Avoiding Procrastination - Easy and Effective Methods

Alyssa Atkinson

Helpful tips to become your best self.

Animal deep in thought.Juan Rumimpunu/Unsplash

Everyone becomes unmotivated at some point throughout their month, week, or even day. Maybe you begin to resent waking up at 5 AM for your morning workout, struggle to get started on your daily workload, or simply find yourself uninspired with your current project.

Regardless of which area of your life you are currently unmotivated in, procrastination is probably at the root of your issues.

I’ve been there many times, especially with running. I grew up in Ohio, which meant that the winter months were brutally cold. When I was in college, I trained year round, regardless of the weather. There were days when I struggled to head out the door for an eight mile run on a 15 degree day.

Fortunately, I developed a number of strategies which helped me avoid hours of procrastination in running, school, and even the office. They can translate to all areas of your life, including health, fitness, and work.

The following are three ways I stopped procrastinating and became a much more productive version of myself.

I started giving myself an out.

What I mean by this statement is that I first convince myself to get started on a task for just a few minutes. If after a few minutes of struggling through the task, I still feel the urge to procrastinate, I can simply stop working on the job.

For example, if I have a five mile run scheduled on a day that I just don’t feel like getting out the door, I will tell myself to run two miles and see how I feel. If my body doesn’t want to go any longer, I’ll give myself the out of stopping and walking back if I really want to.

Usually, getting started with a task is the hardest part. I almost always find my groove, complete my run, and enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing the task. I follow a similar approach with my work. Once I get started, I usually find that I actually enjoy working through the job at hand.

The Takeaway: Convincing yourself to start is often the hardest part. Tell yourself to just work on a task for 10 minutes and re-evaluate from there. I think you will find that this mental trick does wonders in helping you avoid procrastination.

I adopted this technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is something I have been using since college to manage my time, keep my mind fresh, and stay as productive and efficient as possible.

It is essentially a time blocking method that forces you to work in 25–30 minute chunks with 5 minute breaks in between each work period.

While it might not be for everyone, I find it highly effective. I use it whenever I have longer projects that I’m working on so that I don’t end up burn out or stuck on a problem for too long.

Plus, a lot of my procrastination stems from feeling overwhelmed by a task, and breaking it up into smaller tasks/chunks of time always makes it feel a lot more manageable.

The Takeaway: Find a time management strategy that helps you stay efficient and productive. Don’t be afraid to take breaks when necessary to recharge your mind.

I shifted my mindset like this.

Years ago, I shifted my mindset in a way that gave me a much more positive outlook on each task that I was presented with. This helped me avoid procrastination altogether.

For example, instead of checking the weather in the morning, seeing that it was 15 degrees out, and procrastinating my run for hours to avoid the cold, I made myself appreciate the fact that my body was healthy and able to run.

I gave myself the option to either run outside or get on the treadmill, and this forced me to stop making excuses and just complete my workout.

Nine times out of ten, I would dress warm, brave the cold, and find a nice rhythm within a couple of miles. When I finished my workout, I always felt incredible, and I had the whole day ahead of me to do my school work. This method of completing difficult tasks early on in the day is often referred to as "eating the frog".

Now, when I have the urge to procrastinate my early morning workout, I remind myself how productive I will be with my workday, and how nice it will be to have the evening to relax. This usually helps me get out the door for my morning jog, which ultimately helps me stay on track with my health and fitness goals.

The Takeaway: Adopt a positive mindset to keep yourself from procrastinating your workload, exercising, or any other task you need to complete daily.

Procrastination has very little to do with the task at hand and a lot to do with your mindset surrounding the task. Change your approach, atmosphere, and attitude towards it, and you just might find that you feel no urge to procrastinate. Doing so will help you enjoy the task at hand and become a more productive version of yourself.

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Ohio U XC/Track alum. I love to run. I blog about food, health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Personal Blog - nomeatfastfeet.com | Electrical and Computer Engineering Grad.

Raleigh, NC

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