I’ll Quit Procrastinating Tomorrow

Before I came overseas I saw a bumper sticker that claimed, “I put the pro in procrastination!” and I had to chuckle because I know firsthand how easy it is to put things off. It’s all too easy to say “I’ll do it later,” when it’s time to tackle something. Later often becomes tomorrow, and tomorrow winds up becoming next week, and then next week … well, you get it. It’s a vicious cycle.

Procrastination can cause headaches you might not even think of. Let’s say your cupboards are bare but don’t feel like going to the grocery store so you decide to go out to dinner instead. That’s fine, but a lot of times going out to dinner is so much fun and so much easier than cooking that you might put off going to the grocery store again the next day and grab something at a restaurant instead. Whew, that was a mouthful. Anyway, all that dining out will add up quickly (most sit-down restaurants charge almost 3 bucks for a Coke these days!) and you’ll wind up spending much more money than you normally spend on food. This can throw off your budget and give you less money to spend on bills or other necessities.

7 Practical Ways to Quit Procrastinating

Most of you know by now that I’m a huge fan of lists, so I’ve created a quick list of tips that might help you stop procrastinating:

  1. Write down what needs to be done. Break out a pad of paper and a pen and write down what you need to do over the next week.
  2. Create a detailed timeline. Figure out what needs to be finished when. You can write the “due dates” directly on your list, or you can write them on your calendar.
  3. Break your projects into smaller tasks if possible. I’ve found that breaking specific goals up into smaller mini-goals is really helpful as I try to achieve things. If you have to write a ten page paper for a class, figure out a halfway point so you have a milestone to meet along the way. It will be a lot easier to finish the entire paper if you know you have to get five pages done by Wednesday and another five pages done by Saturday.
  4. Prioritize. If your list contains a few items, rank them in order of importance. Your laundry needs to be washed, but mowing the lawn might take top priority right now because you still have enough clothes to last you for a few days and the grass is getting really tall.
  5. Stop making things seem harder than they really are. For some reason, I tend to procrastinate about doing stuff that really isn’t all that hard. It just happens because I’m feeling lazy, and like I said earlier once I put something off for a day or two it’s easy to keep putting it off.
  6. Remind yourself what’s going to happen if you keep procrastinating. You might get an F on a paper if you don’t hand it in on time, you might have to wear dirty clothes to work if you don’t do your laundry, you might get a fine from your homeowners association if you don’t mow the lawn already … tell yourself what’s going to happen because of your procrastination. Those are silly examples, but putting things off does have consequences—some worse than others.
  7. Just do it, already! Take some advice from Nike and just do it! Most likely it won’t be nearly as bad as you think.

When do you find yourself procrastinating most? Is it when there’s something more appealing that you’d rather do? Help me out, and give me your tricks to get stuff done! I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you.

Take Action. Get Results.

12 thoughts on “I’ll Quit Procrastinating Tomorrow”

  1. I think that a lot of my own procrastination comes from being uninterested in what needs to be done. It’s so easy to neglect things that we don’t want to do. I find it infinitely easier to motivate myself to do something that I like doing.

    Clean the toilet or eat chocolate and watch funny YouTube videos?

    Hmmmm… I’ll take the chocolate and YouTube.

    I think maturity is one of the best cures for the procrastination bug. It takes a high degree of consideration for what needs to be done, as well as a high degree of courage, to overcome procrastination and get moving.

    Thank you for sharing this list of practical tips that a person can use immediately to practice being mature about getting things done.

    • It is a good thing you separate the two, eating chocolate WHILE cleaning a toilet would just seem, “wrong”.

      You are right, maturity is a cornerstone in beating procrastination. Unfortunately maturity is not something that is always gifted with age. I have met some 16-18 year old that are very responsible and self motivators and some in their 40’s who wouldn’t get up off their asses if the house was burning down around them.

      Most people are guilty of procrastination at some time or another. I know I certainly am. The important thing is that you DO NOT procrastinate more often than you DO

  2. Hi Steve, I really like your list! I used to be a terrible procrastinator and a lot of that was perfectionism. I didn’t know if I could make it “perfect” so I didn’t want to start. Now I realize that very good is plenty good enough, and with the web, you can always fix it again later.

  3. Jennifer,

    I know what you mean. I certainly have had the occasional, “If I do not have time to do it 100%, why bother at all” attitude.

    Just getting it done is a huge. Like you said particularly online you can fix it later.

    Even in real life, where there are no “takebacks” a mediocre decision is far superior than a well thought out “nothing”- That bit of wisdom took me a long time to figure out myself

  4. Steve,

    The one main reason that I see myself procrastinating, is perfectionism. I’ve written a number of posts related to perfectionism on my blog, and hoped that it would help me and others having a similar concern, but I would say that it is still the number 1 factor for me procrastinating things. If I could not find the time to do it perfectly, I would tend to prefer to leave it for later rather than start with it. Well, I have come up with a technique that I call “The Power of Version 1.0”, which seems to be quite effective. I’ll be writing a post about it sometime soon.

    By the way, thanks for dropping by my blog. I had a related question in response to your comment, and hope that you can make time to visit my blog once again to let me know what you think about that one.

    PS: I don’t know what happened to Akismet, but it had send one of your earlier comments into Spam. I’m glad I fished it out of there before it disappeared.

    Success always,

  5. Sometimes you have to let things go even if they aren’t perfect. It will drive you crazy trying to dot every “I” over time.

    Just getting it done is superior to a delay that keeps it from getting out there. Particularly online where minor mistakes can be corrected later.

  6. Awesome Post Steve – genuinely!
    I think I needed that too atm, lol.
    Point no. 3 and 6 are the most poignant for me, and I think the most valid overall too.
    Although no. 7 outweighs them all for sheer direct instruction!

    Love this post man! I’m bookmarking it (so that I can come back and procrastinate over it tomorrow 🙂 )

    • Alex,

      Glad you like it man! 🙂 Surely there is nothing NEW there, but I love a good kick in the ass sometimes myself to remind me to get back on track.

      You are absolutely right, Nike’s “Just do it” slogan, simple and effective as it is; is pure beauty to combat all forms of procrastination.

      Of course a post saying just: ” Like Nike says: Just Do It! ” might not be THAT popular despite the sweet brevity.

  7. Some good suggestions, although I occasionally find myself procrastinating making the list itself. Once I do make a list, I find crossing things off (i.e. getting things done) extremely gratifying…

    • Ronika,

      I agree, there is a definite sense of accomplishment when you actually check off that completed task. It is a great feeling when they are almost all crossed off (of course that means a new list!)

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a nice comment, hope to see you here again!

      Have a great weekend!

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