5 Life Hacks to Stop Procrastinating Now

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You procrastinate because you thrive under last-minute pressure, right? And you’re waiting for the perfect moment to have that super-awkward conversation.

Girl, that’s not why you procrastinate. That is procrastination.

And now the weight of your perpetually growing to-do list is becoming a little exhausting. Let’s change that.

Procrastination results from fundamental causes like lack of structure (wait, I have to decide when to start?) and gaps between action and payoff (is choosing this salad really going to make a difference?).

You can overcome those factors — and become a person who starts! — by adopting these habits of non-procrastinators.

 

1. Revert to old school timepieces.

Smartphones are the greatest procrastination enablers known to mankind. This is why productivity expert Julie Morgenstern bought herself a simple desk clock. The act of picking up your smartphone to see the time can send you down an insane rabbit hole of posts, memes, games, texts and voicemails. Stick with the tick-tocker instead.

 

2. Give it 120 seconds.

As David Allen famously says, knock out tasks that can be completed within two minutes. Answer the yes or no email. Take out the trash. Give your RSVP. See how easy that was? Now go bigger. James Clear, guru of good habits, knows you can’t achieve your lifelong dreams in two minutes, but you can start them in that time. Want to write a novel? Sit down and write a sentence. Want to be a healthier eater? Chomp on a piece of fruit. Seventeen million people had time to watch a road being paved — you have two minutes for something that produces results.

 

3. Stop hitting snooze.

Laura Vanderkam (whose TED talk on free time is worth twelve minutes of procrastination) recommends waking up an hour earlier to start working on a personal goal. It’s extraordinary how sixty minutes a day propels you toward a finish line. This doesn’t mean sleep less, by the way; it means trading in some of that 10pm television bingeing.

 

4. Make a one-item plan.

If you’re already an early riser but you find yourself just sipping coffee and flitting aimlessly through headlines, try Video Blocks founder Joel Holland’s advice: Every night before bed, jot down the most important thing you want to do the next day. Then, when you awake, you’ll know where to start. Before working on anything else, devote a set time to that one important task.

 

5. Impose your own deadlines.

Admittedly, the last-minute approach often works. Sure, you run out of time to proofread the project or shave your legs — but you meet your deadlines, you get to your events on time. But some of your grandest personal aspirations might have no external force issuing a due date. For procrastinators, this could mean never taking some of life’s most important first steps! So, seize control. Make a plan for achieving those personal goals that is specific and achievable and, of course, includes deadlines.

Then, hide your phone and take your first step.

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