3 Simple Steps to Overcome Procrastination

posted in: Productivity 4

3 Simple Steps to Overcome Procrastination Are you avoiding something that needs to be completed today or this week?

You want to be done with that looming monster of a task, but you just don’t have the motivation or desire to finally settle down and start work.

In this post, I offer a simple three-step method for you to overcome your procrastination and tackle whatever it is you’ve been putting off.

Are you ready to get things done?

Let’s get started!

Three Simple Steps to Getting Things Done

It couldn’t possibly be *that* easy to overcome your procrastination, could it? It should be difficult, right?

You should have deep inner turmoil about not working on your annual review.

You should engage in an intense conversation with yourself about why you didn’t run those household errands.

Lastly, you should describe how much intense pain and effort it will take to give  your dog, Fido, a much-needed bath.

Well, the reality is that you could do all of those things, but they won’t be useful to you if you’re really serious about getting things done. A surefire way to get over procrastination is to simply to take action, and well, just do it. I know, I know, this sounds all rather direct and unimaginative, but it works.

Sometimes it can be a hassle to take that action right away, so I’ve come up with a clever way to help build yourself up to that action mode. You could think of it as building a little ramp to help yourself get ready to do your work. So, are you wondering what the three steps are?

They are really quite simple. They are: preparation, comfort, and action. Now, the last step, action, makes perfect sense, but the first two? Where do preparation and comfort come into the mix? Ah, this is where my clever little trick comes in!

When you procrastinate, you tend to do anything, or everything, that is not related to what it is you’re supposed to be doing. Suddenly, filing that stack of files seems more appealing that running that financial report. All of a sudden doing the laundry is more appealing than doing your income taxes. What my little trick does is to mix together that tendency of doing other tasks that are seemingly unrelated to your work.

The only thing is that you’ll secretly be setting yourself up for success. Here’s how it works:

Preparation is where you take care of putting into place of all the things you’ll need for your work. It’s a subtle form of procrastinating. You think you’re not actually working on that report by taking out your laptop and switching it on, but you’re still getting one step closer to your goal.

Comfort is where you take care of making yourself as physically comfortable as possible so your work won’t seem like pure torture. Grabbing a cup of coffee? Getting your favorite pen and notebook? Again, this may seem like you’re procrastinating. But in the end, you are making things comfortable for yourself so you can accomplish your work with less fuss.

We’re now going to go over the specific steps you’ll need to take to get over your bout of procrastination.

A little word of caution: if you’re not up to doing all of the steps in order, and doing everything as written, you will have a problem. You probably won’t get that thing done. However, if you follow the instructions, step-by-step, you will have a much better chance of breaking through that seemingly sturdy wall of procrastination.

Organize materials needed to complete your task.

This is the preparation stage. You are going to collect, organize, and prepare everything you will need to finish your work. If things are scattered about your home or office, you can make a brief list first, and then collect everything and organize it at a desk, table or workstation.

For example, if you’re working at the computer on a report, you’d switch the computer on, log-in, open any necessary programs or windows, pull out any notes, reference materials, and so on.

If you’re supposed to be running errands, you’d get dressed, put on your shoes, grab your house and car keys, and make an errand list.

Get comfortable.

This is the comfort stage. You are going to make your upcoming work experience as physically comfortable for yourself as possible. Try getting creative during this stage; as it will make the upcoming task seem a little less burdensome.

If you’re working at the office on the computer, you’d make yourself a delicious cup of coffee or tea, switch off your smart phone so as not be distracted, and sit in your favorite chair or workspace.

If you’re running errands via your car, you’d pop in your favorite energizing or inspiring music, turn up the air conditioning or heat, and perhaps make a plan to have a little reward after you finish your work — perhaps a trip to your favorite cafe or a walk through your favorite local park.

Set a timer for one hour…and get to work.

Ok, here’s where things get serious. Make note of the time on a clock or set a timer on your cell phone for sixty minutes. Now, turn your focus to the task at hand and do your work.

I know, it seems like one hour will be absolutely forever. That’s an entire sixty minutes! Oh, and yes, you could possibly complain or procrastinate your way through the whole ordeal, kicking and screaming about why you don’t want to do your work, but let me gently remind you about two key things.

One, you’ve already pulled out everything you need to do your work. It would be a shame to let all of that hard work go to waste, and having to return everything back to where it belongs, with nothing to show for it, and to still complain about the work you have to do, tomorrow and beyond. Ouch.

Two, you only have to work for one hour. That’s just a little over 4 percent of your entire day. One hour. That’s it. You can do this! Take a deep breath, and do your work. You might even find that once you get started, one hour will fly by, and you won’t want to stop your work. When you’re done, you won’t have to think the task for the rest of the day. Plus, it will be finished.

There you have it, a simple three-step method to getting what needs to be done. Prepare your materials, make yourself comfortable, and do that work. You’ll be glad you did.

How about you? How have you overcome procrastination in the past? Are you going to give the above method a try? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
Latest posts from

4 Responses

  1. Juanita Vega DeJoseph
    |

    Just did 45 minutes with coffee mug nearby timer on and I finished going through a large pile of fabric and made four different piles that went into two pillow cases and two rectangular containers. My sewing/office room is slowly getting organized!

    • Rashelle
      |

      That’s fantastic! Keep up the good work. 🙂 Large organization projects are much more manageable when they are broken into chunks.

      If you’re looking for even more motivation, keep a little notebook record of your accomplishments, or tape a piece of paper to the wall. Write down what you’ve accomplished during each of your sessions, and watch your progress soar!

  2. Jeff A.
    |

    These are really Simple steps to get something done. Where are the steps to overcome procrastination?