How You Can Overcome Procrastination

Practical strategies for breaking the procrastination cycle.


Getting back on track.

(Jacob Lund /

Procrastination is a common challenge that many people face. If you tend to delay tasks or activities despite knowing their importance, you may be dealing with procrastination. And while pushing important things off might offer temporary relief, it often leads to stress, diminished productivity and missed deadlines.

Fortunately there are lots of strategies and systems you can put in place to help you. The procrastination cycle, according to Cornell University’s learning strategies center, is definitely real,  and there are ways to boost your efficiency so you can finally check things off your to-do list and enjoy the benefits and satisfaction of your productivity.

Maximize the power of accountability
Sometimes the things you procrastinate may be those annoying tasks that keep getting pushed down to the bottom of your to-do list. Other times, the problem is you dread the process and how long the task will take. Maybe the task is simply not enjoyable to do or perhaps you’ve been pushing it off for so long that you can’t even imagine doing it. 

Whether you are procrastinating for one of the above reasons or because of something else entirely, The Wall Street Journal recommends creating your own accountability. For example, you can set a timer for five minutes to get started on the dreaded task. You can also make yourself a daily checklist of the top three to five important things you want to make sure to get done that day. Crossing things off the list is super satisfying and the checklist is a physical representation and hard copy that can help keep you accountable.

Remove the distractions
Distractions can be a real motivator when it comes to procrastination. A noisy environment or contact phone messages, according to The Times Higher Education website, can make it difficult to concentrate and get things done. Therefore, they suggest removing the things that are bothering and distracting you. For example, even though it might be a hard thing to do, you can make sure to put your phone in a different room. 

The first thing to do is to identify the specific distractions that are impeding you from completing the task at hand. You can then move on to eliminating it  or them, and putting yourself in an environment and situation that can work for you and boost your chances for succeeding in completing the task, suggests Real Simple. Take a step back to notice what distracts you and when you identify them, actively acknowledge them and disconnect from them.

The feeling that comes with completing a task, especially one that took a lot of effort to accomplish, is incredibly rewarding. And after hard work, you definitely deserve it.

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