How to Stop Procrastinating: 7 Easy Steps to Master Procrastination, Laziness & Getting Things Done | Miles Toole | Skillshare

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How to Stop Procrastinating: 7 Easy Steps to Master Procrastination, Laziness & Getting Things Done

teacher avatar Miles Toole, Personal Productivity Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 15m)
    • 1. Introduction - How to Stop Procrastinating

    • 2. Chapter 1: Step 1 - Stop Catastrophizing

    • 3. Chapter 2: Step 2 - Learn to Prioritize

    • 4. Chapter 3: Step 3 - Work on Your Time Management Skills

    • 5. Chapter 4: Step 4 - Be Realistic

    • 6. Chapter 5: Step 5 - Build Your Self-Belief

    • 7. Chapter 6: Step 6 - Learn to Forgive Yourself

    • 8. Chapter 7: Step 7 - Get Rid of Perfectionist Tendencies

    • 9. Conclusion - How to Stop Procrastinating

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About This Class

Do you have a heap of paperwork lying on your desk, and you haven't been able to finish it yet? Are you finding it difficult to figure out where to start and therefore you are constantly putting off things for later?

Everyone has goals in their life but overcoming the hurdles that come along the way requires courage and determination and procrastination is just one such hurdle. Contrary to popular belief, there are ways in which you can overcome procrastination and start getting things done today!

"How to Stop Procrastinating" will provide you with a catalog of ideas in a 7-step process that you can implement in your life and start reinstating the lost sense of self-discipline. The major reason behind procrastination is the feeling of becoming overwhelmed by all that is present in front of you, and this results from a lack of self-belief.

The solution to your problem is not that difficult. You need to develop a mindset and make some changes in your lifestyle that will help you fight procrastination and complete those tasks which have been lying idle for months.

● To identify the real reasons behind your procrastination habits.
● To organize your life so that you complete all your tasks on time.
● How to say no to things that are not going to add any value.
● To complete challenging projects with some simple strategies.
● Effective time management techniques to incorporate some leisure time in your daily schedule.

Many people have tried overcoming laziness, and in the end, they give up. This is because they were following the wrong strategies. You have to learn to remove your limiting beliefs and start telling yourself that you can achieve anything if you truly want it. To beat procrastination and become productive, these 7 easy steps will bring a sense of routine back in your life!

Meet Your Teacher

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Miles Toole

Personal Productivity Teacher


Miles Toole is the teacher of the "Personal Productivity" course series. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Black Ltd. and writes a popular blog on Personal Productivity. Toole turned to teaching several years ago to fulfil his life dream of educating students on the topic of Personal Productivity. He lives in New York City.

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1. Introduction - How to Stop Procrastinating: Introduction, Welcome to how to stop procrastinating. The following chapters, we'll discuss how you can deal with procrastination by developing some new habits. Procrastination is something that results from the decisions that you take into your subconscious mind. And in order to get over it, you have to shed light on all the misinformation. You have. People who procrastinate have piles of work on their desks or responsibilities that they've not dealt with until it's the last minute. And they have no other choice but to start. And by that time they decide to start, it's already too late to complete the work on time, which in turn creates stress and panic. I've structured this guide in a step-by-step manner so that you can work your way up the ladder and beat procrastination and the process of doing so, you will learn self-discipline and also learn several ways in which you can overcome laziness. Once you're aware of the different patterns in which you end up procrastinating, dealing with the problem will become so much easier. In this guide, I've stated clear solutions to every problem. Yes, it might seem overwhelming if you're just starting to fight against procrastination. But with every step you take, you'll realize that it's not anything impossible. 2. Chapter 1: Step 1 - Stop Catastrophizing : Chapter one, step one, stop catastrophizing. Everyone has delayed a task for later at some point in their life. Some people pass off procrastination as mere laziness. But it is so much more than that. There are people who think that by procrastinating, they're avoiding distress in their life. But it's just the opposite. They are creating more distress for the future. There's an increase in stress levels and performance starts to drop. But some even graver effects of procrastination are that it might affect your self-esteem, leading you to criticize yourself at every 0.1 of the biggest things that lead to procrastination is the habit of catastrophizing. You must be wondering what catastrophizing is. People who catastrophize cannot handle even minor setbacks in a positive light. Instead, they immediately jumped to the worst conclusions. An example should make it clearer as to what I'm talking about. Let us assume that you've made some mistakes at work which are quite minor, but you start thinking that you'll be fired because of it. This is what catastrophizing is. Moreover, the process does not stop there. You think that you'll lose your job because you are fired, and then there will be no one to take care of your family. This pattern is endless and keeps running, leading to extreme stress and persistent feelings of worry. Now, let us see how catastrophizing and procrastination are related to one another. When you catastrophize something, you actually start dreading what will happen. This toxic cycle of thoughts brings about the stress. And that stress makes your daily duties more difficult. For example, if you had an important task at hand that needed completion, but you're catastrophizing that since you made a small mistake, the entire project is going to go down the drain. And so you ended up procrastinating about it and kept deferring the project until the last day. However, you could also have rectified your mistake and then finish the project on time. That is why in order to fight procrastination, you have to find ways of getting things done. And in this chapter, I am going to explain to you how you can stop catastrophizing, stop exaggerating. It's very easy for apprehension to turn into anxiety. And if you notice that happening with you, then you have to realize that you're catastrophizing. So what you should do is to think back into a time when you first started catastrophizing, you need to find out the pattern that your mind is forcing you to follow. People often find that they made a mountain that of thoughts from a mole hill and exaggerated everything in the process. So you need to stop exaggerating and start thinking proactively. If you indeed presumed that you are in the middle of a catastrophic situation, the first thing that you should do is suspend your judgment. You should not judge the situation or yourself. You also have to realize that you actually owe it to yourself to change the pattern and habit of toxic catastrophism. Any catastrophic thinking always results from cognitive errors. The most common of which is the habit of exaggerating thinking. This exaggeration is usually always related to negative aspects of your life. For example, if someone's spoke to you rudely, maybe because they were having a bad day, you should not overthink, start exaggerating that the person is doing it because they have some personal issue with you. You should also not think that someone spoke rudely means that everyone automatically starts aiding. You. Know? Similarly, if something bad has happened in one aspect of your life, you should not let that affect other aspects or think that your entire life is going through a bad phase. This type of thinking is termed as black and white thinking or all or nothing thinking and it needs to be stopped if you want to fight procrastination. The more you exaggerated situation, the more it will become impossible for you to become optimistic. This is because you've completely adapted a negative perspective of life. And you always see the glass half empty. So your task is to change the way you think. You do not have to start with anything big. Start making small but meaningful changes in your life. You need to think about these aspects of life that bring you joy and happiness. Think about those things that make you feel relaxed and safe. And when you remind yourself of these things, you will understand that your entire life has not been in vain. You do not have to cloud your mind with overgeneralized terms because there's so much more to your life than simply negativity. Take enough rest. If you truly want to expand your coping abilities, you have to start being sleep deprived. People are so busy and habituated to sleeping late that when they're constantly compromising their own sleep cycle for the sake of work. This ultimately leads to confusion, irritation, and the inability to focus. All of this ultimately affects you in ways that you would not have fathered. Your ways of speaking to others change and your interaction with others is no longer polite. But there is another effect of not getting enough sleep. And this is what leads to procrastination. You become too sensitive to threat. And that is why you start interpreting everything in a negative light. You become too focused, even on the smallest of negative things that are happening and turn them into huge situations, even when it's just a petty matter. So whenever you're sleep-deprived, your brains automatically go into the high alert mode and try to overcompensate. So working longer hours by compromising your sleep. Something that we'll do you more harm than good. Your thoughts do not define you. The downward spiral that almost everyone goes into while procrastinating is not only because they are into a negative pattern of thinking, but it is also because the person starts blaming themselves for the thoughts that he or she is having. Thus, it acts as a double-edged sword. They start thinking about what's wrong with them. And they're having such negative thoughts. When conditions become worse, they start questioning themselves whether they're defined by their thoughts and eventually start believing that their thoughts define their personality. This leads them to believe that there is something not right about them. So even if you are going through tough times with negativity all around, you have to learn to acknowledge the situation and tell yourself This too shall pass. When you're observing your thoughts, you cannot let yourself get influenced by them. You have to be a third party here and observe your thoughts from the outside. Any situation will eventually end and you will be still here. So don't let any situation force you into believing that your personality is framed by your thoughts. Learn to get over hopelessness. When people start to feeling hopeless, they forget that life is actually worth every effort you put into it. A single bad internet cannot affect you and does not ever put an end to your life. Life goes on and no one can stop its flow. It is usually notice that if the feelings of hopelessness can be traced back to their origin than a common pattern is seen. People tend to apply their present incidents to their future and start predicting that their future is going to be like they're present. This happens mostly when the person is going through a bad phase. So when they think that their future is also going to be bad, they automatically start feeling hopeless. But you have to understand that it's easy to think that way. People are not able to guess or imagine what if things were different? That is a difficult task. And people do not do that. And instead, they take the easier route and start thinking that everything is going to stay as it is. This is a very similar thing to those who have been sick for a very long. They start feeling that they're never going to get better. Then there is another aspect that leads to catastrophism nation. And that is when people start developing learned helplessness. In this, they think that if they lost control over things in the past, it will happen in the same way in the future. When people think in this way, they do not even try to do something about it because they think there's no use in trying. So instead of going over that negative outcome every time, think about something different. Consider an option that's more positive and less negative. Recognize irrational thoughts. There's always a distinct pattern involved when people start catastrophizing. They have negative thoughts that only escalate in their intensity. For example, if something bad happened today, people who have this tendency might start to think that the situations are only going to get worse tomorrow. But you never know that for sure, right? You're only assuming it. Then there are people who think that if they are sick for about a week, then they're not going to get better at all. This type of thinking is totally absurd and irrational. So what you have to do is identify this form of thinking and then stop them. The moment you learn to recognize your irrational thoughts is when you will start handling your negative pattern of thinking in a better manner. If you think that you've gotten yourself into a vicious cycle of negative bonds, you have to say stop to yourself loud and clear. You need to take care of yourself and engage in self love because it will help to relieve you of stress. All of these steps together will help you in dealing with the habit of catastrophism. 3. Chapter 2: Step 2 - Learn to Prioritize : Chapter two, step to learn to prioritize whether your procrastination is a major issue or a minor one. At the end of the day, you have to work on getting things done if you want to come out of this problem. And one of the most important lessons that you have to take is the art of prioritization. Once you start prioritizing your tasks, overcoming laziness will also become easy. So if you've been postponing your decisions and tasks in your to-do list unnecessarily than this chapter is going to help you take another step towards overcoming the problem. When you prioritize the workload, you'll know exactly what you need to do. And when. This not only gives you a step-by-step process of completing your tasks, but also prevents you from wasting your precious time on trivial tasks that are not that important. You will also learn not to feel overwhelmed by the huge pile of work that's lying in front of you. Most people start procrastinating when they cannot understand where to start. But prioritisation will give you that direction and set the path for you which will simply have to follow. There are several methods and things that you can follow to prioritize your life. And we're going to discuss them in this chapter. Right down your tasks. The task that you have on a particular day are plenty. And so if you want to prioritize your routine, you have to start by making a list of all the tasks you have at hand that need to be completed. Make this list before you go to sleep. So that when you wake up the following day, you have the list ready, your brain might not be able to remember all of it and it's quite natural. So don't burden your brain with everything. Include even the smallest tasks on the list. Once the list has been made, take a nice and long look at it and determine which of the tasks on the list are of utmost importance and thus have to be completed the next day without any delay. This will make you better prepared to handle these important tasks right from the moment when you wake up the next day? Yes. There might be some things that come up on an urgent basis overnight. And in that case, you should consider re-evaluating your list of most important tasks, but you don't have to worry yourself regarding that. Now. You can cross that bridge when the time comes. But until then, deal with the things that are in front of you. Now. When you have the list ready, you'll sleep better at night because you know your to do list is sorted. Analyze the list. Once your list is ready and you figured out the most important tasks, It's time to analyze the list in detail. Review each task that you have listed, and then you have to figure out what you wanna do when each task. This will help you narrow your list down. First, separate the tasks that will require only a couple of minutes. So you can come to them at once the next day. Then figure out whether there are some tasks that can be delegated so that you don't have to do it. Ultimately, you'll be left with those tasks that are harder to complete and are yet of high priority. Delegation is really an amazing way of handling your to do list. And it also helps in getting the tasks off the list. But what you should do is even if you're delegating something to someone, create a reminder on your calendar so that you can follow up on its progress later. This will help in maintaining the quality of work. One to a few tasks are off the list and the list becomes shorter, some of the pressure will be lifted off your shoulders. Used a priority matrix. This is a very commonly used method for prioritizing tasks, especially when you have tons of tasks at your disposal and very little time to complete them. The urgent labels should be placed on tasks that have to be completed at once or tasks that have been long overdue. And whether a task is important or not is something you have to answer to yourself very honestly. This matrix is very helpful in situations where you're not able to annualize or visualize the task at hand because of the stress of millions of things that have piled up on your to-do list. When you've segregated the tasks in this manner, your priority will obviously be completing the tasks that are most important and urgent so that you don't miss any of the deadlines. Then you can move on to tasks that you've listed in the quadrant. Not important, but urgent. These will mostly be the tasks that hold the urgent ones which have to be done even though they do not provide much value. You'll find several tasks in this quadrant that can be delegated. The next quadrant that you should deal with is this one important but not urgent? This is probably the most productive quadrant because this will contain the task that have real value, but they can be put off for later very easily. Once you complete these tasks, you will be reaping their benefits. And lastly, check the task that you have put in the not important and not urgent quadrant. These are time waster. So don't do them when you're in the middle of something important. You can do them only when you have time left at the end of the day after completing everything that was important. Practice relative prioritization. And the last section, we learned about the priority matrix. But have you thought about what you'll do if they're urgent tasks that you have are too many in number. Do you know which tasks to start with? You can get confused even there and can lead to procrastination. This is where the progress of relative prioritization is going to help you out. Here, you will be assigning a priority number to every task on your to-do list. This is something like raiding the task. Rate the tasks on a level of one to ten based on how important they are and what their priority is. If you have more than ten tasks, you have to rate them up to the number of total tasks. For example, if the total tasks you have are 15, then you have to rate them anything from one to 15. And this is because you cannot afford to tasks being rated the same. Otherwise, there will be confusion. Again. You're basically weighing each task so that you can understand from where you can start. There are several apps that you can use for this purpose so that assigning the priority order becomes easier. Be realistic about the time when you're prioritizing and building your to-do list for the day. You also have to note down the approximate time that each of these tasks will require. If your to do list is too long, then no one is expecting that you'll have to complete it all in a single day. This is why it's essential that you're realistic about the time that you're putting beside each of these tasks. It can be tempting to fit in more tasks in a shorter period. I know, but that's something you should not do. Otherwise, you'll have to work for 18 or 20 hours straight in order to complete all of them. And that's not practical. You have to leave some time for yourself to eat, sleep, take breaks, and also spend time with family and friends. Everything is equally important and you should not skip anything. Also, when you're too ambitious and note down lesser time for the tasks, then you usually should. You won't be able to finish them. And as the day approaches towards the end, you'll have the urge to procrastinate and put away everything for later. So for efficient planning, being realistic about the time you have and the time you will require for completing the tasks is very important to be flexible. Your routine should be flexible. And you should have a flexibility mentality because not everything will work out in your favor at all times. There can be numerous reasons behind it. It can be because of some last moment work that cropped out of nowhere. Or it can be some delay in response from the client or a coworker. Whatever it is, your routine must always have some buffer time for you to accommodate these task if need be. This can be achieved by trying to establish a flow in your work schedule. And this will also help you in being your optimal state of productivity, which in turn is going to help you keep out of the habit of procrastination. When you are flexible, you will not feel overwhelmed by an emergency and deal with it with equal efficiency. Now that you know how you can effectively prioritize the tasks at hand in order to avoid procrastination, you should stick to your To Do list. It is true that in the beginning you'll feel the urge to fall back on your previous procrastination habits. But you have to resist that urge. But don't be too hard on yourself. Breaking free from procrastination is not easy. And you have to achieve it taking one step at a time. 4. Chapter 3: Step 3 - Work on Your Time Management Skills : Chapter three, step three, Work on your time management skills. Time management is a skill that everyone should learn more about, whether you're a procrastinator or not. For some people, Procrastination is the main barrier between them and getting a promotion or taking their business to the next level. Poor time management skills are just one of the reasons why people procrastinate. And so in the third step, we're going to focus on getting time management skills up to par, set goals. One of the most efficient ways of managing your time more efficiently is by setting goals. But the goal should be something that's attainable and realistic. When you set goals, you automatically become more focused on the task at hand. But the goals should be in such a way that you also specify the time in which you want to complete a particular task. If the task at hand already has a deadline, then you should set a goal of completing that particular task a few days before that decided deadline. If a task does not have any decided deadline, then you should set a specific time period within which you're going to complete it. Another way in which you can make the process easier is by breaking down a big goal into micro goals, which will consist of actionable steps. These steps will act like stepping stones to the ultimate goal that you have. When you break down your goals, you have smaller and easier tasks in front of you. And so it will not be getting overwhelming by the task at hand. But if you're breaking a task into actionable steps, then you will also have to assign a specific deadline to each one of the steps. Once this is done, make a promise to yourself that you are going to stick to your goals. Stop multitasking. I've met so many people in my life who think that the answer to time management is a multitasking. This is a very wrong idea. Everyone has multi-task at some point in their life, but it can be detrimental to your work. Do you know why? Well, it's a matter of fact that your brain can only handle one task at a time. But when you're forcing it to focus on multiple tasks at once, you're actually dividing your attention. So you're never fully focused on anything. And this split of attention results in a decline in your work. Moreover, your original speed of work takes a hit and you end up wasting a lot of time in the name of multitasking. People who multitask keep switching between tasks for a longer period of time than the time they actually put behind each of the tasks. So you have to start doing more than one work at a time. When you're working on something, you have to pull all your energy and all your focus on that one thing at 1 in a time. Once that task is completed, you can move on to the next task. Work in a distraction free zone. Everyone has something in their life that distracts them from work. Time management strategies will never work out if you are emits distractions. But sometimes you're not even aware that something is actually causing distraction. You tend to overlook it completely. That is why you need to first make a list of all those things that you think are going to distract you. In this way, you'll be able to identify these distractions more easily. These can be things like items on your desk or the wall. If you are someone who works from home than distraction is something that'll definitely you'll have to deal with. Fix your working hours. And when you're working, do not let family members in the room. If you have a child than have someone look after the child while you're working, that your mind is not diverted from the task at hand. You also need to cut off interruptions when you're working. If you think carefully, then you'll notice that a major part of our work is comprised of communication. But sometimes when you're doing something that requires full concentration, you can't afford to be distracted by a phone call or email. Also, sometimes it's very tempting to have a peek at your inbox or those social media notifications that you've been getting about your newly uploaded profile picture. But you have to control that urge and remain focused on your work. Checking emails is an important task and it should not be skipped. But at the same time, checking your emails from time to time throughout the day will only hamper your concentration levels. So what you can do is set a fixed time during the day when you'll be handling all your emails. Now, when you're working, you can snooze then notifications ask your coworkers to not disturb you during that time period. Don't emphasize on ours, but the results. Some people have a bad habit of emphasizing more on the number of hours worked and Melinda results they produce. This is a very wrong concepts. When you focus more on your physical presence, it doesn't encourage you to be effective and in turn, leads to a factory like culture. If you keep on working for longer hours, you're not going to get good results because after a certain point of time, your brain will get tired. Also, when you are forced to work beyond a certain time period, you will not love your work because your work capacity is already over. All of these things will together lead to procrastination. If you're really interested in getting things done, then you'll have to emphasize more on what you have achieved. You'll also be able to stay productive and motivated throughout the day. If you remind yourself that you've already finished a lot of your tasks, irrespective of the number of hours that you've worked. Learn the One Minute Rule. The One Minute Rule is quite famous when it comes to overcoming procrastination and embracing time management. Here, one minute is referred to the time taken to perform a task. This means that if your to-do list has tasks that can be completed within a minute or two. You should do that task first. This is because when tasks can be completed in such a short time, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. If you start your day with these tasks, you will be motivated to complete even more tasks. Also, you'll be less overwhelmed and feel in control since you've already completed a few tasks. The idea behind this rule is really pleasant and helpful in dealing with procrastination. When you struggle with some tasks for a longer period of time, especially at the beginning of the day. It'll make you think about giving up on the task or scheduling it for the following day. But with the one-minute rule, you can prevent such a thing from happening. Learn to say no. You have to know your limits and every aspect of life. And the same goes for time management. Most people fail in managing their time because they end up saying yes to everything that comes their way. But if you truly want to keep the deadlines than you have to finish what's on your plate before you take up anything new. Moreover, if you take more work than you can handle, it'll eventually cause you to phase a burnout. I know that in the beginning it might feel intimidating to you to say no to your superiors, but you have to do it in an assertive yet polite manner. For starters, you'll have to give a reason as to why you're saying no to the task. The reason that you give should have proper reasoning. For example, you can state how many deadlines you have or how invested you are in the present project. That taking any new task will automatically affect the quality of your present project in a negative manner. You should also present your senior with your list of priorities so they can understand that you truly do have a lot on your plate. When your to do list is already overflowing, your superior will obviously take into reconsideration before assigning you anything. Also, some people construct fake excuses to say no, but that's not the right thing to do. You have to be honest and open because saying things that are not true will only affect your relationship with your boss. If your boss is determined about giving the task to you, then you can ask him or her whether you can resubmit it at a later date, show them that you're willing to do it. But not now because you don't want the quality of work to be compromised. You don't have to be one to refuse the work. But you can always negotiate for a better option. After you followed all these things, you should check your to do list again at the end of each day and perform an analysis. See what you have done and what remains to be done on the next day. When you see what you've accomplished, it'll give you a sense of satisfaction and motivation for the next day. If there's something on your list to which we were finding difficult to complete, take some time to break that task into smaller steps so that it becomes easy and doable. 5. Chapter 4: Step 4 - Be Realistic : Chapter four. Step four, be realistic. If you want to start procrastinating about things in life. You also have to be realistic about the amount of work you can do in a day. When you have realistic goals and you complete all of them, your confidence starts building so that you can start the next day with an even greater amount of confidence in you. The more realistic you are, the less overwhelmed you will feel. But being realistic sounds easier said than done. That is why I've outlined some tips which will help you become realistic in life. Keep a check on your imagination. It is true that in order to be creative, you have to let your imagination fly. And of course, there is nothing more beautiful and powerful than your imagination. But sometimes the human mind that ends up making imaginations that are impossible in real life. Using such imaginations to often will make you a dreamer and not a doer. Having big dreams and aspirations as a good thing. But you also have to act on those dreams in order to make them come true. If you keep imagining things that are never acted upon, They're not going to happen in your life. People will keep calling you a dreamer. If you want to be successful, Stop letting your imagination run your life. Imagine great things, and then devise actionable steps to turn those imaginations into realities. Control extreme fonts. When your thoughts become extreme and you start evaluating and judging everything too much and form opinionated versions of everything. And sometimes you even go too far with your opinions and end up exaggerating. You should be realistic. It is easy to see everything in a negative light, but you have to be optimistic and find the good in each situation. Extreme thoughts that are unnecessary and unrealistic leads to stress, which in turn makes you procrastinate about the task at hand, em keeps you avoiding it. That is why it's important that you make fair judgments and never jump to conclusions or too fast. Don't assume the negative when you meet someone and don't think that they dislike you, even when they haven't said anything like that, that is not reasonable. If you're realistic about these things, it will prevent you from making any type of rash decisions that can hamper your growth and your company. Be realistic about the expectations. One of the delicate aspects of being successful in beating procrastination is that you should have realistic expectations of the results. Overcoming procrastination takes time and you can't expect to achieve in, in a couple of days or weeks. It is a type of lifestyle that you have to adopt when you set unrealistic expectations and then fail to meet them, you go into a zone of disappointment or you start self-loathing and you become too harsh. But that is what drives you away from the process altogether. You need to motivate yourself and be your own best friend. So you cannot afford to be so harsh and rude. Treat yourself with love and tell yourself that you need to give yourself time for the result to come. This could do wonders for your journey. But if you have realistic expectations right from the beginning, there will be no hassle at all. In fact, once you complete the work within your timeline, there is no greater joy than that. Your goal is to show the outcome without suffering from any setbacks. And that can happen only when you know your limits. So in order to be realistic, you have to know yourself really well. And this way, you can develop a positive relationship with yourself. For example, if you already have a lot of work for Thursday, you shouldn't be taking any more work on that day. Instead, you can try to extend the work for the next week. If your work load is not balanced, it will hamper your productivity and you'll end up overextending your energy. Don't over promise. Another thing that you have to keep in mind to beat procrastination and also to be realistic is that you should step away from over promising when you know that you will not be able to keep the promise. Don't make the promise in the first place because it can easily cause problems with your client or your boss. This will bring you a bad reputation. If you're all ready, have a packed schedule than taking on something else means that you're increasing your stress. It's very easy to get Lord, into taking a new client because it means more money. But before doing that, ask yourself what will happen if you miss the deadline. It'll make the client angry and he or she will probably not give you any more contracts that you want that no. Right. Then stop those unrealistic expectations and don't over-promise. Give things some time. It is true that a very large part of overcoming procrastination involves overcoming laziness and bringing about a sense of self-discipline. But when people are actually able to do things, they cannot wait to get the results. As I've already explained. If you truly want to bid farewell to the toxic habit of procrastination, you also have to learn how to give things time so they can unfold in their own way. If you keep rushing at things, successful remain a far-fetched dream. The more you spend time on this Earth, the more you will realize that thinking realistically means understanding the fact that success is not going to come to you immediately. Similarly, if you have been giving an effort to overcome procrastination for a long time and haven't gotten any positive results. It doesn't mean that you have to give up. If you want to form a habit and forget the old ones, you can't be so unreasonable about the results. Your habit of procrastination is there for ages and it's not going to vanish into thin air just like that. So you need dedication and patients and you're definitely going to be this problem. 6. Chapter 5: Step 5 - Build Your Self-Belief: Chapter five, step five, Build your self-belief. If you're someone who's to-do list is getting longer by the day and you're still not finding it within yourself to get things done than there's not a shred of doubt that you are facing procrastination. Sometimes procrastination becomes so prevalent in the life of a person that it's how their day to day life just Luxe. But when you keep delaying things for later and the pile of work on your head keeps increasing by the day. It makes you feel less and less confident about completing any task. In fact, you keep your work accumulating in that manner. One day it will erode all your confidence. On the contrary, when all your work is up to date, you feel confident and you feel successful. This feeling in turn can motivate you to achieve greater heights. In this chapter, I'm going to explain how you can build your self belief because it is so important to believe in your own abilities if you want to start getting things done, visualize yourself as the winner. If you want to enhance your self-belief, The first thing that you have to do is make yourself feel that you are the winner. And no one can stop you from being a winner. You have to visualize yourself winning and achieving your goals. Yes, some people have this natural inclination toward being confident in life. But even then, there might be situations where you have to face some tough hurdles and there might be a crack and your confidence if you don't maintain self-belief. That is why what you need is an unshakable faith in your own self and your personal competence. The several obstacles that will come your way will introduce you to negative things in life. But you have to remind yourself of what victory looks like. And you have to bask in that victory in your mind. This will make you want to achieve that victory even more. You'll not give in to procrastination. And it can be something like taking on a new project or losing 50 pounds, whatever it is, you have to practice visualizing it on a daily basis. And this is how you're making yourself exposed to the taste of winning. And once you get that taste, you'll know how good it feels and you'll instantly developed the courage required to cross the hurdles and your path. No matter how small the win is, every when in your daily life will be promoting you towards the ultimate goal. Find out the reason behind the temporary disbelief. You have to re-evaluate your situation. Where do you stand on a daily basis? And you can do that by working on your strengths and figuring them out. When you find out your strengths. You will also get a sense of what your limitations are. And you have to perform the exercise very honestly. This is the process of unpacking. And in the end, you will know where the disbelief is actually coming from. Take half an hour off from your schedule and create two lists. One of them will have your strengths and the other one you are limitations. Don't stress too much while creating this. You don't necessarily have to churn out every single quality and limitation that you have. The purpose of this list is to jot down everything that comes at once to your mind. Which means that it is very obvious to you. But when you're creating the list, don't exaggerate on anything and be as honest as you can. Also, the list has to be comprehensive. If it becomes too long, then it means that you're hyper-focused on listing each and every thing and thus end up listing the insignificant things as well. Some questions that will help you make the two lists are, what are you always getting a compliment about? What are the activities that you love doing? What activities do you dread? What tasks have you been completing effortlessly? Even when it's complicated? Answering these questions is going to give you a rough idea of what your limitations and strengths are. Once you complete the lists, you will know where your temporary beliefs come from. And identifying it is so important because otherwise, you won't be able to move forward with your life. And if you want success, you'll have to move forward. Practice self-affirmation. Positive affirmations have been proven to help people out of even the greatest circumstances. These positive affirmations can be small sentences or phrases that you can say to yourself throughout the course of the day. And you'll be building self-belief and your subconscious mind without even realizing that you're doing so. So first, start by making a list of all those possible things that you want to say to yourself. These affirmations should be something that you want to say to yourself when you're under self-doubt or with huge barriers in front of you. Some people think that self affirmations have to be true. But now there is no hard and fast rule about that. These can be anything, things that make you believe in your own abilities. They should be framed in such a manner that we'll show you the reflection of the person that you want to be in your life. When you keep repeating these affirmations throughout the day, all the assumptions that you have regarding life and yourself will start reshaping. And your inner beliefs are going to go through a gradual change. You'll start perceiving yourself in a more positive light. And one day you will know that all those self affirmations that you've been repeating to yourself have in fact come true. In fact, procrastination can actually put a lot of stress on you and work accumulates. But you can get a relief from these self-affirmation as they will make you feel good and confident. You'll become more aware. And this awareness will drive you to challenge your negative thoughts, head on and replace them with positive thoughts. You will automatically become more optimistic and more happy. Try something every day that you think you cannot do. Fear is what keeps you trapped and prevents you from achieving greater heights in life. You will constantly be thinking that you cannot achieve something just because you fear it. But one of the most effective ways of overcoming that fear is to try something new every day. You don't have to try anything very big. And fact experts advise that you should actually start small and then gradually move on to the bigger stuff. When you start with the smaller risks that you feared before, you will realize that each day you are reducing your fear, even if it's by a bit. Treat this as a challenge and continue doing it for the next 30 days. With every experience that you have, you will gain confidence and courage. One of the biggest reasons for procrastination is putting off things for later just because you think you won't be able to complete it. But that might not be true. And you'll never know if you can do it. You don't at least take the first step. No matter how much you try, you won't be able to beat procrastination if you don't overcome your fears. If you are still finding it difficult to do, then think about the worst-case scenario that can happen if you undertake the task. More often than not, you will find that the worst-case scenario isn't that bad. It is true that fear does not always go away. But what happens is that you learn to confront it. And that is what is more important when it comes to moving forward in life. People often fail to be productive because they think if they tried to do the task, the entire project is going to fall apart. But if you overcome that fear, you will learn to keep faith in yourself. Always question your inner critic. There are so many people who face problems in taming their inner critic. If you don't know what the inner critic is, well, it is those moments when you have a conversation with yourself. If your inner critic is supportive, then that will actually help you in achieving everything you want in life. But if your inner critic keeps demeaning you constantly, it will serve as the biggest obstacle in your path and prevent you from reaching goals. For example, if someone has going for a job interview, their inner critic either tell them that they're going to do well in the interview, or it might tell them that they're not going to get the job because they're useless. These negative predictions made by your inner critic are what you need to control. You already know how your emotions and productivity levels can be influenced by your thought processes. And negative self-talk is possibly going to be your worst enemy here. If you continue doing this than one day, you'll wake up and see that your self-worth has hit rock bottom. That's why it's important to start becoming aware of how you can think, of how you truly hear your own narrations that keep a check on the negative self-talk. Most of the time, you'll see that your thoughts are either disproportionate or bias or exaggerated when you just had a bad day at the office, the most common thing to do is replay the events over and over and over in your head. This is called ruminating. And it's only going to make the situation worse. If you think you're being too much of a pessimist, then you have to find a more realistic thought or approach to the same matter and then start thinking in that realistic manner. Stop comparing yourself. Every one of us has given in to the temptation of comparing ourselves with others. This cycle of thought is definitely not a healthy one. Whether you are comparing your riches, talents or anything else, it'll make you feel small and unimportant in front of the other person. It also gives rise to envy, which is not a good thing to have in your life. You have to realize that life is not a competition and that everyone has their own race to run. So you shouldn't be comparing your journey to somebody else's. There are so many forms of social comparisons in today's world. But there's one common thing that you will notice in humans. And that is whenever we are present among a lot of people, and instant thought process goes on in our heads, whereby we create a comparison and then form an unspoken hierarchy. And this social comparison has become even worse because of the presence of social media. Everyone is splitting updates of their life and you keep thinking whether what you're doing is enough. Another reason why people compare themselves to others is because of the presence of competitive friends. There's an upside to competition, and it will only work when your competition is healthy. 7. Chapter 6: Step 6 - Learn to Forgive Yourself : Chapter six, step six, learn to forgive yourself. You will often see people thinking that forgiveness is what you do to other people. But now it's not. The real reason behind forgiveness is so that you can move forward with your life. Once you've been forgiven for what you did. The same thing applies to procrastination. How many times have you beat yourself up just because you were procrastinating? I bet plenty. Because it happens to all of us. You're not the only one who criticizes your own self so harshly, just because you've given in to procrastination. But do you know what the solution is? It's actually quite the opposite of what you were doing. You have to learn how to forgive yourself and everything will be good. People often view procrastination as some kind of offense a person is doing against our own self. And when they give in to that temptation, they feel guilty and even feel ashamed of what they've done. But if you forgive yourself, you'll actually be able to fight off those negative feelings and the emotional distress that it's associated with procrastination. Also, it has been noticed that when people practice self forgiveness, their future behavior has also changed and they don't repeat the same mistakes again. You have to remind yourself that self forgiveness is not all a weakness. In fact, it takes a lot of courage to forgive yourself for something that you know was wrong. Moreover, it doesn't mean that you're condoning your behavior. It means that you've realized that your actions were wrong and you fully acknowledge what happened. This feeling of acknowledgement is what will help you move forward with your life. Steps to follow for forgiveness. If you don't know where to start, follow these tips in order to learn how you can forgive yourself. Take responsibility. When you forgive yourself, it is not only about leaving the past behind. There is so much more self forgiveness than just that. When you're engaging in self forgiveness, you willingly forgive yourself for the things that you did. And this means that you are being compassionate to yourself. The first step in doing that is acknowledging what happened and taking responsibility for it. And doing so, you're taking the first step in the right direction. But I must also tell you that this is going to be the hardest step if you are not accepting the fact in your mind that what you did was wrong, or if you were somehow trying to justify or rationalize what you did so that the action becomes acceptable. It's not going to help you. You have to take responsibility for your actions and face the fact that what you did was wrong. If you had put off your tasks for today or tomorrow and then shifted them again to the next day. That was wrong and you shouldn't have done that. And you have to realize this if you want to start getting things done from now on, show remorse. You will see that once you start taking responsibility for your deeds, guilt and regret will no longer be bothering you like before. Nonetheless, you will be facing them in some amount. And you don't have to worry because facing these feelings is completely normal. And it shows that you understand what you did was wrong. In fact, in most cases, people show a change towards positive emotions only after feeling guilty of giving and procrastination in the first place. People often feel worthless when they experienced shame. And those moments, you have to take the responsibility to make yourself understand that your intrinsic value does not automatically dropped to 0 just because you made a mistake. You do not become a bad person. You are still you. This is why you will have to show remorse so that you can move forward with your life. You will remain stuck in one position if you experienced too much self condemnation and shame. Repair the damage that has happened. A very important part of self forgiveness is making amends. People think that making amends have to be made only when you're asking forgiveness from someone else. But now you have to make amends with yourself to, otherwise you will never remain at peace. Think of it this way. When someone else asks for your forgiveness after they've done something wrong, do you forgive them right away or do you wait for them to make it up to you? I'm guessing the ladder. Well, the same applies to your own self. When you procrastinate, you are making a mistake and you have to make it up to yourself so that you can forgive yourself. Moreover, when you try to repair the damage that you've caused and then ask for forgiveness. You will feel that you've earned the forgiveness and not just given it to yourself. Concentrate on renewal. When you make a mistake, it is completely normal that you feel regretful, but giving in to the self-pity and rumination is not right. And it's going to hamper your growth. It will also destroy your motivation and break your self-esteem. One of the essential parts about forgiveness is to find a way in which you can engage in self-growth and renewal. And you can do that by learning from your mistakes and the experience you gained in the process. You have to analyze yourself and figure out why you did what you did. Then. You also have to ask yourself why you've been feeling guilty for your actions. Ask yourself what you have in mind to ensure the same thing is not going to be repeated in the future. Everyone makes mistakes and messes up things. But you don't have to keep punishing yourself for it forever. Treat every mistake as the learning experience so that you are in the same situation in the future. When you make better decisions, you'll find that your situation becomes so much easier. You have to learn to let go so that you can finally work on your self-image and boost your feelings of positivity and happiness. Benefits of self forgiveness. There are several benefits associated with self forgiveness. And I'm going to explain them here so that you are even more inclined to practice it yourself. Mental health. People have so many misgivings about the entire concept of self forgiveness. There are so many people who think that if they forgive themselves for something they did, They will eventually become incompetent, lazy and unsuccessful. They develop this belittling mindset. And because of this, they end up sabotaging any positive development that they've made in their life. When you learn to let go and engage in self forgiveness, the greatest benefits will be on your mental health. Your emotional well-being should be given top priority. And forgiving yourself ensures that you will also be at a lower risk of anxiety and depression. And the same way, when you practice compassion towards yourself, you're setting yourself up for greater focus, productivity, and success. Physical health. As you must already know, your mental and physical health are very much related. You take up too much stress and thus in turn, can lead to severe physical complications like depression, anxiety, or even sleep problems. Your stress levels are high. And this can also lead to hormonal imbalances. On the contrary, those people who are capable of forgiving their own selves have much lesser mortality rates and lesser negative symptoms on their health relationships. Self forgiveness is important for dealing with procrastination. But at the same time, the stress that results from the guilt and realization that you've done something wrong can also affect your personal and societal relationships. But when you start becoming compassionate, your personal relationships also show signs of improvement. When you learn to repair the bonds with yourself, you also get to know how you can repair any misunderstandings that's formed in your relationships. After having said all of the good things about self forgiveness, I must also say that there are several challenges that are gonna come your way. At times, the act of self forgiveness can become too difficult to even think about. Even when people make minor mistakes, they continue their toxic cycle of self-loathing and punishment. And this in turn leads to regret and shame. This is because some people mostly are naturally inclined to give into rumination. That is why it is easier for them to think negatively at all times. And what makes the process even more challenging is the fact that self forgiveness means that you have to accept to yourself that what you did was wrong. The process becomes even harder for those who are not so much inclined toward making changes in their life. And in fact, some people find excuses to justify their behavior by practicing pseudo self forgiveness. But they don't actually move on and remain stuck in one place and their mind. In such a situation, beating procrastination can become really difficult. Also, whatever I said in this chapter is not a one size fits all thing. So if some strategy is working for you, it might not work for someone else. The human mind works differently and everyone. But you have to work on enhancing your self-compassionate nature. And you have to take small steps toward this every day. 8. Chapter 7: Step 7 - Get Rid of Perfectionist Tendencies : Chapter seven, step seven, and get rid of perfectionist tendencies. The worst enemy that probably anyone can face in their life as a combination of procrastination and perfectionism. It goes on like a loop and is also the most difficult thing to overcome. It also generates a lot of stress. But first, let me explain to you what perfectionism really means. It can be explained in various ways, but it's mostly about demanding perfection from everything you do in life. And having very high standards. Ask yourself how often you are procrastinating just because you thought you were going to have a bad performance. And so why not do the task later? Most people develop the habit of procrastination because they think by doing the task later, they're going to do it in the most perfect way possible. A perfectionist is never satisfied with the work they do. And they always feel bad that they did it less than the way that they wanted to. A common consequences anxiety. When people engage in perfectionism, they have very high expectations of themselves. And when it's time to perform, they start having cold feet and doubt their own ability at whether they're able to achieve that level of perfection or not. In this way, they give in to the urge of diverting from what they should actually be doing and put the task off for later. They keep waiting for the day when they will be perfect for the task and that day never really comes. This is how the toxic cycle of perfectionism and procrastination works. The perfectionism attitude can either exist because of the judgements that you have for yourself or from a fear of being judged by others. But whatever the reason is, you're going to become anxious. And then after a certain point of time, you are going to be putting off the task for too long. You start developing feelings of shame. This feeling of shame then acts as a constant reminder of the fact that you did not actually complete the task and you have to get it done right now. But then, since you are a perfectionist, you are not able to complete the task. And the cycle goes on and on and on. You have to remember that you are not alone in this journey. There are several people who are feeling the same as you and stop giving in to panic. Because there was a way in which you can come out of this cycle of procrastination. Lower your bar of perfection. The first step toward breaking off from this toxic cycle is to realize that not everything in life has to be perfect. Some things are always imperfect and there is nothing wrong with that. When you want to accomplish something in life, it's going to take some time and you should give yourself that time. Inculcating self-discipline, especially when you are suffering from procrastination, is a slow process. And you have to wait patiently. Remind yourself every day that you cannot accomplish everything at once. Even if you've made certain mistakes. It's completely okay. And there's no need to be too harsh on yourself. Making mistakes is what being human is all about. But whatever I just said now it's probably not going to stay in your mind forever. And you're going to forget it at times when your anxiety levels become too much to handle. If you keep aiming for the highest expectations at every turn, nothing is ever going to get completed. And you'll be stuck with a lot of work on your desk. I'm not asking you to be lazy. You simply have to understand that sometimes being graded as b is far better than F. If you want to lower the bar of perfection, it is your decision to make. Everything that you do doesn't require 100%. And there's nothing wrong with that. Break your tasks down. The main thing about perfectionism and procrastination is all or none thinking. If you have some task at hand, for example, developing a new website for your client, don't see it as a single task. Otherwise, it will remain in your to-do list forever. You have to break down the task so that there are actionable steps that you can follow and make the task more manageable. Moreover, when you break one single task into ten bite-sized tasks, you will have ten entries in your to-do list. And whatever you complete one of them, you give a tick mark on its side and it brings a feeling of accomplishment in satisfaction. This will motivate you to work more, and then you will complete the entire task without procrastination. Motivation can be drawn from something as simple as crossing things off your to-do list. Also, this promotes you into getting things done. Also, remember that no task is too small to be written down on your list. If there is an event that you are arranging. If there is an event that you are arranging and you have been given the duty of decoration, then you can make an entry for Google the best decorations in the area. It might sound silly to you, but it's not because Googling the best decorations won't take up much time. And when you finish the task and check it off the list, you'll feel accomplished and motivated for the next task. This will bring a greater amount of positivity and self-discipline. Keep track of time. I'm asking you to keep track of time because it's very common for procrastinators and perfectionist to lose track of time in their hand, and then they end up not keeping any time for self-care. This happens even more when they're into some task that is highly anxiety inducing. There is a special technique called the Pomodoro Technique, which is quite effective in time management. Firstly, you have to select the task that you want to get done. The nature of the task doesn't really matter. What matters is your willingness to do it no matter how small or big it is. The next step is to set the timer at 25 minutes. It is the time for you to do the task. Remember that when the timer goes off, you are not going to work on the task anymore. If anything pops up in your end while you're working on this task, you can either write it down for later. If it's unimportant, brush that data side and return to work. Once the timer goes off, put a mark next to the task like the tally system. And this way, at the end of the day, you will know exactly how much time was spent on each task. After the span of 25 minutes, take a short break of five-minutes. Once you have completed for such pomodoros amounting to 100 minutes, you can take a longer break for say, 30 minutes. The main aim of this activity is to help you understand how much time you require for any particular activity. A major benefit of this technique is that you are able to reduce any interruptions during working and this increases your work efficiency. Moreover, at the end of the day, you will have sufficient time to either socialize or engage in self-care, or both. Surround yourself with positivity. It is true that life can easily become overwhelming when you are trying to handle too many things at a time and you are trying to do it all on your own. That is why it is advised that you have a partner by your side who will serve as your positive support. This partner can be anyone like your parents, your spouse, your child, or a life coach. This person can also give you support and perspective when you don't have any. If you're finding it difficult to find support or you think that one person can't provide you with enough. Take a piece of paper and write down the exact support you need this moment. Then think carefully as to who can provide that support to you. Say, you know, is important. You cannot do everything you want. It is not possible. Mostly because the time we have in hand is limited for you to do all of it. But people often have this tendency that they have to please each and every person in their life. And in order to do that, they end up taking so many tasks that they can't handle it. When you have too much on your plate, which is possibly more than you can eat. It is natural for you to feel overwhelmed. And then the cycle of self destruction and procrastination starts all over again. In order to say no, you have to learn a few things and delegation is one of them. So was learning how to streamline your schedule. If something is not that urgent or immediate, you have to say no to it. Constructing some limits in your schedule is important because it will help you in clearing your mind so that you can see everything in a better perspective. And in fact, when you limit your schedule, you can keep some time for yourself, when you can do activities that you really enjoy. Everyone has certain obligations that they cannot give up on, no matter what. But even among such a busy schedule, you have to find time for yourself. And to do things like catch up with old friends or treat yourself to a sumptuous dinner at someplace to IIT. Reward yourself. The act of rewarding yourself whenever you achieve something no matter how small it is, can boost your motivation and urge you to move forward with even greater vigor. The reward that you choose for yourself and doesn't have to be too big or grand. It's simply has to be meaningful and sustainable. And it should have parody with the difficulty of the task. When you have completed a task, positive reinforcement not only makes you feel good about yourself, but also prepares you for the next task at hand. Some rewards may be alike. Eating your favorite snacks, watching one episode of your favorite series, or reading a few pages of a book. Whatever you choose, they must be fun treats, and they will also serve as a short break emits your schedule so that you can start your next task with a clear head. But let's clarify one thing once and for all. Procrastination is not the same as laziness, and you should not treat them in the same way as well. The loop of perfectionism needs to be broken. And you have to do it if you want to maintain your sanity and creativity. If you let it happen, then it will only take a toll on your mental health causing emotional exhaustion and self-doubt. You have to remind yourself that no one cares about what you do. Everyone is too busy in their own world. And so you have to let go of that fear of being judged and complete the task at hand. There's a difference between perfection and excellence. When an experience motivates you and you enjoy doing the task, you automatically develop confidence in yourself. And this is what excellence is. But perfectionism is something quite the opposite of this. Negative feelings take over your mind. And no matter how good the result was, you keep judging your work and criticize in the worst way possible. 9. Conclusion - How to Stop Procrastinating: Conclusion. Thank you for making it through to the end of how to stop procrastinating. Let's hope it was informative, unable to provide you with all the tools you need to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Procrastination is something that has plagued everyone at some point or other in their life. But there are some people who suffer from it more than others. These people are called habitual procrastinators. And for them, life can become really difficult. And this guide, I aimed at providing a solution to procrastination by outlining a seven step process. Procrastination can happen to anyone and in any manner. If you have a task that you find boring, you put it off for later instead of completing it. Now, that is what procrastination is. If you take the necessary steps before the situation goes out of hand, it'll still be easy for you to get back on track. But sometimes people are so immersed in it that reinstating self-discipline takes a lot of time. You have to realize that beating procrastination is not something you can do in one day. It will take time and you have to be patient before you start noticing any changes. Whether you're a chronic procrastinator or not. This guide is going to help you out of this situation with the help of some simple steps. If left unnoticed, procrastination can quickly become a part of your lifestyle. So you need to take steps the moment you realize that you have been procrastinating a lot lately, I will urge you not to take this problem lightly. There might be times when your friends joke about it, but it can actually affect your goals and aspirations and keep you locked in one place for a long time. But if you follow these steps mentioned here, overcoming procrastination will become easy and you will also be able to maximize your productivity.