How to Stop Procrastinating

And Get Shit Done

By Jessica Araus

Photo by Emily Sea on Unsplash

One of the worst feelings in life is knowing you have to do something, but still not doing it. How can we start working on our goals and start seeing results when we are feeling stuck? There is not an exact formula to overcoming procrastination, but I would love to share with you what has helped me increase my productivity level.

1.Be aware of it. Whether it’s your finances, health, home, or career, start noticing the areas of your life that need to be taken care of. Don’t judge, blame, or criticize yourself. Identify where you have been procrastinating the most and tackle that area first.

2. Go do. I know this is the one you don’t want to hear because watching your favorite TV series is more entertaining than getting your ass off the couch. Nevertheless, success isn’t going to knock on your door and say: “Hey, here’s 5000 dollars because you have been so good at watching Breaking Bad”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. You have to discipline yourself to split your time in a productive way. Ask this question when you start your day, preferably write it down: What 3 tasks, if performed, will make me feel accomplished at the end of the day? Perhaps working out for thirty minutes, working on your academic paper or cleaning your house. Let me quote Eric Thomas here, one of my favorite motivational speakers:

“When you are great, you attract great! When you are average, you attract average.”

I love this quote because it reminds me that hard work will pay off. For example, if I work out five to six times a week instead of two, I will get greater results. If I study for four hours a day, instead of thirty minutes, I will reach my goal sooner.

3. Put that shit on airplane mode. Yes, I am talking about your mobile phone. We live in a world ruled by our smartphones. We forget to live in the present moment because we are too busy checking WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. A task that could be done in 20 minutes ends up taking forever if you are constantly checking your social media feeds. I am not against social media, in fact, I love the way it helps us connect and reach millions of people. However, when it comes to getting shit done, you have to FOCUS and avoid any kind of distraction.

What I find really useful is to set my mobile to airplane mode or do not disturb so no one can interrupt me when I am working. Of course, if you are expecting an important call, keeping your mobile off is not a good idea. Try to do this whenever you need to focus on something, and you will be amazed by the productivity levels you can reach.

4. Less Talking, More DOING. Are you one of those people who are always talking about their projects but never creating results? The time you are using to tell people I want to do “x” thing, you could have used to clean your house, write content, go to the gym, or work on your business. I do not normally talk about my projects unless I am talking with my collaborators. I am so busy creating that I don’t have time to talk with people about it. Let results talk for themselves!

5. Surround yourself with result makers. Spend time with people who get it. People who want to be better at what they do or people who are already where you want to be. Collaborative work is the best thing you can do to enhance your business, career, or any other aspect of your life. If you want to start your own business or improve the one you already have, ask people who are experts in that field. Getting people involved who have the same level of passion in your vision as you, brings better results.

This applies to other areas as well. If you want to get fit, get an accountability buddy. A few years ago, when I started my fitness journey, I completed a round of  Insanity with two other friends. I lost around 10 kilos (22 pounds) in two months. Every day we would meet at 7:00 pm and work out in the living room no matter what. Even if it was raining, if we had a breakup, if we had exams, or if we were just plain tired. There were no excuses, just the three of us wanting to get fit. If you cannot find a work out buddy, ask your partner, boyfriend, or husband to work out with you, it will put a spark in the relationship while keeping you both happy and in shape.

6. Write your to-do list before going to bed. Start your day with a plan. Don’t start your day doing whatever comes to your mind first. Checking your email first thing in the morning is a waste of time if you don’t have a clear idea of what your priorities are. Start the morning with the most important task on your list and execute it. I am all for a productive morning, but I also like having productive evenings. What will determine the productivity of my day is the first 90 minutes of my day.

7. Find your everyday motivation. Motivation is a sneaky bastard. It shows up when it wants to, and it abandons us when we really need it. Motivation won’t always be there 24/7. That is why you have to find or create your own. For me, watching an inspirational YouTube video before starting my day does it. It sets my mind for success and positivity. My favorite videos to watch in the morning are by Ralph Smart He has such a good vibe in each of his videos and it always lifts me up. Without his inspiration, my mornings would not be as meaningful as they are. Find your muse or guru, just be careful not to binge watch on YouTube videos. Take it one video at a time!

8. Read More. You can add to your expertise and skills just by making use of your library more often. If you want to be better at math, read about math, if you want to be better at business, read about business. Reading will expand your knowledge and give you a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment. When I don’t read, I have the feeling I am not learning anything new, and growth cannot happen. I split my reading time into three categories: Educational (I read language books for one hour in the afternoons), spiritual (I like reading the bible with my partner after dinner for ten minutes), and entertainment (before going to bed, I read my favorite novel for twenty or thirty minutes).

It is less probable for you to think you are procrastinating after having read a good book for one hour than having watched a reality show. You can learn something in both cases, but reading gives us a better feeling of achievement.

9. Give your body the right fuel. What we eat affects our energy levels. The less processed food we eat, the more energy we’ll have to get things done. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet you follow, eating whole foods such as fruit and vegetables works wonders! If you buy something canned or in a carton, read your labels. Watch out for high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, and other sneaky and harmful ingredients. Sugar is disguised in names we cannot even pronounce. The fewer ingredients the better. Get your pantry full of healthy snacks such as nuts, strawberries, blueberries, and coconut flakes, so when you are working and need a break, you always have healthy food handy.

Cleaning up our diet plays a huge part in the way we feel. If you feel energized, healthy, and fit, you will feel confident enough to conquer the world and get things done. If you eat crap, you will feel like crap and you’ll only want to crawl on the couch. Go clean the junk food out of your pantry and fill it with awesome food because you deserve to feel awesome.

10. Exercise. If you can find 20 minutes to check Facebook, you can make time to do ten burpees, ten sit-ups, and ten squats. I don’t buy into the “I don’t have time” excuse. If you don’t have time to take care of your health, there’s something seriously wrong! Get into the habit of moving and exercising. If you want to start with something challenging but doable, this workout routine will get you coming for more every day. It is only 25 minutes a day!

11. Sleep well. Do I even have to mention it? Get plenty of sleep, so that you have the energy to get everything done! 7 to 8 hours are recommended.

Final Thoughts

Most people won’t take action because they feel “they are not good enough” at something. They won’t start a new workout program, they won’t look for a better job, they won’t learn a new language, and they won’t clean their house. Most people won’t be willing to do it, but I believe you are the kind of people who want to do it. I believe you are hard-working, smart and creative. I believe you can do it because I can do it, and I am not more special than you are. I have different sources of income, and I do whatever it takes to see my bank account numbers increase. I also get exhausted after a long working day, and you know what? I still get my workout done. I also feel down sometimes, but I pick up myself and say to myself ‘let’s do this’. I also have fears, but I still show up. I have failed exams and retaken them. I’ve quit projects and started again. I am always doing stuff, and that is what keeps me alive. So dear reader, I encourage you to use the tips I am giving you here. Don’t let procrastination make you abandon your dreams. Decide the what, and the how will follow.

4 Replies to “How to Stop Procrastinating

  1. This is a really good article. It is always nice to see articles on how to improve ones outlook in life. We need more of this and less s**t online

  2. These are great suggestions. I agree that if I have a “good eating day” and find time to exercise, I tend to be more productive. Now, if I can just learn to put that shit on airplane mode…. haha

  3. Great Post!!! I saw the title and just had to read it since I am having a particularly unmotivated day! I love your advice about airplane mode =) Seriously, I will be on my phone and all of a sudden 10 minutes has gone by and I forgot what I was even doing! Thanks for the tips and your straightforward advice!

Leave a Reply