8 Ways to Stop Procrastinating Today

4 min read
Evidence based
Dainius Jakucionis, MD
By Dainius Jakucionis, MD Updated on 2024 Jan 22

How do you stop doing something that, by its very nature, is prohibiting you from stopping doing things? 

Welcome to Procrastination 101 – today, we’ll figure this tricky situation out.

Understanding Procrastination 

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when trying to achieve your goals is, well, you. In pursuit of success, the hardest thing to do is get out of your own way. 

How does this manifest itself? Yep, you got it, procrastination.

More often than not, you don’t put things off because of laziness or disinterest – the urge to avoid the task ahead of you can stem from anxiety or a fear of failure. 

We’re all pretty familiar with the phenomenon that is procrastination. 

When we procrastinate, we throw away our free time and ignore essential tasks until it’s too late – then we panic because it is too late and wish we had started earlier.

Chronic procrastination is a cycle; if it isn’t nipped in the bud quickly, it can spiral into years of wasted time.

It’s a bad habit that consumes us and prevents us from achieving more significant results in life.

But don’t worry, there’s a way out. Here are our top 8 ways to stop procrastinating today. 

1 – Stop Looking for Perfection

Whatever you do will not be perfect – extracting every ounce every time is impossible. Tweaking and changing your project or task endlessly isn’t going to make you happier with the result. If anything, the constant focus on the tiny details will make you feel less happy. Instead, complete your tasks to the best of your ability – that’s more than enough!

2 – Create a Playlist

Sometimes music can heal the soul. 

Throw on a playlist you like – it can help beat procrastination. Creating a playlist that helps you with your flow can be really important.

3 – Switch Gears

If you’re just sitting staring into a monitor with a blank page – stop what you’re doing, and move on to something else. It could be a menial, easy task, but do something to keep you occupied.  

By turning your attention to something else, you start to break the cycle of distraction and procrastination.

4 – Give Yourself a Break

Everything from your mood to your overall productivity will greatly suffer if you’re constantly working. So, block out time to take breaks from your busy schedule. If you’re exhausted, you won’t be able to focus properly anyway!

5 – Use a Buddy

If you already know you’re a procrastinator – there’s no reason for you to go through it alone. Talk things through with a friend or co-worker. Schedule semi-regular check-ins throughout the day or week – talking out your goals and hold-ups will make them easier to approach and less daunting.  

If you know you have to share progress with someone, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate on getting it done.

6 – Make Plans

It’s easy to procrastinate and let time slip away if you don’t track your progress. A good way to do this is by using a to-do list. Write out what you want to accomplish, and work backward from it.

To get your ideal end result, make a realistic plan for what you want to do today, tomorrow, this week, and this month. You’ll begin to look forward to ticking things off of the list.

7 – Utilize Short Time Blocks

Instead of allocating an hour or two to complete a task, break it up into smaller pieces. 

What can you get done in 15 or 20 minutes? Set a timer and check your progress at each of those short intervals. You might be surprised just how much you can accomplish when the task doesn’t feel so large and overwhelming.  

8 – Be Kind to Yourself

Procrastination is a problem, but it is beatable. No matter how deeply it’s affecting your life right now, there is a way to get past it. Things won’t change overnight, but they will change.

Moving Forward

I want to introduce you to the idea behind Sensa – CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

The basis of CBT is the idea that our thoughts are the cause of our feelings, and CBT looks into ways we can change this.

This is just one of many models that have been found to help manage stressors, and it highlights the ways our thoughts impact our emotions, behavior, and physical sensations. 

All these can be triggered by a stressful situation; our thoughts influence our feelings about that situation, affecting our physical sensations and behaviors. These then continue to interact in a cycle that can be difficult to break.

Repetitive thoughts then form habits, which become almost unconscious to us. When these thinking habits are negative, they are referred to as “cognitive distortions.” These unhelpful thinking habits then affect our emotions and are likely to lead to distressing ones.

Using Sensa for just 15–20 minutes per day can reduce your procrastination symptoms by over 50% in the first 4 weeks alone – so go ahead and take the quiz below to see what kind of plan you need to finally beat this!

Dainius Jakucionis, MD

Dainius is a renowned psychotherapist, holding a Master’s Degree in Medicine and additional training in Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy.