6 Smart Tips to Successfully Fight Procrastination

January 9, 2011
“I’ll be tidy when I’ll own a larger house, I’ll quit smoking when I’ll decide to, I’ll go to the gym in September, I’ll wash the dishes later, I’ll write that complicated post tomorrow…”

How many times did you find yourself saying those words? If you never did, well you are a lucky (or very disciplined) fellow.
Procrastination is a common disease of our age, because many of us have always had someone or something doing things  for us (think at appliances, computers, parents, cleaning ladies…) so it’s almost unavoidable that at some point of our life we come to a standstill.
If you’re asking yourself wheter you are a procrastinator or not, you probably are.
Let’s face the truth:
  • You are a latecomer – This makes you the king of procastinators, think at the reasons why you are always late: You start picking your clothes too late, you say I’ll style my hair later, “I have to let my nail varnish dry first”. Or simply there are many things that you were supposed to do (like householding) that piles up and you have to do everything at the very last minute.
  • You are untidy – You think that “I’m tired, I’ll hang my clothes tomorrow”, “I’ll tide up later”, “Why make my bed if I have to sleep in it tonight?”. Then, you never do it, and things pile up. Yes, like the dishes in your sink right now.
  • You are a smoker, a drinker or a drug addict – You think that you’re eventually going to quit those things, that you will when you’ll want to, that you can, but you don’t do it.
  • You think you can do better than that – You think you can do better than how you’re doing, that tomorrow you will organize yourself, get more creative, work harder. You think that someday someone will notice your abilities, that you’re different from the others. Well it won’t happen, because you’re not doing your best NOW.
This video is pure genius. I enjoy watching it at least once a week ahah.
The real issue with procrastination is that we don’t focus to live our NOW. We aren’t allowed to. We buy things that we’ll pay later, we watch fashion collections that we’ll be able to wear six months later (or more) .
We’re always focusing on the future, and we live remembering  the good things we made in the past, or regretting the bad ones.
How to fight procrastination?

That’s a good point. I’m a “post-pone” person myself, otherwise I could have not known so well the symptoms I listed above! I’m doing my best to defeat the beast, do you want to join the fight?
My problem: I think that when I’ll move out, (house, town, country) all my problems will fade away.
Truth is, WE are the change. This is often too overburdening, and we just go on procrastinating about everything.
First step is to admit our “disease”; then starting with the points below, which I’m figuring out how to follow myself, too. Are you a procrastinator? How do you feel about it? Or, if you are not, how do you do it? Please tell us!procrastination
  • You are your life’s main character, so act in a suitable way: enough said. If you don’t bring the change in your life, no walk-on actor will do it for you. You are the star, you have to make the whole show go on.
  • Do now everything that you can do now: start from the little things, such as washing the dishes as soon as you’ve finished your meal, or to make your bed as soon as you get off. Don’t push “post-pone” on your alarm clock.
  • Wake up early in the morning: this is in your human nature, your body lives with daylight, so take advantage of it now. You will immediately see the benefits in terms of increased production and general health.
  • Go out: don’t stay locked up in your house waiting for inspiration. The four walls of your room are the most “reality twisting” thing I’m aware of, if you don’t get out now, you’ll lose contact with the world outside. This is true for your office,too: it doesn’t count if you go out to get to work every day, find some spare time to simply go out and have fun, or just take a walk.
  • Build a project: one that is easy for you to keep up with. For me, this blog is working. It helps me doing things I used to unconsciously avoid, like diy projects, that I was procrastinating for almost 6 years now.
  • Find a companion in the war: find a friend who wants to defeat procrastination, and help each other out. Finding a friend that is not a procrastinator will work too, because he/she will be the good example to follow. Both things worked for me, but the first to help me waking up was the “not procrastinator”. He helped me out simply being there, telling me about his projects, and looking at him doing all the things he had always been doing. I’ll make use of this post to say hi and spread some of his work: here at Dazed&Confused; Digital.

Are you a procrastinator? Have you defeated procrastination? Do you know how to fight procrastination? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Elisa

About the Author

Elisa

Hey, it's Elisa, founder of styleonvega.com. I'm a social media strategist & consultant by day and blogger by night (honing my multitasking skills since 2006 ;). I'm an atypical Italian, freedom lifestyle advocate and modern spirituality enthusiast. Feel like we could get along? Join me just above this box or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.

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Masha

joining the fight! 😀

at the moment, two things are working for me:

1) to do lists. sites like "remember the milk" and "cozi" could be useful with e-mail reminders. i got some organizational tips from a site called "flydlady" … like making the bed the moment i get up, taking 15 min a day for decluttering, fixing my face and hair after i get up (so i don't panic if i get a visitor or realize that i don't have time for putting my make-up on because i've been on the internet for too long) …

2) positive thinking. i've always hated cliche positive thinking but i've realized i can't get anywhere without it. you just have to adapt it to your character so you don't think it's silly. now i believe in myself and my talents … and i keep on trying. 🙂

Vivian

Hey Masha! I've already tried some "organization" sites, but the only things that seem to work for me are my macbook iCal, notes on my phone and my paper notebook that I always carry with me! I actually need of all these things that remind me of to-do stuff, otherwise I simply forget to do things! I obviosuly also post-pone things a lot, like I'll do this later and later and later… and a year goes by ahah! 🙁 I'm trying to improve in this. Did you ever heard about the 43things site? I stumbled upon it yesterday, and it basically consists in sharing things to do with other people so you are more motivated to keep going! I hope we'll do better in this! 😀

Fruitful

I second the benefits of FLylady! Unfortunately I started ignoring her advice :S

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions, but mine is to simply look at my list every day and make progress. I don't have to do everything on it, just be in touch and moving forward. Normally I'd make a list or write tasks in my diary then not look at it for weeks. This causes many problems.

I like Mark Forster's website and his time management tricks.

Although of course it's not really time management, it's self management. I was like this all my life. I improved enough in my twenties that people didn't recognise me as a procrastinator anymore. But now I'm 35 with the pressure of a 2 year old as well as my older child – under that pressure I've reverted to type. I am proof that this is as you say a disease that we never really cure, but we learn to manage and live with in a healthy way.

Thanks for writing about this! Most online friends I have seem to avoid this topic – after all, being online is the biggest time-eater of all!

wobblinbetty

I ALWAYS procastinate but at the same time I urge myself not to f**king do that!
I mean…it's a continuos fight between me and myself ahah!

Vivian

I have to chek this Flylady site right now! You made me curious about this one!
And yes of course, the internet is the biggest beast we have to fight! I often find myself turning the computer on to write a post, and then 2 hours later I'm still lurking blogs, jumping from a site to another, chatting on msn, browsing facebook, watching some streaming episode of a random tv show and so on. There's so much to do on a computer you don't even realize how dangerous it is! 've actually been suffering from computer addiction for a long time, since my family bought one very soon in my childhood. I learned to use a computer very soon, and these are the results! Ahaha! Sometimes my boyfriend says I'm too much on the computer when he's around at my home, and since I made this mistake many times in my past relationships, I though I was avoiding it with him. But no! I didn't realize I was doing it with him as well. Very, very dangerous! Hours, days, months, years pass by so fast that life slips through our fingers like sand! I'm very scared about this, and my attitude to live in the clouds doesn't help feeling the NOW of my life! Being too much of a dreamer sometimes it's not good.

wobblinbetty

but obviously I'm talking about things that don't excite me too much…not things that I love to do!

Vivian

Then you're lucky Betty, because the real procrastinator is a person who is afraid of failing, so the things on which he procrastinate more are the things he loves the most! 🙁

Masha

internet is my biggest problem too. I have an endless list of projects (both more and less enjoyable) in my mind but I can hardly keep up with the necessities … because there is so much interesting stuff on the internet. 😀
Vivian, I'm glad that you're writing your blog regurarly! I write something like every 2 years. 😀 i've checked the site you have mentioned, I absolutely agree that you are more motivated if you share your projects. I had always avoided telling anyone because i had been so afraid of failing (and reaction of others). it quite motivates me if someone asks me how is the project going. 🙂

Tamara

I'm the queen of procrastination! But at the same time, as I have read in some other comment, I get really angry with myself because of that, it is like a constant inner fight… 😉

Laura Connell

Great advice. I used to be a procrastinator but I realized it was the thinking about things rather than doing them that was hard. Once I stopped thinking about what i should be doing and just DO IT life became easy. Even if I couldn't finish the task right away, just starting made me feel better. As soon as I think of something now, I do it and it feels so much better and I get lots done. I write my to-do list the night before and usually get it all checked off by the end of the day.

Vivian

We procrastinate about talking about our problem with procrastination, of course!

Nicola

I'm a procrastinator, and the internet is my biggest problem. I've started using LeechBlock (a Firefox add-on) to limit my internet time, and it kiiiind of works. But the way I use it is to limit my time on certain sites rather than block the whole internet, so I often find myself wasting time on new sites.

Another thing that I do is stay up really late, because late night is my own time, right? It doesn't count. Except then I stay up until 5am, and then have to get up at 8 for work.

I need to rid myself of these self-defeating habits, I know, but at the same time I find faffing so enjoyable and I'm easily tempted.

Vivian

I stay up really late, too! Even when I woke up early the morning and I have to wake up early the next one! I sleep early only if I really can't keep my eyes open. It's sad we can't control ourselves in this way! 🙁

daretoeatapeach

I am such a procrastinator. I find the more I accomplish, the easier it is to remember how good success feels, which helps lead into more action. Whereas, when I procrastinate a lot, I tend to get cranky and get caught up in the little things.

I do think there’s another reason for procrastination, which I’ve written about here: http://futureisfiction.com/blog/war-of-art/ …I actually used your bedroom image for the post (no hotlink, and I linked back to this article), I hope that’s OK! Terrific image.

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