As the old adage goes, “tomorrow never comes,” so put away the excuses and stops procrastinating now!

Procrastination is a nasty little habit which generally gets worse over time.

It usually starts off by avoiding certain mundane tasks and responsibilities that need to be done and quickly snowballs into a nasty lingering habit.

If you have been thinking about how to stop procrastinating then you have already acknowledged the fact that you have a problem and it is time that you did something about it!

Here are a few ideas to increase your productivity and minimize the waste of life that is procrastination.

1. Think positive!

Acknowledge your tasks and responsibilities and realise that you can complete them, no matter how challenging and daunting they may appear.

Always tell yourself that you can do it. The key here is that you actually want to stop procrastinating and that you must now take the necessary action to do so.

2. Make sure you have the tools to do the job!

In order to complete any task you need the necessary tools or skills to carry it out.

Therefore it is important that you are equipped both physically and mentally.

If you don’t have the skills or tools to carry out the task, find someone who can help – or even outsource the task to someone else.

3. Plan ahead!

Break larger tasks down into its component parts.  Instead of just setting yourself the task of writing an eBook on baking bread, for example, break the larger task down into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks.

For example:

i) Market Research

ii) Define the books structure

iii) Finding a photographer or good camera

iv) Writing the preface

v) Planning each recipe and photo

And so on!

4. Budget your time accordingly.

Some tasks may take a few minutes to complete whilst others may take months. It is important to identify how much time each task will take and budget accordingly.

Setting realistic time budgets for each task will help you hit your target and allow you to plan your day, week or month accordingly.

Budgeting time also allows you to set yourself reasonable deadlines – if a task is going to take 30 hours to finish, then it’s not going to be deliverable tomorrow!

5. Give yourself a deadline!

If my whiteboard is full of tasks, I get nowhere fast.

But if I set deadlines for each task then I’m much more likely to achieve my goals in a timely fashion.

This works especially well when working for other people – I’m simply terrible at delivering my own goals on time but I hate to let anyone else down.

6. Make your goals (and their deadlines) public!

It’s much easier to sell yourself an excuse as to why you didn’t achieve your goals than it is to sell the same excuse to someone else.

Whether you simply tell a family member or friend about your goals or whether you make them public by posting them on Facebook; making a commitment to someone other than yourself will help you to nail that deadline. 

7. Prioritize your tasks

When you’ve made your list of tasks, the easiest thing to do is to tackle the simple tasks first.

It’s human nature to get the simple or quick jobs out of the way first – if only to reduce the number of jobs and make your list look smaller.

But this is obviously not the most productive way to work, because when you’ve completed the easy jobs the temptation to procrastinate will be stronger than ever as a reward for all your hard work!

If a 10-minute task will generate hundreds of dollars a month then that task should be afforded a high priority, however if a task is going to take a week to complete but is only going to bring in a few measly pennies, then you need to ask yourself if it is really worth it.

Figure out which jobs are most important or are likely to bring in more income and work towards these tasks first – it may not be easy, but it’ll improve your productivity.

8. Just do it!

There comes a time when the planning is done and the actual work can no longer be avoided. It’s time to just get on and do it!

It is helpful to understand that procrastination is a habit, similar to smoking, so give yourself time to overcome it.

Reward yourself for meeting deadlines, where time allows, and figure out how to improve your planning when things don’t go according to plan.