressed out. 

22. Don’t Overthink, Take Action

For daydreamers who make so many plans in their heads that they forget to take action, procrastination is a common issue. The easiest answer to how to stop procrastinating a task is to just act on it and start. Sometimes the biggest step is to start something then everything goes on smoothly. 

23. Take The Time To Reward Yourself 

This may sound corny but rewarding yourself after accomplishing a task and patting yourself on the head can be a great solution for procrastination. Some people are overachievers who immediately set a new goal after accomplishing one and then the next and the cycle continues. It is obvious that they get exhausted and burnt out after that.

Sometimes we forget to be grateful to ourselves for how far we’ve reached. So, be grateful to yourself and buy something that pleases you today. It can be the most interesting tip on our ‘how to stop procrastinating’ list.

24. Reach Out To Someone Who Has Achieved The Results

overcoming procrastination

Are you afraid of what is going to happen in the future or overthink it to the extent that you delay your present work? Then go and talk to someone who has already achieved the results and ask them how it feels. 

Also, ask them what if you can’t achieve it. The answer will probably be ‘you have plenty of options. 

So, be flexible and don’t compromise with your present by overthinking about the future. 

25. Make A Priority List 

According to the book ‘Two Awesome Hours’, every day we face some decision points and if we can’t take the right decisions at that time, our productivity decreases. So, taking the right decision and deciding which task to prioritize first can help you beat procrastination.

You can make a list of tasks based on priorities and manage your schedule accordingly. Once you learn how to utilize decision points in a day, you will know how to stop procrastinating and manage your work smartly. 

26. Understand Yourself And Your Learning Style 

Do you know that if you have difficulty learning something, it might be because you are not using the right technique?

 As a result, you give up on the work. But, if you can understand what works for you better, the problem is solved. 

For example, some students are visual learners. So, sitting for hours in front of a book can be boring for you. But you can easily learn through video lectures and diagrams. Try to find out your way of learning and make study sessions fun. 

27. Don’t Be Pessimistic 

We often say that “I am too lazy for that” or “I can’t do it any better”. It is a sign of a pessimistic personality and sometimes we need to change our mindsets to beat procrastination. 

In that case, you just have to step up your energy levels and visualize your new identity as a confident person. Our words hold power, so restrain from saying anything that lowers your vibration. 

28. Learn How To Say No

You lose the motivation to work or avoid doing something when you take up tasks that you don’t like. Maybe it’s because of peer pressure or you just can’t say no, you end up taking on unnecessary tasks. 

As a result, you do it half-heartedly or procrastinate. So, if you can relate to it, think twice before taking up any work. 

29. Yes, You Can Do It Now!

Once and for all, it depends on how eager you are to take action and stop procrastination that limits your potential. 

These were some of the tips that can help you overcome procrastination. So, identify the reason and implement these tips to see what works for you the best. 

Let us know which of the above methods helped you the most.

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