Procrastination, the act of delaying or postponing tasks, is a common phenomenon that affects people from all walks of life. While it may seem like a harmless habit, it can lead to significant negative consequences, such as missed deadlines, decreased productivity, and increased stress levels. If you’re someone who struggles with procrastination, you’re not alone. However, there are several strategies backed by scientific research that can help you overcome this habit and get more done. In this article, we’ll explore some of these strategies and the evidence behind them.

  1. Set Specific Goals

One of the most effective ways to overcome procrastination is to set specific goals. Instead of simply saying, “I need to finish this project,” break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, you might set a goal to research the topic for an hour, write an outline, or complete a specific section of the project. By breaking the task down into smaller goals, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more motivated to get started.

Research has shown that setting specific goals can increase motivation and performance (Locke & Latham, 2002). A study by Gollwitzer and colleagues (2009) found that people who set specific goals were more likely to follow through with them than those who simply stated a general intention.

  1. Use Implementation Intentions

Implementation intentions are specific plans for when, where, and how you will complete a task. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll work on this project tomorrow,” you might say, “I’ll work on this project from 9-11am tomorrow in my home office with no distractions.” By creating a detailed plan, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your intentions.

Research has shown that implementation intentions can be effective in overcoming procrastination (Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006). A study by Webb and Sheeran (2003) found that people who created implementation intentions were more likely to follow through with their intentions than those who did not.

  1. Practice Self-Compassion

Procrastination can often lead to feelings of guilt and shame, which can make the habit even harder to break. One way to overcome these negative emotions is to practice self-compassion. This involves treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and empathy, rather than harsh criticism.

Research has shown that self-compassion can be an effective tool for overcoming procrastination (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013). A study by Sirois and colleagues (2015) found that people who practiced self-compassion were less likely to procrastinate and had better self-regulation skills than those who did not.

  1. Use Time Management Strategies

Effective time management can be a powerful tool for overcoming procrastination. One strategy is to use the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for a set amount of time (usually 25 minutes) and then taking a short break. This can help break up the work into manageable chunks and keep you focused.

Research has shown that the Pomodoro Technique can be effective in increasing productivity and reducing procrastination (Schröder et al., 2017). A study by Sánchez-Meca and colleagues (2018) found that the technique was particularly effective for people who were prone to procrastination.

  1. Focus on the Benefits

Finally, it can be helpful to focus on the benefits of completing a task, rather than the drawbacks of procrastination. For example, instead of thinking, “I have to finish this project,” focus on the positive outcomes of completing it, such as feeling accomplished or gaining new skills.

Research has shown that focusing on the benefits can be an effective strategy for overcoming procrastination (Ferrari et al., 2019).

While these 5 suggestions can be useful there is one huge problem. Without changing the underlying belief that makes you procrastinate, the long-term transformation will never happen. In fact, studies show that without addressing your beliefs the average person won’t make change last longer than 6 months.

To solve this problem I’ve created a procrastination workshop training called The Winner’s Mindset which will not only help you stop procrastinating but address the beliefs that sabotage your efforts to take action long-term. For more information check out The Winner’s Mindset Here.

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