Procrastination is tricky and everyone struggles with it. I’m a remote worker so the dangers of procrastination are everywhere. According to this post by the Association for Psychological Science, up to 20% of people might be chronic procrastinators. That’s scary so what can we do about it?

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Here are a few tips and tricks to fight the urge to procrastinate:

1. Frustrate Your Procrastination with Learned Behavior

According to researchers in post mentioned above, developing a strong understanding of the damage caused by procrastination as a learned behavior can actually frustrate you to the point of simply avoiding future procrastinating.

procrastination loop

“If you’re focused just on trying to get yourself to feel good now, there’s a lot you can miss out on in terms of learning how to correct behavior and avoiding similar problems in the future” according to Fuschia Sirois of Bishop’s University. Learning to see procrastination as something that will negatively affect your life can teach you to simply avoid it.

2. Don’t Overestimate Your Ability

In determining a deadline, it’s easy to shoot for the moon. According to this fantastic thread on Quora, Nikant Vohra gives the advice, “A lot of us overestimate our own abilities of completing a piece of work on time. Not only this, we overestimate that how motivated we will be in the future to complete the work at hand.” It’s certainly true. Overestimating your abilities can be a great thing but will naturally force you to stick to your goals, no matter how lofty, which can create a ton of pressure and a sense of “analysis paralysis”. Just set reasonable goals and avoid this unnecessary pressure.


My Actual Blog Writing Workflow

According to this piece on Forbes, it’s important to break up your larger goals into more attainable goals. A good example of this in myself is writing a blog post. I start by breaking up my research into deliverables, then the outline, then the first draft and so-on. If I were to just create a goal of writing an entire post, my nerves would get the best of me. Breaking it up allows me to concentrate on the small things with the big picture in mind.

3. Gamify Your Life

The Next Web has written a really good scientific based post on the mechanics of procrastination. According to that article, creating small rewards throughout your day when goals are met is another great way of creating powerful learned behavior.

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Photo Courtesy of Philip Bump

According to the post, “It seems that we need to train our brains to see task completion as a dopamine-producing experience rather than a norepinephrine-producing experience. This is where the idea of rewarding people for doing good rather than punishing people for doing bad stems from.”

Small rewards are a great way to not only enjoy your work a little more, but to learn a powerful antidote in the combat of habitual procrastination.

Conclusion

Procrastination is a nasty thing we all deal with. Taking not only steps to cure it, but prevent it are necessary. We’ve covered a few in this post, but spending some time researching ways that might fit your personality is time well spent.

Let us know if you have any other ideas on preventing and stopping procrastination in it’s tracks. We’d love to read them in the comments!

Read more: 7 Myths About Procrastination